Victim’s escape

The trial in the 19-hour captivity, torture, repeated rape, and disfigurement of a 23-year-old Columbia University graduate journalism student in April 2007 (discussed earlier at VFR here) continued yesterday, with the victim completing her testimony which had started on Friday and telling about the torture itself, as well as about an aspect of the story that was not reported last week. Before the alleged assailant, Robert Williams, left the victim’s apartment, he tied her by computer cables to a futon frame and set a fire underneath it. As he walked out he threw a blanket over her head and she blacked out. When she regained consciousness she smelled smoke and realized there was a fire underneath her. Her body horribly battered by what he had already done to her, she was now facing slow death by burning. In her testimony, as recounted by Laura Italiano in the New York Post, the victim tells the amazing story of how she escaped.

While some of the precise details of the escape are less than crystal clear, Italiano’s article is infinitely better than the one in the New York Daily News, by Barbara Ross and Corky Siemaszko, which doesn’t even mention the fire and the victim’s escape. Neither paper provides anything remotely approaching an overall narrative of the crime. The same is true of the article in the New York Times by John Eligon, which consists of a bunch of fragmented details, fails to provide any coherent sequence of events, radically downplays the tortures, emphasizes small talk between the victim and the assailant (the title of the article is “Victim Testifies About Small Talk With Rapist and How She Escaped”), thus making the crime seem almost like a cozy sexual get-together, and devotes all of two sentences to the victim’s miraculous escape from the certain death to which Williams had consigned her.

Journalism in this country is three quarters dead. Reporters are either stupidly uninterested in the facts of a story, like the Daily News reporters, or else, like Eligon of the evil New York Times, they have a leftist agenda to downplay and relativize non-liberal realities, such as a black man’s 19-hour sexual abuse and torture of a white woman.

On another point, the crime did not take place on Morningside Heights, as I said last week, but Hamilton Heights, which is farther uptown.

- end of initial entry -

Jamie Bedeau writes:

I went to the trial of Robert Williams Monday morning, spurred by your initial post on the trial. I was stunned by the horrific details of the crime and felt compelled to see the victim. Also, I’m a law student here in the city and thought it would be useful to get an up close look at a criminal trial.

I agree with your analysis of the articles written about that day’s testimony. The New York Times article was awful. It did the victim of Williams’ savagery no justice. Sitting there, listening to her testify, I was so angry and disgusted with that animal Williams that I entertained fantasies of beating him to death. I cannot remember the last time I’ve felt so angry. Midway through her testimony I got even angrier thinking about how unjust it is that we are unable to execute criminals as depraved as this man. Of course, some of my anger stems from Williams’ race. Like him, I am black. I felt a great shame sitting in that courtroom.

After we broke for lunch, I reflected on how odd the judge’s demeanor was throughout the proceedings. She seemed to be rather cheerful and in good spirits. At one point during the victim’s testimony, the judge smiled and asked her to speak up. This while the victim was describing one of the many acts of rape that Williams had perpetrated on her. I’d like to think that her cheerfulness inures her from the sick things she must have to see and hear on a daily basis. It did seem rather inappropriate though.

LA writes:

I’ve only printed part of the e-mail from Jamie Bedeau (which is a pen name). The second half contains effusive praise for VFR. I had doubts that he was genuine, and even thought he might be David Mills, the Undercover Black Man, pulling an elaborate hoax. I questioned Jamie Bedeau on this, and he has given me bona fides of his identity.

Karl D. writes:

This is truly a heinous case and this “man” should be put down with all due expedience. While I do not wish to further victimize the victim I can’t help but wonder about something. While I have no idea of the victim’s back-round or political beliefs I think it would be a safe bet to assume she is a liberal, Columbia journalism being what it is. After this horrifying experience I would wonder whether or not her beliefs will change. Things like this can either smash to pieces one’s rose colored view of race or suck them further down into the pit of denial.

LA replies:

It seems that with the ever advancing liberal progress of society and the greater and greater hold that liberalism has on people’s minds, cruder and cruder experiences are needed to “awaken” liberals from liberalism, so that the definition of a conservative changes from “a liberal who has been mugged by reality,” to “a liberal who has been abducted, raped, sodomized, terrorized, tortured, scalded, disfigured, poisoned, and shackled to a chair and left to burn to death by reality.”

That’s not just a grotesque joke. Haven’t I been saying for years that liberalism is now so much imbued into the very being of modern people, that only terrible and sustained suffering, brought on by liberalism, can make them give up their liberalism?

Steven Warshawsky writes:

One question that I would be interested in learning the answer to: Has the number and brutality of these kinds of sex torture/murder crimes increased since the 1970s, when Hollywood began inundating us with movies based on these scenarios? Most so-called “horror” movies these days are variations on this theme. Most “crime dramas” likewise center around these kinds of crimes. These movies illustrate in ever-more gruesome and voyeuristic detail how to go about humiliating, maiming, sodomizing, and killing innocent victims, usually in the most nihilistic, cold-blooded manner imaginable. I cannot believe that these movies have no impact on viewers, especially those who already are predisposed to violence.

LA replies:

In addition to Mr. W.’s question, I have a different question about more “garden variety” murders. There are an enormous number of murders today in which people kill their spouses for the lightest of causes. For example, a woman wants to divorce, but instead of divorcing, she murders her husband (or gets her boyfriend to murder him) in order to get his life insurance. If you watch “Snapped” on the Oxygen channel, you will see an endless parade of murder cases in which ordinary, successful, attractive, middle class, well-to-do people carry out remorseless murders of perfectly innocent people out of pure selfishness and convenience. “Snapped” doesn’t tell us if such depraved crimes by otherwise normal people have greatly increased in recent decades. But it doesn’t seem to me that they were common in the past.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 10, 2008 09:19 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):