Posts Tagged ‘ Unabomber ’

The National Museum of Crime and Punishment

(Courtesy National Museum of Crime and Punishment) – An exhibit board explains the history of the Unabomber.

 By Jessica Goldstein
The newest exhibit at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment focuses on the Unabomber, whose explosives kept the United States on edge for almost two decades. It’s no surprise that the gallery is captivating; we’re a nation fascinated by, well, crime and punishment. Kids play cops and robbers in the back yard while teenagers quote “The Godfather” and their parents turn to HBO, enthralled by “The Sopranos.” “Law and Order”is on TV so often it’s a surprise there’s ever any other show on the air. Violence terrifies and murder repulses, yet those are the stories we watch, rapt, as they unfold on the news one gruesome detail at a time. The NMCP provides an array of artifacts, information and interactive exhibits to satisfy an insatiable desire to know more about crimes, those who commit them and those who work to solve them. Allow two to three hours to explore the five galleries: “A Notorious History of American Crime,” “Punishment: The Consequence of Crime,” “Crime Fighting,” “Crime Scene Investigation” and “ ‘America’s Most Wanted’ Studio.”Required reading: Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, was responsible for 16 attacks, three deaths and 23 injuries in 17 years. In early 1995, The Washington Post and the New York Times received a 67-page manifesto from the Unabomber promising to stop the bombings if the essay was published. After consulting with the FBI, the papers split the cost of publication, and the manifesto ran in The Post on Sept. 19, 1995. In February of the next year, the FBI got a tip from David Kaczynski, who recognized his brother’s voice and philosophy in the writing.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: Bonnie and Clyde’s car — the one in which they were killed after running from the law for years — is on display, along with background information about two of America’s most famous criminals. The car is riddled with bullet holes from the attack that took the lovers down. Clyde died instantly, but Bonnie wasn’t as lucky; the shooters heard a “long, horrified scream” emanating from the car as they continued to fire.No, not that Cullen: In a room devoted to serial killers, visitors can learn about some of the most horrific murderers ever to strike in the United States. Charles Cullen, the former nurse who became the most prolific serial killer in history, was arrested in 2003. He showed signs of instability in early childhood, attempting suicide at 9 by drinking chemicals from a chemistry set in what was to be the first of 20 tries .Hurrah, hurrah, Pennsylvania: The word “penitentiary” comes from the Pennsylvania Quakers, who held the conviction that salvation could be achieved through penitence and self-reflection. In 1790, the Walnut Street Prison opened in Philadelphia; it was the first U.S. penitentiary and a pioneer in prison reform. Eastern State Penitentiary, now perhaps most famous as the site of one of the best Halloween haunted houses on the East Coast, opened in 1829 and used the “Pennsylvania system” of solitary confinement as a form of rehabilitation, designed to make prisoners feel remorse.Take a bite out of crime: McGruff, the trench-coat-wearing canine who has been baring his teeth at criminal activity since 1980, is all over the museum. Kids can keep an eye out for his questions posted throughout the exhibits about things like safety, taking candy from strangers and cyberbullying. Every now and then, McGruff himself hangs out in front of the museum. Look for him to be greeting visitors, posing for pictures and probably sweating his poor puppy face off.Target practice: An interactive exhibit allows you to sit in the driver’s seat, surrounded by screens for total immersion, as you act the part of a police officer chasing down a runaway suspect. Test your shooting skills with the firearms training system used by FBI agents. The video simulation is footage of a real house (with real people, in case you are squeamish about violence) as you pretend to conduct a raid.

CSI: Washington: The museum knows what you’re thinking about fighting crime: “Yeah, but is it like ‘CSI’?” In an effort to address the common inquiry head-on, the museum offers its most popular exhibit, “The CSI Experience.” You begin as the unsuspecting witness to suspicious behavior, then travel to the crime scene, collect evidence and head to the crime lab. On weekends, the museum runs CSI-themed workshops. Led by forensic scientists, the hands-on activities cover evidence collection, DNA, body decomposition and basic forensics.

Removing the evidence: Visit the Cop Shop to pick up a body-outline towel, a crime scene “do not cross” scarf that resembles yellow tape, and plenty of other crime-fighting and CSI-themed wares.

National Museum of Crime and Punishment

575 Seventh St. NW. 202-393-1099. . Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.- 7 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. Adults online $18.95, gate $21.95; seniors, U.S. military and U.S. law enforcement online $15.95, gate $16.95; children ages 5-11 $14.95; children younger than 5, free.

From Here

I would actually like to go. I think it could be interesting. A little morbid but interesting.

It would not just be for the serial killers, but to get a peek into not only criminal minds but into the investigative minds.

I’d love to go on the weekend, to take the C.S.I. workshop, though I am sure it is more ‘fun’ than true investigation. Maybe not though, maybe they are reacting to the whole “True Crime TV” issue (the general public / juries wanting & expecting  the Smoking Gun moment that is so common on TV) and showing the public the truth. I hope so.

Serial Killer Memorabilia For Sale

On Thursday, the U.S. Marshals Service announced that it was auctioning 60 lots of possessions seized from Ted Kaczynski’s Montana cabin after his 1996 arrest, including the original handwritten and typewritten versions of his infamous “Unabom Manifesto,” his typewriters, shoes, diaries and thousands of books. The proceeds from the sale, which runs from May 18 to June 2, will go to four of his victims and their families. Last year they were awarded $15 million in compensation, a ruling Kaczynski, whose 20-year terror spree killed three people and injured and maimed 23 others, bitterly tried to block on the grounds that it violated his First Amendment rights.

John Wayne Gacy, the man who raped, tortured and killed 33 young men on a horrifying six-year spree, has no similar word of protest about his possessions; he was executed in 1994. And if your shopping taste runs less to dirty shoes and sunglasses and more to scary clowns, a Las Vegas gallery is exhibiting and selling off his works in an exhibition called ” Multiples: The Artwork of John Wayne Gacy.” Gacy, who famously developed a painting hobby while on death row, cranked out dozens of canvases in his last years, from disturbing skulls to portraits of Elvis and Charles Manson to greeting card-ready flowers and birds.

Starting this month and running through September, the Arts Factory is offering his works for between $2,000 and $12,000 apiece, promising that proceeds from the exhibit, “according to the wishes of the executor of Gacy’s art portfolio,” will go to “the community at large, including the Contemporary Arts Center, 18b Arts District and the National Center for Victims of Crime.” But as CNN reported Friday on the “controversial serial killer’s paintings” (as opposed to, say, those of a beloved serial killer),  the National Center for Victims of Crime wants none of it. The advocacy group sent a cease-and-desist letter to the gallery. But owner Westly Myles told KTNV this week, “I see it as an opportunity to help from something that was bad.”

So which is it? Crude exploitation or making lemonade out of senseless crime? The Gacy exhibition’s press materials ponder, “Can we resist the impulse to attribute these inanimate objects, these oil paintings, to evil? Is the gallery a temple in which only those deemed worthy should be displayed, or is it, rather, a courtroom, a place all artists are equally qualified to be judged?” Hitler was an artist too; it’s just not the first of his job titles that springs to mind when you say his name.

The uneasy part of both auctions is the horrible fascination they evoke. The Unabomber auction’s Flickr set alone is hauntingly sad and strangely artistic — like a grimly beautiful Irving Penn tableau.  And while Gacy’s work would hardly make it to the MoMA on its own merits, with the right representation and if you didn’t know the artist, it could still probably fetch a pretty penny at a downtown gallery.


There is always the question of why someone would want to own anything connected to these monsters. I even wonder why.

I guess for some it is simply a shock value / conversation piece.
To some it could be owing a piece of history, no matter how dark.
Some could raise themselves by looking into a part of the abyss that they know they would never enter.
Then there those that are fascinated by the horror  of the monster on the wall blending the  fantasy into the reality.

Regardless of why someone would want to buy Murderabilia there is a greater question.

I have written about Murderabilia before and I even posted a poll about it but I wonder if where the proceeds of the sale goes makes a difference.  The Marshals are giving all proceeds to the victims and the Gacy art show will go to different charities. Does that make it alright?

In my opinion if the proceeds go to victims or charities then sell what you want. I don’t want it, but if it can help others then so be it.

I also wonder how the U.S. Marshal’s sale affects the laws that U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is trying to pass banning all sales of murderabilia.

Cornyn, R-Austin, is expected to announce today — with Mayor Annise Parker at City Hall — the introduction of federal legislation that would ban online sales of such items by making it illegal for prisoners, or another person on their behalf, to mail items to be sold in interstate commerce. The bill aims to remove the financial incentive for prisoners to sell murderabilia and allows victims to recover damages and legal fees from violators.

Read more

I am against criminals profiting from their crimes at the same time I am not sure where the line should be drawn. There are so many gray areas.

If a serial killer has children can the mother of those children auction things to support the kids?

If a person writes to a prisoner and later wants to sell the letters is that alright? What if while corresponding with the prisoner they sent money? Does that count as the prisoner gaining a profit?
(Side note; how different is this from a reporter or author bringing food, soda or snacks to a prisoner?)

There are many sites where one can buy murderabilia if they so choose. Some of the sellers admit that part of the money goes to the criminal and others say that all the criminal gets is attention and correspondence. Some give to victim’s groups and others do not.

The question is,

When, if ever, is it alright to buy or sale murderabilia?

%d bloggers like this: