Friday Firesmith – Who Loved The Night Stalker?

I recently decided to give Audible another try, and have someone read books to me. The book I chose was “The Nightstalker” by Philip Carlo, written in 1996.

Between June of 1984, and August of 1985, the city of Los Angles was gripped with fear as someone crept into houses in the dead of night, and then raped, robbed, and murdered, in a matter that left some of the victims so badly beaten they were unrecognizable. Fifteen people were killed, one victim had her eyes gouged out after she was murdered, and the killer’s penchant for sodomy, rape, throat slashing, both terrified and enraged the city.

On August 30th 1985, Richard Ramirez, who thought he was protected by Satan, was chased down by a group of everyday citizens, beaten, and held until the police arrived to rescue the man who had caused so much carnage. Convicted on all counts in 1989, Richard Ramirez was sentenced to death, but he died on death row of cancer, in 2013.

One of the odd things that never really got a lot of press, was how many women expressed interest, sexual and romantic, in Ramirez during and after the trial. And if this was not surreal enough, pop star Madonna mentioned Ramirez was “really good looking” when she went to jail to visit Sean Penn, who traded autographs with the killer. In his defense, Penn allegedly wrote that he had always felt a certain pity for people in prison but felt none for The Night Stalker.

In 1996, Ramirez married while in prison, to one of his first groupies. The detectives in the case who wanted to know more about what Ramirez had done, never talked him into confessing to crimes they hadn’t charged him with, but he did share photos of his groupies with them. He handed over a manila envelope stuffed with nude Polaroids to stunned detectives and told them he was running out of room in his cell.

Literally, hundreds of women, from all walks of life, of all ages, and all nationalities, threw themselves at the man who had committed some of the most heinous crimes known in America, and that’s saying a lot right there.

You know what? I haven’t got a clue on this one. I cannot explain to you why women would do this. I have no idea why there would be an attraction for someone who had raped elderly women, beat them to death, and tortured one with a live electrical cord. I thought Susan Atkins was superficially pretty, but had they given me the opportunity to either go on a date with her or put two slugs in her head at close range, I would be eating alone.

I really can not explain this to you. I’m at total loss here. Usually, even if it’s Rabbit Hole material, I can connect a few dots, but not this time. There is something very wrong with a society where that many women were not standing outside the courthouse, chanting for his execution, rather than sending him nudes.
Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

22 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Who Loved The Night Stalker?”

  1. haven’t listened to that one: I do have audibles playing ‘something’ whenever I am driving or on walks.

    A lot of what I have are courses from “Great Courses”

    I am currently listening to “Medical Myths, Lies and Half-Truths”;

    over the past ~6 months I’ve listened to

    Richard Bell’s “America’s Long Struggle against Slavery”;
    “Great authors of Western Literary Tradition”;
    Ryan Hamilton’s “How you Decide” which examines the science behind how humans make decisions
    “Neptune’s Inferno” (about the naval battles around Guadalcanal);
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “My Own Words”;
    both of the Obama bios (“A Promised Land” and “Becoming”).

    Basically I use audibles to try to fill otherwise idle time learning something new during times when it’s really challenging to read.

      • it was a very interesting book; it was focused entirely on the naval battles and barely mentioned the land engagements taking place around the same time (there were also quite a few of those) the Japanese Navy was dropping off large numbers of troops on the north end of the island at night who would then work their way down to try to disrupt operations at the airfield and they only barely make any mention of that or the fierce fighting in the hills southeast of the airfield.

        The bulk of the books contents are about events between August and November of 1942;

  2. Never saw the show as I avoid crime/cop/courtroom drama shows, there’s enough of that on the news. Sometimes I wish the real world was not as nuanced and more clearly defined good guys and bad guys.
    But with bully cops kitted out like storm troopers and killing civilians it’s not that easy anymore.

    So instead of send nudes Or I’ll kill you, it should be send nudes And I’ll kill you, no wonder my collection is so small. Here I thought it was because of my small… well… nevermind.

    I assume you meant Susan Atkins from the Manson tribe.

  3. Women usually think they can fix a man or correct his bad behavior, or that he will love them so much that he would never do that to them. Mistakenly in most cases. They don’t listen to the little voice telling them to run far and fast. That survival instinct telling them to flee. That should be encouraged.

    • Chick, I’ve had female friends who took on some project to repair a guy that needed throwing away. Oddly, they never seem to give up on him no matter how far down he drags her.

  4. I wonder if some like to marry infamous people like the night stalker so they, too, can have some fame. And maybe bragging rights.

  5. Keith, Those dates makes sense as that’s when the Japanese ground forces had their major attacks. After their third and most serious defeat the Japanese withdrew in early 1943. But for months the Japanese owned the waters around that island at night, and the Americans owned it during daylight hours. I do not remember us doing very well against those people at night. They were much better trained for night action than we were.

    • that changed as we learned how to use radar effectively and improve our night time tactics, we basically had to rewrite the tactical manuals for naval warfare entirely; but at the time it was certainly true. the Japanese Navy had a huge head start on nighttime operations.

      • I was surprised to learn Pearl Harbor had working radar that showed the attack planes coming in but nobody believed it because radar was new and kind of magic/fairy tale stuff nobody took seriously.

    • The belief until that time was the Japanese could not see at night and all wore Coke bottle glasses, plus “the Navy could blow them out of the water in a week”. They learned differently that the caricatures of the time were very misleading. The belief of American Exceptionalism has always been strong in this country but to be exceptional needs constant effort not just accepting the way it used to be and the situations don’t change.

  6. When I married my 2nd wife, we spent one night of our honeymoon at her aunts house in east LA, right in the neighborhood where this asshole was captured right in the timeframe he was caught!

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