Kitty Genovese; a recollection. A formerly invisible killer emerges from the shadows in an obituary from the NY Times. It all comes back.

war-years-768x576.jpgkitty1-768x742.jpgMy block, July, 1940-1954. At almost the very same moment of her murder, I was at Naval Air Station Miramar, in the process of ending my active duty in the USN. The story was a jolt in an era, way before 24/7 news existed. But Austin Street in Kew Gardens had been my block. Our apartment was perhaps 500 yards, probably less, from the first point of attack. I thought about it off and on for many years. In 2011, when I published my faux graphic memoir, AxeMan Who Will be 70 in the Year 2010, Kitty became a corner of a spread in the 64 page book. But I never knew a thing about her murderer until this week.

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As reported in a NY Times obituary on April 4, Winston Moseley was a serial killer/rapist who died in prison at the age of 81 near Buffalo. The Times said he “seemed soft spoken, intelligent with no criminal record… a father of two who owned his home in South Ozone Park, Queens.” He had escaped, repeated many more crimes. There are many more gory details in the pieces published in the last couple days. Does it complete this exploration of my personal history? Not exactly. With our criminal justice system under severe scrutiny; when we are shown Germany’s ‘humane’ system, on 60 Minutes last Sunday, where someone like Moseley might spend his life in a simulated comfortable environment with a key to his own door, the quest continues. There are no simple solutions, though those running for the presidency might offer their own versions of it.