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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Dennis L. Rader Confesses to BTK Murders

Yesterday Dennis L. Rader confessed to 10 counts of first-degree murder as the Wichita BTK (Bind-Torture-Kill) Serial Killer from January 1974 to January 1991. Details surrounding the case:

• The Wichita Eagle newspaper reported the local view of the confession: The BTK killer confesses -Silent city listens as Rader details murders spurred by sexual fantasies. [Kansas.com, Jun. 28, 2005]

• Court TV video of Rader court appearance: Court TV Audio/Video [courttv.com]

Dennis Rader's testimony [transcript of court appearance, Kansas.com, Jun. 28, 2005]

• CNN transcript of their coverage of Rader's court appearance: BTK Trial aired Jun. 27, 2005 [cnn.com]

•• The Rader house at 6220 N. Independence in Park City, Kansas is now scheduled for auction on July 11, 2005 at 6:30 pm. Auction Listing with pictures [mccurdyauction.com]

related links:
Dennis L. Rader arrested as Wichita BTK Serial Killer [TJN, Feb. 26, 2005]
BTK (Bind, Torture, & Kill) Strangler Info [TJN]

Friday, June 24, 2005

Catastrophe Insurance Losses

Catastrophe insurance losses by cause in the United States from 1984 to 2004:

Total losses $221.3 billion

Tornados................................33.7% - $74.6B
All hurricanes and tropical cyclones....27.1% - $60.0B
Terrorism...............................11.0% - $24.3B
Winter storms...........................10.5% - $23.2B
Earthquakes..............................9.4% - $20.8B
Wind/hail/flood..........................4.0% - $8.9B
Fire.......................................3.0% - $6.6B
Civil disorders..........................0.5% - $1.1B
Water damage.............................0.2% - $0.44B

Adjusted for inflation. Includes all events causing direct insured losses to property of $25 million or more in 2004 dollars. Source Insurance Information Institute.

related links:
HURRICANES AND RELATED DEATHS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1985-2004 [iii.org]

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Perfect Crime location: Yellowstone National Park

A legal loophole may have created a small 50 square mile slice of eastern Idaho which could be the venue for the perfect crime. People could get away with any major crime they commit there because the jury would have to be drawn from a district with no people. Krucoff and the new community crime blog "Blottered" report the details:

The federal district court for the district of Wyoming is defined as including all of Yellowstone National Park including 50 square miles in Idaho. However, the 6th Amendment requires that when a crime is committed, the jury be drawn from the state and district where the crime was committed. So by commiting your crime in the Idaho part of the park, the jury would need to be drawn from Idaho but also the district of Wyoming... population zero.

links:
Want to commit the perfect crime? Go to Yellowstone National Park. [Blottered.com, June 20, 2005]
Loophole may allow US crime spree [BBC, May 9, 2005]

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Kalaripayattu: Ancient Indian Martial Art

Kalaripayattu means martial art training inside a Kalari or arena. The word "Ppayattu" means "practice". These words are in the Malayalam language, spoken mainly in the Indian state of Kerala and are derived from Malayalam's root Tamil. Kalaripayattu is now mostly practiced in Kerala. Kerala is a state in South India, occupying a narrow strip of India's southwestern coast.

Kalari uses a number of unique weapons:

1. Long staff or pirambu or neduvati (means rattan stick)
2. Kurunthadi
3. Knife / dagger
4. Vettukathi ( a form of machete or Kukri)
5. Valum parichayum ( sword and round shield)
6. Churika
7. Chuttuval (flexible sword)
8. Kottukampu or Thavikkana

Links:
Kalaripayattu [wikipedia.org]
kalaripayattu.org
karariworld.com
Kalaripayattu- The Martial Art of Kerala

related:
Other Indian Martial Arts

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Hobo Holiday

Tom Dyson trys to live the hobo lifestyle on a Canadian vacation and gets busted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police:

We'd arrived in Canada earlier that day, Regina's international airport being the port of entry. The pretty immigration officer was immediately suspicious of our story and asked us to wait in the detention area while she attended to the rest of the passengers from our plane.

We told her we were in Canada as tourists and that we planned to rent a car and drive through the Rockies. But Regina is just a dusty series of strip clubs, saloons and casinos on a pancake, and it's still 12 hours from the mountains, so the story didn't wash and she knew it. No matter, we stuck to our guns and after a thorough interrogation and two hours of paperwork, she sent us on our way.

We made our way to the Greyhound station, or as we've been calling it, "the town's armpit," and boarded a bus to the "catch-out point." The catch-out point was a small town on Canadian National's (CN) mainline, 50 miles north of Regina, where the trains stop to change crew. There's no security and no fences, so it's the perfect location to jump the train.

Getting off the bus, we stopped in the gas station for a final meal and to load up with water, and then we sauntered off into the blustery, rainy night, heading towards the tracks...

A train was already there, waiting for us. It looked majestic, the large, double-stacked container boxes silhouetted against the Prairie sky at night. We had to hurry; this train was a hotshot.

There's a safe place for the hobo on nearly every train. On the porch of a grain hopper, inside an open boxcar, or even between the trailer tires of a piggyback (a truck trailer on a flatcar)...these are all quality rides with protection from the elements and plenty of room for stretching out and sleeping. But the fastest ride for a hobo is the container train, or as it's called in the industry, the intermodal train. With their cargoes of expensive consumer merchandise, container trains have priority over all other freight trains, and they don't hang around in the yard for long.

We jumped on the first suitable ride we could find. The best spot is behind the container in the little dugout of leftover space. It's really just a metal box, usually about eight feet wide, four foot long and four foot deep. If it weren't for the inch of water sitting in the bottom, this would have been a perfect ride. We took it anyway.

Not more than five minutes later, with a long blast on the horn, the train pulled out. We curled up and fell asleep hoping the damp sleeping bag would somehow warm us up...It never did.

The next day, we woke up early and set the sleeping bags out to dry in the breeze. The floor was almost dry now and the sun was rising fast. For the first time in 14 hours, we were warm again. Now it was time to relax and enjoy the view.

Disaster struck sometime around midday, as we peered out at the wheat fields. An eastbound train had pulled into a siding to let us pass, and the engineer had climbed down from his locomotive to watch, probably looking for any trouble with the equipment.

We didn't have time to duck and he spotted us. He scowled and immediately reached for his radio. We were busted. An hour later, at a grade crossing, the train stopped and a policeman stuck his head over the wall. "Okay guys, this ride's over. Get your stuff and jump off."

The welcoming committee was there in force. Two Mountie police cars and an SUV for the railroad cop. It wasn't a big deal. We were courteous and cooperative, so after checking for outstanding warrants, they wrote us up a ticket for petty trespassing and drove us to the bus station.

"Your names are in the computer now. If we catch you again on CN property, you'll be going to jail. Have a good day."

Our mission had failed. No mountains, no tunnels, no pine trees...just a bad case of foot rot and a ticket for $278.

We'd come back and try again next week...

KING OF THE ROAD...ALMOST [dailyreckoning.com, June 8, 2005]

related
Stories from "hobo" rail riders about their first trip, their worst trip, and everything in between [northbankfred.com]

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