Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hubbards Woods Elementary, 20 Years Ago Today

I was in Nashville for Kubla-Con (yea, I know), hanging out with the then-unknown artist Alan Clark and the late Jack Hunter Daves (who is forever alive in THE HOLY TERROR as the 1st District Lt. Det. investigating the Painkillings). I was on the phone with my mother, she had this old RCA TV on the kitchen counter on. As we were talking, you could hear this Breaking News!!! voice over much unlike sound effects you might hear today on CNN or FoxNews. You can look Laurie Dann up on Wikipedia, there was a pretty detailed book about her, but what she is known for is shooting an eight year old boy at the Hubbards Woods Elementary School in Winnetka. She had been declared mentally unstable, put poison into packets of cereal to send to parents of kids she had babysat. The entire sequence of events twenty years ago today seem totally random, where she went, why she snapped, why then, why there. She left the school and went to a nearby house, shooting one other person before killing herself. Sadly, these days a person would likely kill dozens before committing suicide.

Cathy Crowell Webb died of cancer today. Back ion the late 70s, she accused Gary Dotson of rape, and he eventually went to prison for, well, too many years. Webb recanted, and this was the first case in the US in which DNA testing factored into the retrial and acquittal. Strange that if Webb hadn't died today, both her and Dotson would be distant memories, even the fact involving the DNA testing would be lost to me. Yet I recall hearing my own beat up television set back on 85th Street as my mother watched in silence, little kids carried out on stretchers in a north suburb of Chicago. Before helicopter cams and all the bullshit sound bites we get shoved at us now. Simply camera vans and reporters attempting to describe in the best way they can what had just occurred at the Hubbard Woods Elementary School.