American Murder: All in the Family

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By:Eugene Girin | May 09, 2014

"Get used to it guys. Here in America you will see a lot of these murder cases: children killing parents, parents killing children, siblings rubbing out each other. This might shock you now, but in a few months, you will just glance over it in the paper and forget". This was the slightly snobbish admonition delivered by a distant relative to my parents and I in response to our shock about the Susan Smith case. We were in America for only two months when Smith admitted to deliberately drowning her two infant sons in a South Carolina lake. And less than two years later, the Menendez brothers were locked up for life for the brutal murder of their parents. 

All this came as a great shock to us recent "off-the-boat" immigrants. After all, the murders we were used to in the former USSR were either gangland shootings or the typical bludgeoning or stabbing of one drunk by another. And now, in the land of these beautiful suburban houses and immaculate green lawns, seemingly happy Americans were killing their family members in the cruelest ways possible. 

How bizarre, grotesque, and surreal these cases were for us. After all, these well-fed (to say the least) Americans did not have to stand in line for hours for stale bread, had hot water in the summer, and enjoyed working elevators and urine-free hallways in their municipal buildings. Heck, they even had their own cars and did not have push their way through a dingy Moldovan trolleybus. What more did these shmucks want from life? What sort of infernal force made these smiling suburbanites turn into homicidal monsters seemingly overnight?

I recalled our shocked reaction a couple days ago when I watched a murder trial in my local courthouse. The defendant, a young whale of a man was on trial for the double murder of his parents - shot dead at close range on the day they celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary. The alleged motive? Scandalous allegations of parental abuse like in the Menendez case? Unhinged fury like in the Mazaltuv Borukhova case?  Nope, mere greed. According to the prosecutors, the guy just wanted a few thousand dollars from his parents' bank account. On his part, the accused claims that it was his older brother, not he, who wanted the parents' money and hired a local thug to fake a robbery, a plan that turned into a massacre when the thug went rogue. So, no matter how you look at it and who you believe, one thing is clear: one of the brothers is responsible for the parents' death.

I told this wretched story to an Armenian friend over some sandwiches and seltzer during a break in the trial. "On trial for killing his parents? Back home in Yerevan, someone like that would not have even made it to court alive", said my friend with a grim frown while adjusting his sunglasses. But in today's America, with its cult of fast money and immoral living, can one expect anything else? Even close-knit, patriarchal Armenia is adopting the noxious lifestyle of the modern West. "Give it a decade or so, and you will see cases like this in Yerevan", I told my friend before wearily making my way back to the courtroom.



Dan Hayes
Rego Park
5/9/2014 06:48 PM

  A recent Chronicles blogster derided George F. Kennan for stating there's no point defending from the Russians "the porn shops of central Washington." Unfortunately, your post succinctly pointed out that the New World Order has ensured the propagation of a made-in- America porn shop mentality throughout the world. How nice.

5/10/2014 02:29 AM

  People who commit crime in this country have protected rights under the Constitution. What is disturbing to me is that there are powerful groups in this country that, in my opinion, amount to a tyranny of minority, or they could be a majority at this point. President Madison was more concerned about tyranny of the majority in Federalist 10. He said that "The true remedy is not to strike at the causes, but to control the effects." Stanley Elkins & Eric McKitrick, The Age of Federalism: The Early American Republic, 1788 - 1800, pg. 87. My concern is that our 1st Ammendment rights may gradually be overturned such that we will not have any 1st Ammendment rights - or they will be greatly altered. That in itself is criminal.

5/10/2014 03:36 AM

  I think our culture began to change back in the 60s, before the Susan Smith case. There was the Vietnam war, Kent State protests, use of drugs popularized by this college professor from Harvard, the birth control pill and the feminist movement. Now we live in a post Christian world, about 50% of marriages stay intact and drug abuse is common. The consequences have been devastating to the moral fabric of this country. Fortunately, most of the 314 million people in this country are law abiding citizens.

Eugene Girin
Forest Hills
5/10/2014 05:13 PM

  To DMD: Of course our culture (or whatever was left of it) began to deathly decline in the 60s way before Menendez, Susan Smith, and OJ. But it was in the mid 90s that I came in contact with it. Just goes to show that the Reagan era, so beloved by mainstream "conservatives", did nothing to mitigate the damage of the 60s and 70s. I would add that the Reagan era contributed to the glorification of violence in popular "culture" (the Arnold/Silvester/Jean Claude action hero movies that I so loved as a young post-Soviet lad were made in the Reagan-Bush years).

Nicholas MOSES
Paris (FR)
5/11/2014 07:34 PM

  "beautiful suburban houses" I'm guessing you're being ironic here? (Although you did not mention it, by the way, the alleged motive for the Smith case fits perfectly into your paradigm of greed-fueled violence.)


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