"...in the life of every child and every
man, the little word 'why' plays a big
part, and rightly so. The saying, 'You
must ask in order to know,' is true in
so far as it leads to thinking about
things, and by thinking nobody can
get worse but will only get better."
Kitty Genovese, a 28-year-old American woman, was stabbed and raped outside the apartment building where she lived in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens in New York City in the early hours of 13 March 1964. She shared the apartment with her same-sex partner, Mary Ann Zielonko. The man convicted of her murder had seen her driving her car home and followed her in his car. She parked at the Kew Gardens LIRR station parking lot around 3:15 a.m., approximately 30 meters from her apartment's door at the rear of the building. Genovese saw him with his knife and ran to the building but he overtook her and stabbed her in the back twice. A number of neighbors heard her initial screams and calls for help but most thought it was a domestic dispute and did not realize the seriousness of the attack, so chose to ignore it. One exception was Robert Mozer, who shouted at the attacker, "Let that girl alone!", causing him to flee as Genovese made her way toward the rear entrance of the building, seriously injured and out of view of any witnesses. At least two neighbors called police, one after calling friends for advice on what to do.
Witnesses saw the attacker enter his car, drive away, and return ten minutes later. He searched the area and eventually found Genovese, who was barely conscious and lying in a hallway at the back of the building, where a locked door stopped her from entering. Out of view of the street and of those who may have heard or seen any sign of the initial attack, he stabbed Genovese several more times before raping her, stealing $49 from her before again running away. The attacks spanned approximately half-an-hour, and knife wounds to Genovese's hands suggested she attempted to defend herself. Her neighbor and close friend, Sophia Farrar, found Genovese shortly after the second attack and held her in her arms, whispering "Help is on the way" until an ambulance arrived at 4:15 a.m., and she died en route to the hospital due to asphyxiation caused by a punctured lung. It had long been illegal for ordinary people to carry a handgun for defensive use in NYC bar for a small number of people with political connections like friends of the mayor, though the rich have always been allowed to be escorted by armed bodyguards they could afford to hire, including violent felons convicted of rape and murder.
Hannah Clarke, a 32-year-old Australian woman, was fatally burned in a petrol fire in her car, along with her three children (Aaliyah, 6; Laianah, 4; Trey, 3), in a quadruple murder-suicide by her estranged husband in Camp Hill, Queensland, despite being subject to a domestic violence order (DVO) which made it illegal for him to have contact Clarke at the time of the murders. On 19 February 2020, Clarke was driving their children to drop them at school when her former partner ambushed them, dousing the interior of the car with petrol and set it alight. Clarke was pulled burning out of the car by bystanders. While the car was burning with the three children inside, the offender stopped bystanders from putting out the fire before he stabbed himself to death. Clarke was rushed to the Royal Brisbane Hospital with burns to 97% of her body, but died there that evening. As in NYC in 1964, and most other places, it was illegal for ordinary people like Clarke to carry a practical defensive weapon, though people who can afford it can hire armed bodyguards in Australia, including violent felons convicted of rape and murder.
Suzanna Hupp, a 32-year-old American woman, was at the former Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, when a man began shooting, killing 24 including himself on 16 October 1991. Her father, Al Gratia, who felt that he "needed to do something", tried to rush the gunman and was fatally shot. Seeing an escape route through a broken window, Hupp grabbed her mother by the shirt and told her, "Come on, we have to go now!" As Hupp moved toward the only escape, she believed her mother was following her, only to find out later that Ursula had also been killed, shot dead at point blank range while cradling her dying husband in her arms. She had the opportunity for a clear shot at the murderer, but she did not have her handgun with her in the 'gun free' zone as required by law and it was locked in her car. Not that such areas are truly 'gun free' as the licensed bodyguards who escort the rich are exempt from such laws (as is the case in most nations). Obeying that law cost many lives. Hupp became a legislator and fought for laws that protect decent poor and working class people instead of harm them. Her remarkable and inspiring story is recorded in her book, From Luby's to the Legislature.¹
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1. Hupp, Suzanna G. From Luby's to the Legislature: One Woman's Fight Against Gun Control, Privateer Publications, 2009.