My Little Town

Lake county, Indiana has an international reputation for corruption. Probably most of this reputation has been the result of John Dillinger's escape from the Lake County Jail, located in Crown Point, the county seat for Lake County. Whatever the details of Dillinger's "escape," there is no question that it increased the difficulty of arguing that ultimately he was killed instead of captured because the governemnt would have suffered embarrasment at the ensuing trial. Even considering all the attendant notoriety of the "escape," it is not Crown Point's most striking feature. Crown Point's most striking feature is that its junior high school was named after Robert A. Taft. As will be seen shortly, the content of Robert A. Taft's character was severely lacking. Crown Point has always been willing to overlook this gargantuan flaw because it - like Taft - is anti-labor.

Robert A. Taft is best known today for his sponsorship of the Taft-Hartley amendments to the National Labor Relations Act. Labor opponents are particularly grateful to Mr. Taft for 29 U.S.C. 158(b)(4)(B), the section of the amendments that proscribes most forms of what may be generically described as the secondary boycott. An example of a secondary boycott should suffice to demonstrate the concept. Suppose the employees at a factory of a certain manufacturer engage in a strike. Under the terms of the National Labor Relations Act, the manufacturer is entitled to replace the striking employees with other workers (replacement workers) in order to attempt to continue his manufacturing operations. The replacement of the striking employees would of course be futile if the manufacturer were unable to obtain the raw materials needed to manufacture his product. To prevent exactly this situation, the workers at the plant producing the raw material are prohibited from striking with the purpose of inducing their employer to cease doing business with the manufacturer, and employees in the transportation industry are prohibited from either refusing to transport the necessary raw materials to the manufacturer or refusing to transport the finished product from the manufacturer to its sales outlet.

The Taft-Harley amendments went through Congress with overwhelming support. John F. Kennedy, then Senator from Massachusetts, was one of few who voted against it. The ease with which the amendments passed is remarkable for two reasons, both of which are digressions. Those interested may read here and here . Of course, anti-labor sentiment is not in and of itself a character flaw, and it is not here contended that it is. The primary flaw in the content of Taft's character consists of the fact that he was a Nazi sympathizer, and the primary flaw in the city of Crown Point's collective character consists of its willingness to ignore this flaw because of the value it places on anti-labor sentiment. Taft's sympathy for the Nazis is demonstrated by: 1) his father's friendship with Henry Ford, whose picture Adolf Hitler had on his desk; and 2) his opposition to trying the Nazis for the war crimes.

Robert Taft's anti-labor animus was no doubt fostered in his childhood home. His father was William Howard Taft, former President as well as former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Taft held the clearly anti-labor and patently incongruous position that the Sherman Act could be applied to restrain labor unions from striking, but not manufacturers from engaging in a monopoly. It is thus easy to see why Mr. Taft was regarded with such high esteem by Henry Ford and his NAM (National Association of Manufacturers) cronies.

That Ford and Taft enjoyed a friendship is particularly disturbing due to Henry Ford's antipathy toward the class of people he described as the "international Jew." In 1919, Mr. Ford established the Dearborn Independent as a vehicle by which to publicize his political views. In 1920, the periodical began to attack Jews, blaming them for things such as the necessity for Prohibition, bootlegging during the Prohibition, the 1919 Chicago Black Sox, and filth in the entertainment industry. Most disturbingly, it ran a several articles on what have come to be known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Protocols), one of the most notable forgeries in history. The Protocols is comprised of a series of notes for lectures (protocols) outlining a plot by which a secret Jewish world government will attain world domination. The most common version contains twenty-four protocols with three main themes: 1) criticism of liberalism; 2) methodology for attaining world domination; and 3) description of the resulting world sovereignty. The Independent wrote about the Protocols as though they were real, yet included in a note (with small print at that) plainly implying that they weren't. The articles published by the Dearborn Independent were compiled in book form and published under the title "The International Jew." Publication of the series of articles in book form proceeded even though the fact that the Protocols had been demonstrated to be forgeries had been reported by both the London Times and the New York Times. The book was translated into fifteen other languages, including German, and read by millions. Hitler was certainly aware of the International Jew, and kept a photograph of "Heinrich" Ford on his desk for years.

With a family background such as the one outlined above, it should come as no surprise that Robert A. Taft opposed punishing the Nazi war criminals. Taft grounded his opposition on purported technical non-compliance of the Nuremburg Tribunal with the United States Constitution. As will be seen shortly, the irony of his position is almost comical.

Here, in America, there are circumstances which have been held to justify suspension of certain provisions of the Constitution and the imposition of martial law. Two notable (and colorful) instances of the imposition of martial law pertained to labor strife, one during the miners' strike at the Coeur d'Alenes, Idaho in 1899, and the other at Cripple Creek, Colorado in 1903. In the Coeur d'Alenes, workers of the Western Mining Federation blew up machinery and the office of the Bunker Hill and Sullivan mining company in Kellogg. Governor Frank Steunenberg declared martial law, and requested that President William McKinley send federal troops to restore order. McKinley complied with Steunenberg's request, and sent in the Twenty-fourth Infantry Regiment, an all black regiment. During the course of a congressional hearing that ensued, Cogressman John Lentz hit the nail right on the head when he asked Steunenberg, "So, in other words, you are authorized by a mere statute of the legislature to deprive a county of a republican form of government indefinitely?" The 1899 strike at the Coeur d'Alenes will be revisited shortly.

In 1903, the smelter workers in Colorado City instituted a strike against their employers. The Western Federation of Miners (WFM), led by Charles Moyer and Bill Haywood, backed the striking smelters and asked all mining companies in the Cripple Creek district to refrain from shipping their mined ore to smelters in Colorado City. When the mining companies refused to do so, the 3,500 miners in the district struck the mining companies in support of the smelters. The Mine Owners’ Association responded by forming Citizen’s Alliances in every city, hiring replacement employees (many of whom were convicts released for the purpose of replacing striking workers), and attempting to infiltrate the WFM membership with employees loyal to the mine owners. There were more than several instances of violence. The Citizen’s Alliance of the Cripple Creek district requested that Colorado’s governor - James Peabody - send the state militia to restore order. Martial law was proclaimed in Telluride and throughout Teller County. The militia was sent in to these locations, as well as others where there had been no disturbances. Newspaper editors sympathetic to the strikers were jailed, and strikers were arrested simply for their status as such and held in custody in Goldfield, Colorado. When WFM leaders protested that the constitutional rights of the miners were being violated, General Tom McClellan exclaimed, “To hell with the Constitution.” When WFM leaders protested the suspension of habeas corpus proceedings, General Sherman Bell retorted, “Habeas corpus be damned. We’ll give ‘em postmortems.” Deputy sheriffs were shot, strikers killed, replacement workers killed, mine superintendents killed, and union leaders jailed.

Charles Moyer (president of WFM) had been jailed during the course of the strike, and subsequently filed a lawsuit in the federal district court against the James Peabody, Governor of Colorado. The suit alleged that Moyer was arrested without probable cause, that no charges to support his arrest were ever filed, and that he was denied access to the state courts during his incarceration. Peabody defended by asserting that he had declared the county to be in a state of insurrection, and that the arrest and incarceration of Moyer was therefore justified. The case, captioned Moyer v. Peabody, made it all the way to the Supreme Court, which, per Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, ruled that Moyer was not entitled to any damages for his incarceration. Holmes noted that the Colorado constitution provided that “when an invasion of or insurrection in the state is made or threatened, the governor shall order the national guard to repel or suppress the same.” According to Holmes, that meant soldiers “may kill persons who resist, and, of course, that [they] may use the milder measure of seizing the bodies of those whom [are] consider[ed] to stand in the way of restoring peace.” Because of the extreme nature of the actions that could be taken once martial law was declared, the striking employee found himself at a significant disadvantage. Indeed, it was at least theoretically possible that notwithstanding the absence of any wrongdoing on his part whatsoever he would remain incarcerated for the duration of the strike once martial law was declared.

Robert A. Taft would thus have accorded the Nazi war criminals in a foreign land more rights than those enjoyed by striking workers who committed no crime and who were American citizens on American soil, notwithstanding that the Nazis violated the international common law notion of the rules of war, the Hague Conventions, the rules of war of the United States, the Treaty of Versailles, and the Kellog-Briand Pact. If the was any miscarriage of justice at Nuremburg, it is that so few people were tried for perpetrating an atrocity of such magnitude.

Crown Point's anti-labor animus manifested itself again in 1990. Representative Pete Viscloskey announced in March of that year that he intended to push for a Gary regional airport to serve as the Chicago area's third major airport. Accomplishing this would require the relocation of numerous Gary residents, and there were those who were less than pleased about the prospect of having them relocate to their community. On August 5, then-Principal of Crown Point High School Bruce Swanson was suspended for having pled guilty to receiving kickbacks while he was Principal of Window Rock High School on a Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona. Swanson's suspension and almost immediate resignation created quite the scandal. At least one Gary civic leader found fault with the entire community of Crown Point because of the publicity that ensued. The backlash caused by the resignation obviously had a chilling effect on many would-be protestors, and the most visible protestor - the mayor - was to be soundly defeated in the 1992 mayoral election. The timing of the Swanson scandal is obviously suggestive, and the fact that Swanson's conviction was subsequently vacated positively reeks of contrivement. The writer can only hope that the authorities didn't inconvenience Mr. Swanson too much.

Two years later, another backlash incident occurred in Crown Point. It involved then-Head Football Coach Brad Smith's strategy for preventing a black running back from scoring a touchdown, said strategy involving the placement of fried chicken and watermelon on the sideline. The incident made the news when one of Smith's players quit the team over the incident, and his former teammates appeared at his residence to heckle and shout racial slurs. Smith was subsequently promoted to Athletic Director.

One musn't be tempted to attribute these incidents to a pure motive. The local reaction to the possibility of locating a Walmart in Crown Point demonstrates beyond peradventure that the number one Crown Point priority is the small business pocketbook Excluding the churches, nothing substantial has been done to alleviate the condition of homelessness, and that which has been done has been at least sometimes conditioned upon political correctness of the recipient. Any humanitarian motive for the two incidents is thus safely excluded. What, then, was the motive?

A fact not talked about much during Black History Month is that Black America has a history of being anti-labor. Disdain for the International Workers of the World is a source of pride for Black America. Black America's anti-labor animus is further demonstrated by a history of crossing picket lines to break strikes. This history begins no later than 1863, when recently freed slaves (the Emancipation Proclamation was effective January 1, 1863) were imported by New York City employers to break an increasing number of strikes. On March 3, 1863, Lincoln issued the Enrollment Act of Conscription, and sought to draft some 300,000 New York white males. The Act included a provision exempting those otherwise eligible who could pay three hundred dollars. It is difficult to concoct a more volatile set of circumstances, and a wave of violence now known as the Draft Riots of 1863 swept the city. Black workers, especially on the docks, but also in other occupations, were among those targeted. A committee of merchants was formed to provide economic relief to blacks. The committee also adopted a resolution calling for a form of equal employment opportunity, but was to afraid even to attempt to implement it.

Blacks were also imported in an effort to break the Pullman Strike of 1894. In that strike, the American Railway Union refused to handle any trains that contained a Pullman car. Some 125,000 workers were soon to strike Pullman Cars. This resulted in the hiring of replacement workers, many of whom were black. This ploy resulted in sympathy strikes, obstruction of railroad tracks, and physical attacks on the replacement workers. The strike was eventually broken when U. S. Army troops entered the fray. Not only those who are pro-labor blame Pullman for causing the strike.

Other notable instances of blacks crossing picket lines to break strikes include: Northern Pacific strikes in Washington in the 1880s; the miners strike in Virden (MO) in 1898; and numerous meat packer strikes in cities such as Chicago and Kansas City. Listing so few instances, however publicized they may have been, is misleading - importing black strikebreakers was a tactic used so frequently it could be termed standard operating procedure. While black willingness to work at reduced wages for employers who discriminated against them in the first instance may be explained by financial necessity, the black role in another notorious labor dispute suggests that animosity toward the white male worker was instead the primary motivation. Recall that federal troops were sent to the Coeur d'Alenes to restore order after the imposition of martial law, and that the all-black Twenty-fourth Infantry Regiment drew the assignment. Components of this regiment rounded up some 128 men supected of either complicity in the explosions or of merely supporting the union. The local paper (Wardner News) reported, "Oh how the [black] soldier boys did enjoy it!" This is perhaps the most polite criticism of the behavior of the Twenty-fourth Infantry Regiment, and was leveled by those with pro-employer sympathies. At least some of the pro-labor opinion regarded the members of the Twenty-fourth as "sub-human." Only the Republican members of the congressional committee that investigated the incident found the conduct of the members of the Twenty-fourth Regiment meritorious. The Democrats saw it very differently.

ANYWAY, THERE'S CROWN POINT'S MOTIVE. So far, the right thing for the wrong reason. However, intervening between the Swanson incident and the Smith incident was a series of shotgun murders committed by Christopher Peterson. From late 1990 through early 1991, seven people in Northwest Indiana met death caused by shotgun wounds. Christopher Peterson - a black male - was eventually apprehended and subsequently confessed to each of the seven murders, claiming that the victims were selected randomly. He was tried in three separate trials, was acquitted of three of the murders in the first trial, and convicted of the remaining four murders after second and third trials. One of the victims of the series of murders was Ora L. Wildermuth. That one of the murder victims had this name supplies a specific motive for a seemingly random murder. A man named Ora. L. Wildermuth - certainly not the same Ora L. Wildermuth and perhaps not even related to the victim (it doesn't matter either way) is credited with being the City of Gary's first lawyer, first teacher, and first librarian. The Miller branch of the Gary public library is in fact named after him. To say that Wildermuth founded Gary might be a bit of an exageration, but not much of one. He is certainly properly regarded as one of its founding fathers. The Gary that Ora L. Wildermuth helped found was once nationally known as "The City That Works." After the influx of blacks, national recognition as "The City That Works" was replaced by national recognition as "The Murder Capital of America." While the fact that status of "Murder Capital" followed the influx of black does not mandate the conclusion that the influx caused the title, it at least permits that inference. National recognition as "The Murder Capital of America" is not something of which to be proud, and is something about which to be concerned by those presented with the possiblity of the influx of blacks from Gary.

Ora L. Wildermuth (the victim) moved from Porter County to Lake Station after Viscloskey's announcement in 1990. The timing of the move suggests the possibility that it represented a symbolic protest against the influx of blacks into Lake Station. The fact that he ws killed after having made the move suggests the possibility that his move was so perceived. The alternative is that both the move and the murder were coincidence, which, even without more, is unlikely in the first instance. There is oh so much more.

An extremely interesting point about the Peterson case is that doubt that inheres in some basic facts of the case. Basic fact number one is that Peterson is black. At least one witness said the shooter was white. Basic fact number two is that what at least looked like an abortive attempt on another life with a modus operandi similar to that employed by Peterson occurred after Peterson was arrested, and therefore could not have been involved. Basic fact number three is that in his confession, Peterson said his motive was racial hatred, but if the name Harchand S. Dhaliwal is any indication, then one of his victims was not white. Certainly a sum of these three basic discrepancies is that somebody else did the shootings and the cops coerced an innocent man to confess. Apparently the discrepancies were explained as follows: the witness who identified the shooter as white saw Peterson's acknowledged accomplice, a relatively light-skinned black man; the abortive attempt on another life that occurred after Peterson was incarcerated with the same modus operandi was perpetrated by a copycat; and Peterson himself erroneously identified one of the victims as white.

There is another explanation. That explanation is that Peterson, or somebody on whose behalf Peterson was acting, was familiar with the legal system, accordingly knew what a trial would look like, and contrived a set of circumstances in which reasonable doubt inhered. When one reads the newspaper account of the first night of Peterson's killing spree, it is difficult not to conclude that he intentionally left witnesses. Most murderers don't want witnesses for the reason that witnesses increase the chances of being convicted at trial. The assertion here, however, is ; 1) that Peterson planned to kill again; 2) that Peterson planned to get caught, albeit not in the act; and 3) that Peterson was counting on the discrepencies between the descriptions given by survivors and his own physical appearance to create a reasonable doubt.

On October 30, 1990, (the first night of the shotgun murders) - two people - Lawrence Mills and Rhonda Hammersley - were murdered with a shotgun. On the same night, a man armed with a shotgun also shot at and missed a woman, a female teenager, and Hammersley's coworker. The woman was shot at from a range of twenty feet. The teenager was missed from virtually point blank range. In the words of the local Chief of Police, "She had a better chance of winning the lottery than avoiding that gunfire." The coworker testified at trial that after Hammersley was shot "the killer leaned into her car and fired, hitting the inside passenger door. Jillson said she laid down on the seat and lay still, and felt the end of the shotgun pressed to her skull, then heard a man say, "All right, that's enough. Let's go."" If the assertion were not so remarkable on its face, it would be difficult not to conclude that Peterson delberately left witnesses. Perhaps this is what a police chief meant when he stated that the killer was trying to deceive.

That someone with the same unusual name as one of the City of Gary's founders should move to Lake Station shortly after Visclosky's announcement could be a coincidence. That he would be murdered soon thereafter by a black man looks an awful lot less like a coincidence. That he was murdered shortly after a perfectly timed move under a set of facts in which doubt inheres doesn't look anything like coincidence. If indeed the murder was not a coincidence, it would appear that Peterson and his cohorts had help from somebody who knew what a trial looked like. Two such classes of people are lawyers and cops.

Relatively shortly after the Peterson murders, a number of events occurred that, on the surface, militate against any notion that any element of law enforcement opposed what at the very least could be perceived as a symbolic protest presented by Wildermuth's move to Lake Station. One such event was the federal prosecution of three Gary police cops - Cory House, Derrick Earls, and Kenneth Wilson - charged with some very serious offenses. The charges included firearms violations, drug trafficking and multiple counts of robbery. House and Earls were acquitted on all charges, and Wilson was convicted only of possessing cocaine, but the ostensible lesson to be learned was that the feds were not afraid to go after bad cops notwithstanding the damaging effect of the prosecution on the reputation of the entire municipal police force.

Another "exculpatory" event occurred in Merrillville in 1991. On November 28 of that year, an article appeared in the times in which Rudolph Clay, Lake County Commissioner, accused the Merrillville Police Department of racial profiling, and asserted that sixty percent of those pulled over in minor traffic stops in Merrillville are minority residents of Gary. An investigation was launched headed by Don Markle, Chief of Police, and Dan Demmon, Seargent. Markle noted - apparently accurately - that neither the Town of Merrillville nor the town attorney had received any complaints charging discrimination. Less than one month later, Markle was scandalized due to his admission in a deposition that he had used the word "nigger," and he resigned as police chief shortly thereafter. The ostensible lesson to be learned from the Markle episode was that cops dislike Gary blacks. The ready inference is that since cops dislike Gary blacks, they would not want to be involved in murder to prevent Wildermuth's symbolic protest.

Another "exculpatory" event was the suppression of Peterson's palmprint lifted at the scene of the first murder. Anybody even somewhat familiar with Fourth Amendment law knows that Judge James Clement's order of suppression was incorrect, regardless of the legality of the arrest of Peterson's accomplice. The ruling was in fact so clearly incorrect that it had to have been deliberately incorrect. HYPERLINK. When Peterson was tried in Porter County, the arrest of Peterson's accomplice was ruled legal, and the palmprint therefore admissible, but it was never introduced into evidence. The palmprint was widely reported after Peterson's arrest, but in an interview given in October of 1993, he said he does not believe it exists. "No one has ever seen it but the police, and it was the police telling this," he said. A permissible inference is that the cops lied about the print in order to secure a conviction, thus demonstrating their disapproval of Peterson.

Another and the most conspicuous of these events occurred when "Unsolved Mysteries" announced in 1993 that it would run a segment on the murder of Jay Given that occurred in 1981. Jim Lindsay, segment director for "Unsolved Mysteries", provided the Times with the following list of "wrinkles":

Given, a powerful politico, is shot May 15, 1981, at a political rally with 400 people, but no one sees anything, the bullet used is tampered with at the police station; the prime suspect is John Cordona, a former deputy police chief who fails one polygraph on the murder and then refuses one on the evidence tampering which costs him his job.
No one has ever been charged with Given's murder or the evidence tampering. And that's just the beginning.
Not surprisingly, the segment produced no new leads, no arrests, and no charges. However, it did result in Jay Given's son, Jeff Given, rendering an interesting opinion with regard to the motive behind his father's murder. Given stated, "I belive the bottom line was that my dad was beginning to work on putting together a coalition of whites, blacks, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans to oppose Bob Pastrick in an upcoming [mayoral] election."

Thus, the bottom line of the "Unsolved Mysteries" segment was that the prime suspect was a cop, and that the motive was to prevent unification of races and ethnicities. At this point, it should not be difficult for the reader to add the bottom lines of the Markle episode and the "Unsolved Mysteries" segment and relate them to an allgation of police involvement in the Wildermuth murder. Again, the ostensible lesson to be learned from the Markle episode was that cops dislike Gary blacks. The ready inference is that since cops dislike Gary blacks, they would not want to be involved in murder to prevent Wildermuth's symbolic protest. The ostensible lesson to be learned from the "Unsolved Mysteries" segment was that, far from wanting to murder someone who opposes blacks, the cops dislike anybody who would unite black and white and others, and, in fact, would be willing to kill the person themselves.

The writer asserts that this was the sole objective of the segment in the first instance. As was previously stated, the segment didn't result in any new leads, let alone any arrests or convictions. It is interesting to note the word "beginning" in the motive proffered by Given's son - the paucity of evidence that Jay Given was attempting to put together a coalition precludes assertion of anything beyond a beginning. A permissible inference is that the proffered motive was tailored to explain the lack of evidence supporting it. Because Jeff Given's proffered motive militates against cop involvement in the Wildermuth murder, the timing of the "Unsolved Mysteries" segment is at least interesting. At this point, a step by step analysis of exactly how the show's producer was prompted to air the show when he did, and why he hasn't done anything with it since, would be as almost as interesting as the identity of Given's killer.

On April Fool's Day, 1992, the Times published the following letter to the editor from Kim Klimek, now Kim Klimek-Robison, daughter of Wallace Riley, then Lake Station Councilman, and Lake Station Councilman in 1984:

I am a resident of Lake Station. I am opposed to both the proposed Gary and Lake Calumet sites. I realize that with the economy in the state that it is in and the unemployment rate that the airport is appealing to many, but please remember that it is a trade-off and the things we are trading may not be worth it. I am not opposed to the airport itself, just the possible locations. The benefits of the airport could still be reaped if it were at one of the rural sites - preferably in Indiana. My reasons are as follows: The uprooting of 40,000 people and 110 businesses for the Gary site and 47,000 people and 200 businesses for the Lake Calumet site will cause many who have lived in their neighborhoods all or most of their lives to be relocated; their homes filled with life-long memories will be demolished. Many of these people do not want to move. Many of those involved are minorities and/or low-income making it extremely more difficult. This will be expensive to the taxpayer and hard on residents. With the above problems you can add pollution - both air and noise from the planes and the increased car and truck traffic the airport would cause. This is harmful to everyone, especially those with asthma or lung problems. This area has enough air pollution with all the industry sources and the heavy population contributing. People who live near O'Hare airport say the noise from the jets is so loud that if you are outside talking you have to go inside to finish your conversation or stop until the planes pass. It shakes their houses and wakes them up at night. This would affect thousands of people. There are many other reasons: higher taxes, the higher costs of the urban sites as compared to the rural sites, increased air traffic increasing risks of mid-air collision, cost of demolition of homes and buildings then disposal costs of the solid waste, increased ground traffic to and from the airport, decreased property values, natural areas and wetland loss - the list goes on and on. Please do not let politics, promise of jobs and prosperity, greed, or apathy cloud your perspective. Indiana may become richer in short-term development and opportunity but poorer in quality of life in the long run. (Emphasis added.)
It is interesting that Ms. Klimek-Robison's objection to the airport was purportedly for the good of the people who would most benefit by its presence - the citizens of Gary. From Ms. Klimek-Robison's objection may be inferred that she wanted to appear as though she opposed black influx into Lake Station. It is also at least interesting that Ms. Klimek-Robison chose to wait until two years after the plans were announced to voice her "objection." A permissible inference is that something ocurred between Viscloskey's announcement and Klimek-Robison's letter to prompt her to write. On its face, Ms. Klimek-Robison's "objection" to the influx of blacks tends to negate any objection on the part of the City of Lake Station to the symbolic protest posed by Wildermuth's relocation.

The municipality of Lake Station next engaged in an episode that was so farcical that it almost must be regarded as an effort by its leaders to demonstrate that they opposed black influx. To make a long story short, the municipality dragged its heels in permitting a development known as Timbercreek Estates, first proposed in 1995. The project was intended to have added some 180 low-to-moderate income homes to the City of Lake Station. By the time of the proposal, Lake Station had received funds through the LCEDD for some eleven years, and was not in a financial position to breach the contract and refund the amounts it had already received. Through a series of rather costly manuevers orchestrated at least in part by the son of a former Attorney General for the State of Indiana, Lake Station managed to give the appearance of having postponed the development for a decade. Ultimately, a federal court ruled in favor of the development. Given the terms of the agreement, the result was a foregone conclusion, and the Lake Station taxpayer footed the bill for $_______ in legal expenses so that Lake Station's leaders could create the impression that they opposed black influx by appearing to oppose the terms to which they had already agreed.

A reasonable perception of the Wallace Riley shift in philosophy is that it resulted from "police pressure" upon his daughter. Click here. Interestingly, in November of 2003, after Wallace Riley was defeated in his bid for yet another term as Lake Station councilman, Wallace Riley, with his daughter by his side, was paid tribute by Pete Visclosky, and had a Lake Staion park named after him. Maybe we should all buy and smoke cocaine at Wallace Riley Park.

At this point, it might be beneficial to recount the coicidences and unusual circumstances involved in the Wildermuth murder if the theory espoused here is incorrect. Ora L. Wildermuth helped found the City of Gary. The name is an uncommon one. Shortly after Visclosky's announcement, a man with the same uncommon name moves to Lake Station. Shortly after the move, this man with the same uncommon name is murdered by a serial killer. (Serial killers are not all that common, either.) Although the shooter is described as white, the prosecution's theory is that a black man did it. Although one of his seven victims was not white, the black defendant confesses to being motivated by racial animosity. Thus, both a key prosecution witness and the defendant miss with regard to race in the same trial. The abortive attempt on another life with a modus operandi similar to that employed by Peterson which occurred after Peterson was arrested and therefore could not have been involved means that there was a copycat, a situation that sometimes occurs but not often. Moreover, at least five events occur after the Wildermuth murder which ostensibly militate against police involvement in a case that at least looks like it could have been contived by someone with knowledge of the legal system.

The legal system also contributed to the "hinkiness" of the case. Clement's decision to seperate the trials by date of alleged comission is at least questionable. Assuming, however, that it was in fact correct, and that evidence of the murders comitted on seperate dates were inadmissible in the seperate trials, it necessarily follows that evidence of the attempt with the same modus operandi that occurred after Peterson was arrested should also have been inadmissible. The erroneousness of Clement's exclusion of the palmprint has been mentioned. Obviously, the ruling also made it more difficult to secure a conviction against Peterson, as well as inviting speculation of police impropriety. Then-Prosecutor Jon DeGuilo did his part by failing to at least attempt to perfect an interlocutory appeal, which, if ever appropriate, was appropriate here. Finally, there is the fact that Peterson has had his death penalty overturned, notwithstanding that he has confessed to each of the seven murders and been convicted of four. That much coincidence is way more than merely a statistical anomaly.

Given the roles played by DeGuilo and the police, it is less than surprising that law enforcement has done nothing by way of investigation since. At least interesting is the fact that in December of 1993, a black man - Bernard Carter - was appointed Prosecutor for Lake County. He remains Prosecutor today. Anyone critical of any lack of action on the part of the prosecutor's office thus runs the risk of being labelled racially prejudiced. Anyone who acquires the label of racially prejudiced risks being labelled mentally ill by those shrinks who follow the benign Dr. Karl Menninger school of thought. The chilling effect exerted by Carter's race and status can be observed by the fact that nobody even wimpered when one of the local newspapers ran an article detailing Wallace Riley's comission of the felony of conflict of interest. The chilling effect of the top law enforcer's minority status was exacerbated when Rogelio Dominguez was elected Sheriff.

It is the fact that the Peterson killings intervened between the Swanson incident and the Smith incident that renders the Smith incident so odious. One must at least wonder how much Smith knew when he made his remark. In any event, whatever approval Smith had among his peers is at the very least ironic. In 1979, the Crown Point Classroom Teachers Association went on strike, notwithstanding the fact that state law prohibited them from so doing. The school corporation obtained a court order requiring the teachers to end the strike, and the teachers violated it, too. The bottom line is this: the teachers (again, to whatever extent Smith had their approval) condoned subterfuge to reward a class of people who have historically opposed the legal efforts of workers to increase wages and to better working conditions, and yet engaged in illegal activity to do the same for themselves. How typically Crown Point.

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