Kenosha · Tom Brown's Body · Doc Antle
Plus corporate investigations, and more on Clint Lorance
|Best Evidence||Oct 12, 2020||2||1|
Robert Klemko and Greg Jaffe dig into “this summer’s deadliest protest-related incident” for the Washington Post. Titled “A mentally ill man, a heavily armed teenager and the night Kenosha burned,” the piece tries to untangle how Kyle Rittenhouse came to cross paths with Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and Gaige Grosskreutz that night in Kenosha, WI. (The photo above, which I can’t stop looking at with its blurry “stop” imagery in the foreground, and interrogation-bright lights obscuring what’s really going on, is by Joshua Lott.) Really, it’s a history of Rosenbaum’s, Huber’s, and Grosskreutz’s paths to that point. Rosenbaum in particular seems, frankly, not to have had much of a chance in this world:
At the time, he and his new fiancee, whom he met in a Wisconsin hospital, were braving the winter in a tent they had pitched in an overgrown lot behind an abandoned department store. Rosenbaum had bought her engagement ring at Walmart and proposed on one knee in the middle of a busy sidewalk.
“That was Jo Jo; he was just goofy,” said his fiancee. “He’d make you laugh out of nowhere.”
They spent their days at nearby fast-food restaurants where the staff sometimes gave them free meals. At night Rosenbaum, his fiancee and her cat huddled under piles of blankets. “We lived off of each other’s body heat,” she said.
It’s a good piece, though the comments are to be avoided at all costs. It puts me in mind of the obits in the Times after 9/11, the way they unabstracted the death toll of that day with all those stories that ended too soon. — SDB
It’s not the first time Today In True-Crime Buttholes is all about Tiger King, and it probably won’t be the last. The nominal good news here is that Bhagavan “Doc” Antle finally got charged for trafficking lion cubs; a Frederick County grand jury indicted Antle “on felony counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy, plus multiple misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act. Two of his daughters also have been indicted on charges of animal cruelty and violating the Endangered Species Act.” No word on whether he’s also facing misdemeanor stupid-facial-hair or stupid-ponytail charges; maybe they just let him off with a warning for those.
But wait, there’s more — and it’s a literal horror show, as Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures is heading to the Greater Wynnewood Animal Park for a two-hour special airing Thursday 10/29. Press materials describe the ep as “an undertaking” (…come on, guys) “like no other for the group,” and promise “exclusive interviews” with Jeff Lowe (don’t threaten me) on the topic of, among other things,
the spirit of Travis Maldonado, who tragically and accidentally killed himself inside the park, still lingers and appears in the form of a dark mist. As Bagans and the crew speak with park staff – including Erik Cowie and Allen Glover, well-known characters from the documentary – they learn new details about the park’s story, and experience unexplained encounters that creep even these guys out: apparitions, shadow figures, voices and mysterious light phenomena.
It’s a beast of a case and the team calls in the big guns for assistance.
There’s more on the show’s Insta, if you’re not already at the ER getting treatment for hyper-rolled eyes. — SDB
Reviews in The New Yorker have a way of making books sound better than they are thanks to the good writing in the reviews themselves, and I fear that’s once again the case with Patrick Radden Keefe’s latest, a write-up of Tyler Maroney’s Modern Detective. I’ll still grab the Maroney off the library hold list when it comes up, but Keefe hooked me with a (semi-groaner) title, “Snoop Dreams,” then wended his way through a history of the Pinkertons and a reference to Ronan Farrow getting harassed by Black Cube; by the end, I’d added like four books to my to-read list. Damn you, Radden Keefe!
My favorite revelation, besides the reminder that Dashiell Hammett was a Pinkerton before becoming a writer? Keefe mentioning that Maroney “suggests that on any given weekday in midtown Manhattan ‘there are, I would estimate, dozens of surveillance teams shadowing people.’” I mean, I know my response to that should be “yikes,” but what I actually said was “wow, neat.” So what have we learned? 1) Don’t go to midtown, and 2) Buntsy is nosy. — SDB
Would you rather read Skip Hollandsworth’s reporting on the mysterious case of Tom Brown than listen to Texas Monthly’s new podcast, “Tom Brown’s Body”? Good news: the mag is running it as a print/text concern as well! I started listening when the first episode dropped on 9/29, and I liked it very much, but stopped after one episode in case I got Forcened with it. Fast forward to this past Saturday, when the small dent I made in my teetering magazine stack brought me to the latest issue of TM, featuring Hollandsworth and the Tom Brown story on the cover (and an editor’s letter that’s basically a mash note to the Hollandsworth archive on the TM website, which, word, I’ve written that mash note several times m’self).
It’s nearly identical to the podcast episodes from what I can tell, so if you’d just rather have an object in hand to consume the story, that’s the way to go — though it may be a TM-subscriber-only feature, and you’ll have to wait for each monthly issue to get the ongoing installments, each of which seems to be two episodes’ worth. Kind of In Cold Blood-esque, which is fitting. — SDB
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“Feh, another deep dive into Clint Lorance? I don’t know, lady.” Yeah, I didn’t either, but Nathaniel Penn’s piece for The California Sunday Magazine is worth a look — pack a lunch, though; it’s nearly twenty thousand words long — if only because it’s the first take on the events of that scorching day in 2012 that gives a spatial-relationally challenged consumer like myself a working sense of the field of battle. And that includes visual media like Leavenworth, whose maps and drone shots kiiiind of gave me a sense of the place and the men’s positions, but then a Lorance platoon-mate would add a bunch of lingo in the voiceover that the narrative would have to stop and explain, and confuse me all over again. “The Last Patrol” doesn’t get bogged down in explaining argot.
It also keeps its powder relatively dry — to coin a phrase — when it comes to the politicization of Lorance’s case; in fact, it even begins with Lorance’s reluctance to talk to Penn because of that very issue (or, really, because — as Lorance himself notes — it’s not in his interest to talk to non-verified-conservative news outlets). So this segment is admirably understated:
Lorance had been stunned but thrilled by Trump’s election. As a candidate, Trump had declared, “The problem is we have … all sorts of rules and regulations, so the soldiers are afraid to fight. We can’t waterboard, but they can chop off heads. I think we’ve got to make some changes, some adjustments.” Although he had avoided service himself, Trump seemed to share Lorance’s view that the Rules of Engagement under President Obama favored the enemy.
Hannity raised the issue of presidential pardons. “Did you hear the story of Clint Lorance … got 30 years?” Hannity said, adding ten years to Lorance’s sentence. “He was doing his job, protecting his team in Afghanistan.”
“We’re looking at a few of them,” Trump told him.
For Lorance, these words were electrifying. The president knows who I am!
The pitiable confidence that this president “knows” anything that doesn’t directly involve himself is sketched with such deftness by Penn, calling back to his trim description of Lorance’s severely constricted, yet turbulent, upbringing. It’s good writing, worth the time commitment. — SDB
Tuesday on Best Evidence: QAnon, Cooper, and Caliphate…for starters!