True Crime A To Z: X

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We had to get pret-ty creative with X, as you can imagine…but the panel has risen to the occasion. I could subtitle this entry “The Fast And The Feloniously Fratricidal,” but…you know. Wrong letter. Let’s turn it over to one of my favorite suppressive persons to mark the spot with X.

Susan Howard: Xenu. Central to L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology mythmaking is this galactic dictator/emperor who brought his people to earth and then bombed them to death. The followers’ spirits became the thetans that cause the human race harm. Is that a stretch for true crime? [“Hubbard was, at best, a con artist and tax cheat. I’ll allow it.” — SDB]

Margaret Howie: “Racer X.” Some reporting wins Pulitzers, some exonerates innocent people, some speaks truth to power. But only Kenneth Li can claim that around ten thousand words he wrote on underground street racers for a hip-hop magazine would inspire Vin Diesel’s greatest work and a generation of tricked-out Japanese imports blasting Ja Rule songs across the globe. Racer X gave us the pure b-movie thrills of The Fast & Furious and I can’t think of many loftier accomplishments.

Kevin Smokler: Xmas Beating, aka Bloody Christmas. One of the more shameful moments in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department actually resulted in the guilty parties being punished: On Christmas Eve 1951, seven Mexican-American Men were arrested after a fight outside a Riverside Drive bar with police officers. The next evening at the department’s Christmas Party, the seven were removed from their holding cells and savagely beaten by police officers in full view of 50 witnesses. And although both the local media and Chief William Parker treated police crime as proportional response, an external investigation resulted in the conviction of five officers and the suspension of 39 others. James Ellroy dramatized the event in the opening chapters of his novel LA Confidential as did the movie of the same name. 

SDB: The X-Files S04.E02, “Home.” Yes, the “the priiiide; the loooove” one. “Home” is consistently cited as among the most memorable (and scariest) episodes of the sci-fi series’ MotW offerings — and it’s based in no small part on Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s Brother’s Keeper. Did I have to Google around to find an X-Files based on a real crime? I did. Is this better than combing through the pages of The Big Book Of Serial Killers for an X entry I’ve had no experience with, when I know both this episode and the documentary, and know they’re quality material? It is.

True Crime A To Z is available to all subscribers…and we’d love your feedback! Comment on our picks, and tell an interested friend!

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