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On the Occasion of Ms. Chase's Death

A Holiday Tradition Here in Boulder

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, December 24, 1997.

It’s Christmas Eve, or rather the afternoon of Christmas Eve, and I thought, being the holidays and all, it would be fun to gather round the radio, throw a log on the fire, a Kiwi on the barbie, freshen that eggnog, put your feet up, throw your head back, hum a few familiar melodies while I chat in the background about the slow painful death of someone you’ve never heard of.

Always willing to try and make lemonade from blood, it’s an open question how long it will be before a Ramsey family spokesperson tries to implant the theory that Boulder has a Christmas murderer, but if it hasn’t happened yet, it will. A 23-year-old woman, bludgeoned to near death and dragged to an alley, died Monday. There had been little hope - she had been beaten so badly, apparently with a bat, she was unrecognizable.

It was a ferocious murder, and people who deal with such things are seemingly convinced it is an act of revenge, or perceived revenge, or a punishment against a symbol. That seems logical. The person who did this is not the cool, methodical writer of the Ramsey fake kidnapping note a day short of a year ago. The person who did this is likely a white man in his twenties or thirties, who has trouble with women. Likely, the least of his troubles. And this is probably not his first violent act against women. It is possible he didn’t know the victim; there was just a something about her. A look, a smile, the way she said “no thank you.” Something that set him off.

I spent four months in jail, and I’ve told you the only really upsetting thing I learned there is the fear of and anger towards women held by way too many men, people I’d have never suspected of such thoughts. I used to roll my eyes when many women wailed on about it, but I no longer do. I used to point out that certain women seem to seek out violent men, but while true, I’m not sure what my point was. An explanation?

The newspapers are trying out various Jack the Ripper stagings. “He’s Out There!” “Be careful in the Wittier neighborhood!!” “What if????”

Oh, he’s out there all right, even if this proves to be a freak - even a woman - he’s still out there, possibly already in custody for another crime, but he’s still out there, laughing at the bitches and ho jokes at work, or with beer on the park bench. He’s always out there.

I used to think none of my acquaintances would hit a woman. I’ve since discovered my error. But here’s the punch. When they scoop this scum up and put him away, he’s still out there. Always. The Ramseys are, coincidentally, correct. Boulder has a Christmas killer. When he’s not this guy, he’s another - and he’s always out there. I did time with some of him. Please be careful. Get help. Be alert.

Merry Christmas