By now we are all pretty much familiar with the events of Wednesday and Thursday here in Middletown. I do have some thoughts on the matter which I posted elsewhere but will repeat here. A pathetic loser obtains a gun and shoots a woman with whom he has a long standing grievance. It is not surprising in these post 9/11 days that intelligent, but nevertheless deranged, killers can immobilize entire communities with notebook scribblings about rape and attacks on Jews. It is also not surprising what sort of murders attract the TV and print media. There must be, I don’t know, at a least a dozen or more murders in Middletown each year that don’t rate more than a paragraph or brief mention on the air. By the way, I don’t fault Wesleyan University for their reaction to the perceived threat.
Of course we are relieved that Stephen Morgan has turned himself in to the police. One report says that he saw his photograph in a newspaper at a convenience store in Meriden and requested the clerk call 911. That Morgan shot Wesleyan junior Johanna Justin-Jinich in revenge for some past grievance or slight seems logical.
Morgan had a history of harassment directed at Ms. J-J that the authorities n New York and Connecticut were aware of. They both attended a summer program at New York University in 2007. They both have connections to Colorado where she has family. Morgan drove here, possibly from Colorado, in the last day or two. His car, left at the scene of the shooting bears Colorado tags. Morgan’s family in Massachusetts publicly pleaded that he surrender, and he did. So far, so good.
That Stephen Morgan intended to kill Johanna Justin-Jinich seems clear enough. The five, or in another account, seven bullets were more than enough. He entered the bookstore where Ms.J-J worked wearing a wig as disguise. After the shooting he discarded the wig and the murder weapon, and according to one account used the book lift, or dumbwaiter device, to descend to the basement and thence to the street. There, again according to some accounts, he mingled with the gathering crowd; the speculation is that his escape in his auto was foiled by the almost immediate deployment of police vehicles at the scene blocking his car. Luckily, the Middletown Police SWAT Team was engaged in an exercise nearby and was on the scene in seconds. Amazingly, Morgan was questioned by police along with others at the scene. His contact information was taken and he was free to go. Only hours later did the police realize that he was among the ones questioned earlier at the scene.
In Morgan’s automobile the police say they found a personal journal where he writes that he will rape and kill Ms. J-J There also they say he writes of a desire to bring a killing spree to the Wesleyan campus, with emphasis on targeting Jewish students. One media outlet reports this as a posible “Jewish Columbine”! At this point many questions arise:
If Morgan intended to kill persons other than his intended victim, why did he discard his weapon at the murder scene? No other weapons were found in his car so one must conclude that he most likely had no further plans for a shooting spree on campus. The fact that the police were almost immediately on the scene only spoiled his getaway in his automobile, not any further plot of mayhem.
In all fairness to Wesleyan University, one cannot fault the administration for the drastic lock down measures that were imposed on the campus. They did the right thing. The media frenzy about this event drove that response. There are, this is just a guess, perhaps a dozen or so murders a year in Middletown. Does the crumbling fantasy world of a pathetic loser deserve this sort of attention?
Posted yesterday at Right of Middle
Related stories: CNN Crime