Monday, January 18, 2010

Bullshit



From the Wikpedia Cleveland Torso Murderer entry:
During the time of the "official" murders, Eliot Ness was the Public Safety Director of Cleveland - a position known in other cities as police commissioner. Ness was unsuccessful in the investigation, and despite his history of the capture of Al Capone, Ness's career as a detective ended shortly after the murders stopped. Because of what was seen as Ness' failure to capture the killer, it has been said that Eliot Ness was the Torso Murderer's 13th "victim".
"It has been said," indeed. Poetic, but false.

"The Public Safety Director had supreme authority over municipal law enforcement and ancillary services." (Paul Heimel, Eliot Ness: The Real Story) He was in charge of the police and fire departments, a responsibility broader than that of Police Commissioner. He was not a "detective" and though he was called upon to make comments about the so-called Mad Butcher it was not his "case."

Ness' career as Safety Director ended four years after the last in this series of murders ended in 1938. Following a few years of slipping popularity, on March 5, 1942 Ness was responsible for a hit-and-run accident. Witnesses suggest he had been drinking earlier that evening, yet Ness did not formally resign until April 30.

Some may say his increased use of alcohol may have been caused by his failure to catch the Mad Butcher. But his career path, though maybe a little tragic, is kind of ordinary.

LATER: I tried to clean it up a bit. How does this sound?
During the time of the "official" murders, Eliot Ness was the Public Safety Director of Cleveland, who has authority over the police department and ancillary services, including the fire department. Ness was unsuccessful in the investigation, and despite his history of the capture of Al Capone, Ness's career as a detective ended four years after the murders stopped because of a hit and run accident he was involved in that had nothing to do with these murders.
No? I'll keep working at it.

EVEN LATER: I love WIkipedia. Someone already polished my prose and removed the last bit about the hit-and-run accident ... which is fine by me, the accident is irrelevant. Trying to suggest these murders are what ended Ness' career is also a fun party game.

3 comments:

  1. Fascinating to find this today, courtesy of this Facebook page. Do you think that this would have been from a similar era to this other example of political signs painted on walls?

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  2. No, I do not, though I truly enjoyed reading your FB page. A wall sign against Prohibition would have only been relevant during Prohibition (1920 - 1933). The Eliot Ness sign is from his unsuccessful campaign to be Cleveland's mayor (1947).

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    1. Thanks for the clarification, my Facebook page is actually this one.

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