Friday, August 05, 1977

About New York: A .44-Caliber Cloud of Fear

It takes no very deep probing to pry expressions of fear and pessimism from New Yorkers. Even in the happiest of times and the best of circumstances, caution is a way of life. Even a haphazard meeting of the eyes on a street is avoided lest some latent hostility should explode.

Small wonder, then, that the .44-caliber killer, with his shocking and mysterious mayhem, had riveted public attention with his latest atrocity and heightened the perceptions of a people already disposed to expect the worst.

The murder in Brooklyn of Stacy Moskowitz and and the wounding of Robert Violante have preoccupied the minds and conversations of many New Yorkers to a degree that the previous seven attacks did not. It has become a staple of conversation particularly among women, in neighborhoods far from the scene of the crime.

Why has the Brooklyn murder of the blonde-haired young woman and the wounding of her escort provoked such deeply felt reaction? There is perhaps no one certain answer, but there are a number of indications. “After the two were shot in Bayside we were bombarded with brown-haired women who wanted haircuts. Now I’m waiting for blondes to call. This was not a Christian girl, and you don’t have to have long dark hair to get shot.”

Excerpt from Richard Shepard Aug 5, 1977 New York Times