A Fever in the Heart and Other True Cases by Ann Rule
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ann Rule's books are always good and this was no exception. This is a series of stories loosely grouped around themes. The first story about Morris Blankenbaker is the saddest. A fine young man was killed and so many lives torn apart because of the basest kind of betrayal. All the people involved seem to have led charmed lives and yet that wasn't enough for two of them. When I read about something like this, I remember some of my earlier training in a small Catholic school. The nuns tried to instill in us the knowledge that big evil deeds and evil people hardly ever start out that way. In the beginning, people are usually just bending the rules. They know what they do is wrong, but they do it anyway. Little by little, they lose the ability to see how far they have gone. We were told to not give into temptation over the little things and our characters would be strong enough to withstand the large things that we really wanted to do. This story is such a sad example of this. None of this needed to happen if two people had been satisfied with what they had and not thrown it away for something fleeting and inferior.
The last story, "Mirror Images", especially interested me because I worked in Juvenile Corrections. I was on a team which decided where to place the boys who were "sent away." I read the files of so many boys like the ones mentioned. One of the files I read was on Charles Manson and it was eerily like the file of James Ruzika. In so many cases, the boys were raised in single parent homes with mothers who have a series of relationships and children with multiple fathers. The start with a predictable pattern of theft, school problems, truancy and violence. In many cases, the boys are abused by their mother's partners and they are set up for deviant sexual behavior. Over time, we saw that many of the boys who came to us were becoming more and more emotionally disturbed. This was in the 70's and 80's. I can only guess at what it is like now. I'm afraid that cases like Ruzika and Harp are the tip of the iceberg.
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