Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Assassination of Richard Nixon (with ricin?)

I hope its clear to everyone by now that just because you are a 45 year old, white male gun-owning Elvis tribute artist from Mississippi with a history of assault who is concerned about the illegal human organ harvesting that may or may not be going on at the local hospital doesn't mean that you cooked up a batch of ricin in your kitchen and mailed it to the President, a U.S. senator, and a judge.

The real culprit was actually the guy with whom the Elvis tribute artist has been feuding these past few years.

Excerpts from the Wall Street Journal:

A martial-arts instructor and former political candidate is scheduled to appear before a federal judge Monday after he was arrested this weekend on charges that he mailed ricin-laced letters to government officials, including President Barack Obama.

J. Everett Dutschke, 41 years old, of Tupelo, Miss., was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents early Saturday, four days after another Mississippi man initially charged with sending the letters, Paul Kevin Curtis, was released. Evidence and testimony in federal court following Mr. Curtis's arrest led investigators to focus instead on Mr. Dutschke. The two men had quarreled for years, according to court testimony.

On April 17, FBI agents arrested 45-year-old Mr. Curtis, of Corinth, Miss., in connection with the letters. Sections of the letters contained phrases that Mr. Curtis had used in some posts online, and the letters were postmarked from Memphis, which handles mail from some northern Mississippi counties. Mr. Curtis, however, said he was innocent and told investigators that he believed he could have been set up by enemies, possibly Mr. Dutschke.


According to court testimony and Jack Curtis, Mr. Dutschke has been in a feud, mostly online, with Mr. Curtis for at least several years, over a range of subjects—from their musical talents to membership in Mensa, a group for highly intelligent individuals. Lawyers for Mr. Curtis, who makes a living impersonating Elvis Presley at parties and other events, indicated in the court testimony they believe Mr. Dutschke framed their client.

The pair first met in 2006 or 2007 at a Tupelo restaurant called Barnhill's Buffet, according to Jack Curtis. Through an intermediary, Mr. Dutschke had earlier promised Kevin Curtis that he would use a newsletter that he ran to publish allegations by Kevin Curtis about what he saw as a scheme by a northern Mississippi medical center to traffic in human body parts and organs, according to Jack Curtis and court testimony.

At the lunch, Mr. Dutschke told Kevin Curtis that he couldn't publish the story because he was running for political office and couldn't afford antagonizing the hospital, according to Jack Curtis, who was at the lunch. "So you are not the person you pretend to be," replied Kevin Curtis, according to Jack Curtis. At the time, Mr. Dutschke was an insurance agent working for Jack Curtis. Kevin Curtis was working in a call center connected to Jack Curtis's business, generating client leads, according to Jack Curtis.

The incident set off a feud between the pair that escalated over the next several years, according to court testimony and Jack Curtis. On several occasions, Mr. Dutschke called venues where Mr. Curtis was scheduled to perform and spoke negatively about him to try to prompt the shows to be canceled, according to Jack Curtis. Besides Elvis, Kevin Curtis impersonates Randy Travis and other performers.

Mr. Dutschke ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the state House of Representatives in 2007. The Democratic incumbent whom he challenged was the son of the judge who received a ricin-laced letter. Mr. Dutschke stopped working for Jack Curtis in early 2008. Mr. Dutschke most recently owned a martial-arts studio, Tupelo Taekwondo Plus.

In a separate case, Mr. Dutschke was arrested in January on state child-molestation charges involving three girls under the age of 16. Those cases are pending. His attorney said he had pleaded not guilty. The taekwondo studio closed after the arrest.

A Twitter account under Mr. Dutschke's name, which appears to have been inactive for several years, described Mr. Dutschke as "A Philosopher trapped in the body of an Insurance Agent."

 End Excerpts

These two gentlemen are representative of something (I don't know what) about contemporary America. In their 40s, no wives, no children, no careers. A series of hopeless jobs: insurance agent, call center employee, martial arts instructor, rock musician, Elvis tribute artist, Republican candidate for Congress. A desperate claim to status through paid membership in Mensa.

They remind me of the bleak tale of Sam Byck, who in 1974 tried to hijack an airliner in order to crash it into the White House. (Your life probably didn't go so well if Sean Penn ends up playing you in the movie.)

To get the full flavor of the orignal, now cleared, suspect, check this out (sorry for the link to a Glenn Beck-associated website, but they do "sensational" well).

It might be my imagination, but after the first suspect was arrested, press reports always referred to him as an "Elvis impersonator." Now that he has been cleared, he seems more likely to be called an "Elvis tribute artist."

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