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Terrible: DC Sniper boasts of post-shoot sex with complicity in New Doc
VicefexpIn I, Sniper, Lee Boyd Malvo speaks at length about the 2002 reign of terror that he and his partner John Allen Muhammad carried out in the Washington, DC area, which killed ten people. Despite the use of audio clips from his phone calls as a narrative, Vice’s eight-part documentaries (premiering May 10) are particularly noteworthy as they focus on the couple’s innocent victims and the myriad friends, family and loved ones they deal with must become unthinkable tragedy. To his admirable credit, it is a true crime affair that seeks to understand its “monsters” while realizing – and emphasizing – the fact that such understanding does not require empathy, especially when the atrocities in question are so inexcusably heinous. Under the direction of director Ursula Macfarlane I, Sniper’s calling card is the phone calls to Malvo from the Red Onion State Prison in Virginia, where he is currently serving several life sentences. In them, the killer recounts in precise and terrifying detail both the sniper attacks he committed when he was 17 and the troubled upbringing in Jamaica that put him in the welcoming arms of Muhammad, a Gulf War veteran with an excess of anger and that Desire to unleash it in its homeland. Malvo was abandoned by his father, abused by his mother and finally left on his own. In Muhammad he found a father figure who promised to love him as he did to his own biological offspring. From the start, however, their bond was built on exploitation, and Muhammad became not only Malvo’s surrogate parent, but his lover – as well as his mentor – pouring all of his long-smoldering hatred and resentment into the impressive, desperate The Tragic End of Wrestling’s First Big One “Madman” Muhammad had many problems – he despised the military, the whites, and almost every American institutional structure. However, he reserved his greatest hostility to the second ex-wife Mildred, who dared to take her children back after Muhammad kidnapped them. The loss of his (kidnapped) brood seems to have been the proverbial match that ignited Muhammad’s murderous spark, and he soon began to mold Malvo into his instrument of destruction. Friends and relatives suspected something was wrong with their relationship, but no one suspected what was coming: the cold-blooded murder of Keenya Cook, the niece of Mildred’s boyfriend in Tacoma, Washington, followed by violent robberies, shootings, and murders in Arizona, Louisiana , Alabama and Georgia. All of these first acts were but a test run of Malvo and Muhammad’s grand scheme in Washington, DC, the epicenter of American power, and thus Muhammad’s preferred place to bring fear to the heart of the Republic by proving that everyone was vulnerable – even children. What it turned out was a 22-day nightmare in which 13 people (white and black, young and old, wealthy and working class) were shot dead in DC, Maryland and Virginia, 10 of them fatal. With Malvo and Muhammad intent on increasingly escalating terrorism, each victim was randomly selected at gas stations, street corners and parking lots, which provided the killers with ideal vantage points and easy escape routes. They committed these crimes in a bespoke blue 1990 Chevy Caprice with Malvo lying in the trunk and firing through the rear keyhole. It was a secret conspiracy, and the two benefited from the fact that an early eyewitness said they saw a white box van near the scene, which sent the police on a wild goose hunt for most of the next three weeks wrong vehicle. With no other ballistic evidence, law enforcement was hampered, proving to Malvo that Mohammed was right: no one could stop them from taking revenge. The question, of course, is revenge against what? I, Sniper, connect the dots of Malvo and Muhammad’s troubled past and despicable gifts from 2002, but no convincing argument is made that Muhammad – the mastermind behind this madness – suffered losses that were not caused by himself. Be it his unhindered military tenure, his marital madness, or his transformation from Malvo into an assassin, Muhammad comes across as a man who is genuinely angry at things for which he was to blame. As for Malvo, his cold, clinical recitation of his murderous behavior (and claims of repentance) neutralizes any suffering one might feel for his adolescent troubles. His behavior today is far too little, too late, just as the case he is making for his own sacrifice to Muhammad sounds like an accurate yet inadequate explanation. He knew it was terribly wrong to shoot men, women, and children down, and yet he actively and enthusiastically chose to keep Muhammad’s affection going – and even got an exciting kick when he declared the shooting after sex with Muhammad was exceptionally exciting and delivered a high”. Malvo and Muhammad’s “retribution and punishment” rampage was unforgivable; Charles A. Moose, Montgomery County police chief, said, “There is simply no excuse for your behavior. None at all. “To clarify this point, I, Sniper, juxtapose Malvo’s memories with lengthy, heartbreaking interviews with the wives, brothers, aunts, and friends of the duo’s victims, as well as some of those who survived their encounters. These reports turn out to be extremely important and provide an accurate and personal insight into the agony and trauma that Malvo and Muhammad caused and the permanent scars that this ordeal left. They are the human face of this terrible story, full of sadness, regret , Feelings of guilt and anger over senseless crimes that robbed them of loved ones who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. 911 calls, Malvo-authored illustrations, maps and chats with patrol officers, detectives, reporters and doctors. Me, sniper, am comprehensive enough to get the description “final.” But more than his insight into the mind of his boy n subject – and, more broadly, Muhammad who was executed by lethal injection in 2009 – it differs from much of the true crime package by its stubborn refusal to forget the real, incalculable horror at the center of its story. Malvo is often heard but never seen, while the facial features of his and Muhammad’s victims (and those who are close to them) take center stage throughout. This directorial decision is critical and commendable, allowing the series to pay due tribute to those who deserve to be remembered, while its central villain remains largely faceless in the dark and out of sight where he wishes to live and kill with his killer Mentor, and where he will be now for the rest of his days. Read more at The Daily Beast. Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.