[See also, at WEJB/NSU: “The Original New York Times Story on the Kitty Genovese Murder-Rape.”]
By Nicholas Stix
Millions of people have heard the story of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese, the young woman who was murdered and raped at night in Queens, New York almost 50 years ago, while 38 neighbors looked on, and did nothing. The story has been told and re-told by the New York Times, at least one TV movie, thousands of alleged journalists and academics, including renowned social scientists, and millions of ordinary people. A scientific theory has even been propounded to explain the failure of Genovese’s neighbors to come to her aid, known variously as “the Bystander Effect” and “Genovese Syndrome.”
The lede to Martin Gansberg’s famous March 27, 1964 New York Times article ran,
For more than half an hour 38 respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens.For better or worse, the story is false. Unfortunately, the part about Kitty Genovese being stalked, murdered, and raped is all too true. However, before Genovese’s body was cold, at least two journalists and as many cops began figuratively desecrating her corpse.
The good news is that Genovese’s neighbors were not the callous, apathetic people that New York Times writer Martin Gansberg and his editor, Abe Rosenthal, depicted them to be. The bad news is that New York has labored under this mark of Cain for almost 50 years, the lie is still being retold, and is being applied to ever more incidents.
The truth is that in the wee hours of March 13, 1964, on the coldest night of the year, black serial killer-rapist-necrophiliac Winston Moseley, 29, decided to go out and murder and rape—in that order—a woman. (He confessed to this both to police, and on the witness stand, during his trial.)
At about 3:20 a.m., he saw Kitty Genovese, 28, who was coming from closing down the bar she managed, get out of and lock her car in a lot near her apartment building.
Moseley chased down Genovese, and stabbed her two-to-four times in the back with a hunting knife, causing her to cry out. A neighbor heard her, but did not see the knife, opened his window and shouted at Moseley, and the latter ran off.
Unfortunately, Moseley had punctured Genovese’s lungs, gravely wounding her. Thus, she could no longer scream, and while she bravely staggered to the entrance at the back of the building she lived in (the front had storefronts), she lacked the strength to make it to her apartment, collapsing in the foyer. Moseley came back and hunted her down, stabbed her some more times, and raped her. Rather than bleeding to death, Genovese died from asphyxiation, due to the damage to her lungs.
All of the neighbors had been sleeping, with their windows tightly shut against the cold. Genovese’s initial cry awoke them, and six or seven—not 38—looked outside, to see Moseley running away, and Genovese staggering away. Most of the witnesses were only “earwitnesses,” and no witness was sure of what he had seen or heard. Many figured it was either a lover’s spat, or a couple of drunks from the local bar. Since the problem seemed to be over with, they went back to bed. None of them could see or hear Moseley’s second attack.
Martin Gansberg’s story proved to have so little connection to reality that he must have had the imaginative powers of a novelist, and/or was aided and abetted by a police detective with novelistic talent and contempt for facts.
Over lunch, New York City Police Commissioner Michael J. Murphy had passed a tip (based on a faulty police report) about the murder to the Times’ new metropolitan editor, A.M. “Abe” Rosenthal. Rosenthal passed it on to Gansberg, who was a copy editor, and then edited Gansberg’s story.
Thirty years later, Rosenthal lied yet again, in denying that Gansberg had said what he said.
Abe Rosenthal, the Times editor for the story, denied in front of a March 9, 2004 Fordham University forum that the case was ever about thirty-eight eye witnesses.Rosenthal even made a killing, writing a book about the murder: 38 Witnesses.
“I never said, nor did anybody on The New York Times, or any reporter with a brain, say there were thirty-eight peering out of a window.”
Thanks to researchers like historians Joseph De May and Jim Rasenberger, those interested in the truth can learn that the official story about Kitty Genovese is a hoax. DeMay first exposed the hoax, but the links to his articles at the Old Kew Gardens Web site are dead. However, a long interview with De May is published here.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Where do you think the number 38 came from?Note that DeMay and Rasenberger are not academics, so professors of history, who fancy themselves to be “real” historians, and who continue promoting the Kitty Genovese Hoax, would deny them the title of “historians.” Similarly, back in 2000, when historian Clayton Cramer proved that celebrated, tenured Emory University “historian” Michael Bellesiles, author of the new, Bancroft Award-winning work, Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture , was a fraud, the biggest history professors scoffed, and closed ranks around their comrade. After all, Cramer was a mere civilian, so what could he know? And on top of that, he was a “gun nut”! You know, one of those awful people who support the Second Amendment? (In order to support a contemporary policy of radical gun confiscation and the virtual elimination of the Second Amendment, Bellesiles had written a completely fake history claiming that, contrary to popular belief, Americans in the early Republic owned few guns, and that what guns they had mostly been issued by the government.) Why, everyone knows that they have no credibility. But Cramer proved to be was the real historian, and Bellesiles the phony, and even tenured Marxist “historians” were eventually forced to revoke the fraud’s award.
JOSEPH DE MAY: No one knows. All I can tell you is that there’s a man named Charles Skoller, and he was the assistant prosecutor. He helped prosecute Winston Moseley. And he said he doesn't know where the 38 witness number came from. He said that the District Attorney’s Office found only maybe five or six people who saw anything that they could use, and of the people he identified, there are only really two that I know of who actually saw any part of the physical attack.
In 2003 Cramer wrote,
Not just because of the Bellesiles scandal, but other examples that are coming to light as I write these words, make me suspect that the days of trusting historians to tell the truth, are, or should be, over.Unfortunately, little headway has been made, regarding the Kitty Genovese Hoax.
Just as the myth once served the purposes of Martin Gansberg and Abe Rosenthal, it now serves other political parties, including militant homosexualists.
A pompous, borderline illiterate calling himself “Dr. W.D. Wilkerson” posted the following comment at the blog, Ace of Spades HQ:
7Clearly, there’s something in it for “Dr. W.D. Wilkerson,” who is not at all interested in the truth, a word which he writes within scare quotes.
I've taught the Kitty Genovese casse in my classes for some time now, specifically the NYT article you mentioned.I have issues with the "debunking" that is going on here. First, the New York Times story does discuss that one neighbor called for help. He told the operator he was making an anonymous call to inform the police that a crime was taking place in his apartment's courtyard. Second, the prosecution has only 6 witnesses that they could "use." Which means that among the witnesses, only 6 were willing and able to testify about what they saw. At least a dozen other people were interviewed by the police, by the DA's office, by the NYT. They wre overwhemingly ashamed of themselves and couldn't bring themselves to testify largely for that reason.
So you find it difficult to believe that 38 people could witness such a violent crime in one way or another and bot do anything about it? As it turns out, they mey have had a particularly hateful motivation for doing so. This case suggests apathy by hate crime. She was a lesbian who lived in the Apartments with her girlfriend, Mary Ann Zielonko--who was away at the time of the murder. She talked withNPR about the case in 2004.The neighbors' apathy had less to do with a bystander effect and more to do with self-righteous moralizing. This attitude is evident in the comment of one couple who were interviewed about the case saying, "We thought it was a lover's spat."
It really bothers me thatyou are working so hard to debunk this "myth." What's in it for you? And how much of the "truth" are you really interested in finding out? Your objections to the case areprimarilya reactionary contention spurred by some semse of moral outrage over what you think has been left out of accounts of the story. You aren't actually applyting critical thinking in reconstructing the "truth" about what happened.
Posted by: Dr. W.D. Wilkerson at May 14, 2011 10:22 AM (6wUpV)
Note that “critical thinking” is an Orwellian notion much beloved by academics, which means the opposite of what it suggests: Rather than carefully scrutinizing facts and logic, one is to ignore both, and jump to the proper, politically correct conclusion.
The neighbors who saw Moseley’s first attack, saw a man molesting a woman. That is why they “thought it was a lover’s spat.” It is highly unlikely that people who could not see Moseley stab his victim could see who the victim was, except that the petite shape they saw was that of a woman.
“This case suggests apathy by hate crime.”
Correct me if I’m wrong here, but Wilkerson is apparently asserting—he doesn’t argue anything—that Genovese’s neighbors were guilty of a hate crime. Not Winston Moseley, but the people who, half asleep, heard a cry in the night, and then, bleary-eyed, saw a man run away from a woman.
Chalk that up as Exhibit #17,894,371, as to the evil of the homosexualist lobby.
As my VDARE editor James Fulford observed,
Everyone one has heard about the Kitty Genovese murder, and most of what you've heard about neighbors ignoring her screams is wrong. What you haven't heard about the Kitty Genovese murder is that her killer, Winston Mosely, is black. ( A TV movie based on the Kitty Genovese murder portrayed her killer as white.) You can say “Kitty Genovese was killed when her neighbors ignored her screams…” but you can’t say “Kitty Genovese was killed by a black man…” it’s just not allowed.So, you’re allowed to lie about the Kitty Genovese murder, but telling the truth is a firing offense. And it is no accident that the people who continue to be falsely blamed were all white, while the killer, whose identity is either suppressed or falsified, is black.
Kathy Shaidle has called Kitty Genovese “the global warming of urban crime.”
I found the story, as published by the Times in 1964, posted at a Web page of Sherri Craig, an English instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University. Craig, who uses Gansberg’s fraudulent story as a teaching tool, writes,
The above reported events are true and took place on March 14, 1964.You can’t debate the “causes” of a phenomenon that is a hoax, unless it is to debate the motivations of the journalists, social scientists, and teachers who created and promoted the Kitty Genovese Hoax.
The brutal murder of Kitty Genovese and the
disturbing lack of action by her neighbors
became emblematic in what many perceived as an
evolving culture of violence and apathy in the
United States. In fact, social scientists
still debate the causes of what is now known
as "the Genovese Syndrome."
There are real situations like the fictional one at the heart of the Kitty Genovese hoax, but discussing them requires studying all sorts of factors—e.g., race, ethnicity—that one is not permitted within the MSM, academia, the schools, or polite society to honestly examine today. I’ll have to discuss them another time.
[A tip ‘o the pen to Kathy Shaidle.]