February 14 is a day of many emotions and not just love. Valentine’s Day is a point of contention for many. In reality, it’s just another day that really doesn’t mean much of anything. Unless you just so happened to be a victim of the infamous Valentine’s Massacre in 1929.
Chicago, 1929. Prohibition was in full swing and the mafia ruled. Honestly, the 1920s looked super fun. Would Rsvp “yes” to a 1920s party. At 10:30 a.m. on Valentine’s Day 1929, seven men were murdered in a shootout at a warehouse on Clark Street in Chicago. Five of the men killed were members of the Chicago North Side Gang led by Bugs Moran. The murders were planned by none other than Al Capone, which is something you probably already knew. Side note: 10:30 in the morning seems early for a planned gun battle/massacre. Murdering a bunch of rival gang members seems more like a nighttime activity.
The initial plan was to lure Bugs Moran to the warehouse with a promise of a cut of illegal whiskey that had been shipped in from Detroit and kill him in order for Capone’s gang to gain more control over Chicago’s illegal liquor operations. Also, an associate of Moran’s had murdered members of Capone’s gang in 1924, Pasqualino “Patsy” Lolordo and Antonio “The Scourge” Lombardo. Side note 2: those are the best names EVER. These gangsters with their fighting and trendy names are total petty drama queens.
Once members of the North Side Gang arrived at the warehouse, some of Capone’s men were there dressed as police. Moran, who was supposed to already be at the warehouse, was running late that day. When he saw police going into the warehouse, he waited outside. The police were actually Capone’s men and were inside murdering his men.
Capone’s crew was successful in taking down so many of Moran’s men that Capone’s gang took complete control of the Chicago operations (or racket if you want to go full old-school gangster).
No one was ever brought to trial or charged with the murders. Both Capone and Moran blamed each other for the murders. Capone denied that he was personally involved that even claimed he was at his home in Florida the day of the murders.
Like most of the mafia crimes of yesteryear, this was one never officially solved. This was mainly because of police corruption and payoffs to public officials, which never happen today *wink, wink*.
Fun fact: Al Capone was actually arrested for tax evasion and went insane from syphilis.
On that note…
It is one of my personal goals to watch as many true crime/weird/creepy documentaries as possible. While on my way to reaching my documentary and chill goal, I came across this one.
This case isn’t exactly a murder in the first-degree sense, even though charges were going to be filed, I still thought it belonged here.
Regardless of what was originally concluded, others might feel that this case is justified as a murder based on the circumstances alone. The HBO documentary, There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane, tells the story of the 2009 Taconic State Parkway crash and Diane Schuler the woman behind the wheel who was responsible for the death of eight people, including Schuler herself, her two-year-old daughter, her nieces, ages eight, seven, and five, a father and his son, and their friend.
As someone who writes a blog with the word murder in it, I have watched, read, and written about a lot of horrifying things. The majority of them fail to bother me, except this one.
Aunt Diane is one of the most polarizing documentaries in recent years and is constantly listed as a “must see” and “disturbing”. The documentary rightfully belongs on both those lists, while it does contain graphic content, including photos of the horrific accident, the most disturbing part of the story is what happened after the crash.
The crash soon became national news. Sadly, what should have been just another highway collision statistic became a case of denial and debate over toxicology reports.
On Sunday, July 26, 2009, around 9:30 a.m. Diane Schuler left a campground in Parksville, New York driving a minivan registered to her brother, Warren Hance. Her husband, Daniel Schuler left the campground several hours later in a pickup truck. The families had been on a camping trip for the weekend.
Four hours later, everyone in the minivan would be dead, except the Schuler’s five-year-old son, Bryan who survived with brain damage.
Diane stopped at a McDonald’s and a gas station before the crash. Video surveillance from the gas station shows that Diane went inside. The clerk working that day stated that she asked for some OTC pain reliever. In the weeks leading up to her death, Diane had been suffering from a toothache. She left the gas station purchasing nothing. Witnesses later came forward and reported seeing Diane pulled over on the side on the side of the road, bent over as if she were vomiting. She was soon seen driving erratically.
Around 1:00, Schuler’s niece called her father and told him “there’s something wrong with Aunt Diane.” She told her father that Diane was having trouble seeing. Thirty minutes later, the crash occurred after Diane had been driving in the wrong direction on the road for 1.7 miles.
Police found an empty bottle of vodka in the wreck. Common sense says clearly Schuler had been drinking and driving. This is where the controversy comes in. If you don’t know the story, you are probably wondering what the hell is going on and what direction this is going in.
Autopsy and toxicology reports showed that Schuler had a blood alcohol content over twice the legal limit in New York, including 6 grams of alcohol in her stomach that had yet to be digested. She also had high levels of TCH in her system. The high levels of TCH showed that she had used marijuana as recently as 15 minutes before the crash.
During the documentary, the story is told in such a way which presents these findings as a shock to the viewer. Then, the proverbial bomb is dropped-both Diane’s husband and her sister-in-law admit that Diane did both drink and occasionally use marijuana. This was after they both denied and refused to believe that the autopsy and toxicology results were correct. Daniel Schuler claimed that Diane had either suffered a stroke, an aneurysm, heart attack, or another medical emergency. He even raised money on several occasions to have Diane’s tissue samples re-tested. Every lab came back with the same results.
This case suddenly went from a drunk driving accident to a clear case of heavy denial in which the surviving members of the Schuler family keep making themselves look like jerks for denying that one of their own had a problem and refusing to believe what has been in front of them for almost ten years. Their insistence to prove everyone else wrong and keep bringing up the case has been painful for the surviving family members of the others killed in the crash. This is the part that bothers me. Denial and blind ignorance can be just as harmful as a gun.
Aunt Diane is a good documentary and well made, but it doesn’t do the Schuler family any favors. Instead of painting a sympathetic portrait of a family tragedy and its aftermath, it accomplishes the exact opposite. It is by far the most frustrating and irritating documentary on any streaming channel. If you can think of another one, let me know.
Regardless of the controversy surrounding this story, the documentary is worth a watch. You can find it on HBO Go and
I apologize for the lack of posts lately. I have been working on a freelance job as well as finishing up 2 books. Writing is like, so hard.
Note: The following post is in no way meant to victim blame. This is just presenting facts.
In our PC laden culture, victimology can be a somewhat controversial topic as it can come across as victim blaming (see note above). However, the study and theories of victimology are extremely important in apprehending criminals.
Victimology is simply the study of victims in the criminal justice system and the connection between victims and perpetrators. This is a pretty basic, self-explanatory topic although it sounds much more complicated.
For example, Ted Bundy’s victims were college-aged girls often with long, brunette hair. Specific details about victims are used to create a victim profile which helps law enforcement track crimes. For a fictional example, take Dexter who’s victims are criminals and generally all around bad people.
This is a rather heavy topic and isn’t as fun as teenagers who think they are vampires and murder a bunch of people in Florida (where else would they do it?). Here’s a Dexter meme to lighten the mood.
Victimology comes with various sets of theories based upon the lifestyle and environments of potential victims. For example, drug users, sex workers, abuse victims, and individuals fitting into a criminal’s M.O. are all considered in victimology theories. The study of victimology also explores how perpetrators lure and groom victims based on these theories.
The study of victimology has led to the rise of the victims’ rights movement, which was nonexistent until the 1970s with the beginning of the Victims’ Rights Movement. In 2004, the Crime Victims’ Rights Act was passed ensuring victims of protection, restitution, etc.
Freakin’ 2004! Seriously, it shouldn’t surprise anyone it took so long to get something so basic and obvious into law. The Victims’ Rights Movement has been very successful in passing legislation to help victims and future generations.
Owning something collected from a crime scene or that was once owned by a famous murderer is the ultimate way to:
1. Keep your family and neighborhood children away from your house
2. Creep out your friends
3. Not get a second date
OR maybe find cool friends and the love of your life. Dean Martin was wrong, you are somebody when someone doesn’t love you, even if you have Ted Bundy’s Christmas card on your fridge.
Murderabilia is exactly what it sounds like- memorabilia collected from crime scenes and from the homes of murderers, personal effects, and artwork.
By far the famous pieces of murderabilia are the notorious Pogo the Clown paintings by everyone’s favorite KFC lovin’ serial killer, John Wayne Gacy.
Murderabilia is taking both true crime and trash vs. treasure to the extreme. While legal, the buying and selling of these items go hand in hand with the Son of Sam Law, which prohibits criminals from profiting from their crimes such as selling stories to journalists and publishers.
Instead, these macabre collectibles are sold through dealer sites. eBay banned the sale of such items in 2001. The concept alone sounds like something only the most depraved can access via the dark web. Surprisingly (or not), a Google search will lead the curious to these sites. eBay banned the sale of such items in 2001. The concept alone sounds like something only the most depraved can access via the dark web. Surprisingly (or not), a Google search will lead the curious to these sites.
To collectors, murderabilia is owning a piece of history. While collecting these oddities borders on illicit and would raise some eyebrows in conversation, the sale of these items isn’t about making money for the sellers. Many of these sites will donate to victims and their families.
The concept is interesting and intriguing. However, as someone who runs a true crime blog, collecting these items is taking it too far and borders on serial/mass murder glorification and sympathizing (more on that later). These items belong in a museum, not in the creepiest living room display case of all time.
You’re probably better off still hoarding Beanie Babies.