Every crime committed by an individual should never be studied, but rather learnt from, and somehow prevent it in the future. Despite talking about it non-stop, it’s not that easy to do. William Edward Hickman back in 1927 committed a crime that a sane mind can hardly comprehend. And how could one, if an innocent little girl was killed and the body was dismembered shortly after? Despite the gruesome crime, William Hickman says something very interesting, that I guess we all should have paid attention back then. Yes, he was the first celebrity murderer. The fame he gained within a short amount of time was impressive. Thanks to the media.
However, before getting ready to say the final goodbye to his life prior to his execution, Hickman says: “I want no young man to study my crimes. My life has been deplorable. I think…”, and that is a very important part, my dear reader, to read carefully what he says next, “… the publicity given to crooks and crimes has a bad influence. It should be given to men and women of high purpose who deserve it.” The man who delivers the above line was intelligent. His language ability, English and the way he was expressing himself any influential journalist nowadays could have been jealous of. But somehow, instead of using that intelligence, he turns it against himself and the innocent victim, the book NOT JUST EVIL by David Wilson is about.
Murder. Hollywood and California’s First Insanity Plea is what you will find on the cover of David Wilson’s one of the most powerfully written book. It is, you should know in advanced, very catchy, intriguing, educational and informative which gives a look at the world where the influence of the movie even in the beginning of the 20th century was so strong that it inspired Hickman to come up with the perfect murder plan, but not too perfect though. Yes, the world since then after you read the first ten pages, you will see, has not changed much. Corruption in the police and the justice system remains as it is. Whether Hickman was sane or not was another story…
But the District Attorney Asa Keyes has an absolutely different plan, not only to hang a man that the crowd will appreciate, but perhaps to get some extra money or even the opportunity to be re-elected in the next election. In the meantime, as you read the book, and believe me, you will read it in one breath, you find out that William Edward Hickman was a young man obsessed with movies. With stolen or earned money he would purchase movie tickets to spend his entire day in a world he would want to be the part of. Maybe watching one of his favorite films, which one the book however never reveals, Hickman because of the greed or revenge kidnaps Marion Parker, and soon kills her.
You, with the help of a real transcript, get a chilling feeing of almost participating at the most infamous trial where Hollywood was forced to defend itself in order to distinguish the real truth of the influence of movies on the mind of people, whose reality is nothing more than the realm of the world created in their own mind. The look at the trial, and the real materials provided in the book leaves no gap for doubt. It cleverly draws the line between yesterday and today and how far we did not go at all. As you read the book, you get a chance to go through the cross-examining of Asa Keyes and Hickman’s lawyer who tries to save his client from death sentence by an insanity plea.
But what’s most terrifying feeling that you will experience throughout, is the way Hickman describes the murder he commits or the way he explains why. Trust me, it is something that will make you sick to your stomach, but even that won’t stop you or make you put David Wilson’s book away. In the end, there are many things you can take away from NOT JUST EVIL. One of them is to have a complete agreement tha the society we live in is corrupted. The media that we have cannot be trusted. The media that many of us love gives priority to those who deserves less attention. Computer games and the violent movies do an excellent job in recruiting a sickening mind for future use.
Yes, the influence of TV and everything we see in it is strong. But as soon as we know what is right and what is wrong, we can heal the society. William Edward Hickman, if you remember what he said before his execution, was right in one thing… he was able to predict something our predecessors could not. Media does spend enough time on someone who should not have an attention at all. But does it mean that by knowing it now we will benefit from it? But if we could not do it back in 1927, what is the chance that we can do now? So take the book, sit in front of the fireplace. Have a hot tea. And begin reading Not Just Evil. Because I know, after you finish it, you will ask the same questions… and if you do… that means, it is not late at all….