Till Death Do Us Part
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 97 17:04:52 -0800
Subject: Till Death Do Us Part
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Forwarded-by: "Keith E. Sullivan" <KSullivan@worldnet.att.net>
HUSBANDS & WIVES
"In the old days husbands and wives murdered each other. Now they have
hit men to do it for them. This is surely the final disgrace of a
society corrupted by its own riches."
-- Russell Baker in his New York Times Column,
"After the Magic Dies," 8 July 1997
A WHACKY AFFAIR
By Tony Kornheiser, The Washington Post, Sunday, June 15, 1997
By now you're all familiar with Ruthann "Annie Knuckles" Aron, right?
She's the Montgomery County politician who is accused of trying to hire a
hit man to kill her husband and a lawyer. As the investigation continued,
the police found what they think was a hit list, which contained the name
of another lawyer. That makes two lawyers, and I think everyone knows what
you call two dead lawyers: a start.
Obviously, it isn't every day that a wife tries to arrange to have her
husband killed -- and I know I speak for many men out there when I say:
Whew. Because most men would hate to think they'd worked so hard to install
the automatic garage door Genie, and this was their reward.
Nor is it every day that the accused wife is a former candidate for the U.S.
Senate. I guess we should have sensed something was amiss when Ruthann made
her campaign slogan: "A Vote for Ruthann Is a Vote to Rub Out Her Husband."
First, Lorena Bobbitt. Now this. It's enough to make the average man lock
himself in the bathroom for the rest of time. (Except, of course, if he
has teenage daughters. Then he can't actually get into the bathroom, so
he'll have to drive to a gas station and lock himself in one of its
There must be some wild, untapped rage in women out there -- unless all
those years of going to planning board meetings drove Ruthann over the edge.
Have you ever been to a planning board meeting? They drone on forever about
variances and easements and rights of way. They make a convention of
certified public accountants seem like a cockfight.
I feel sorry for Ruthann's husband, Barry, though my sympathy is tempered
a teeny bit by knowledge that Barry is a urologist. As a middle-aged man,
I am intimately acquainted with urologists and the fine work they do
administering prostate exams.
Hey, Barry, how does it feel being on the receiving end for a change?
Apparently, Barry had no sense that his wife's ardor might have cooled to
the point where he was about to be iced. This despite the fact -- according
to published reports -- that Ruthann kept a stash of guns at home, including
an assault rifle with a laser sight and flash suppressor. Supposedly, she
also sometimes walked around the house wearing a gun, like Bat Masterson.
That, to me, is a clue that perhaps Ruthann had something other than l'amour
on her mind. If this were a movie -- and surely Joe Pesci would be in there
somewhere -- at that point someone would be paging, "Barry Aron, please pick
up the white courtesy phone. Will Barry Aron please pick up the white
Me, I would have started to wonder. I would have started sleeping with a
heater under my pillow. Better yet, a bazooka.
The notion of hiring a hit man is fascinating. I mean, where does the
average 54-year-old Republican politician look for a hit man? How many can
there be at the country club? It's not like you're driving around the
Beltway and you see someone holding up a sign: "Will Kill for Food."
The police say Ruthann offered to pay $20,000 to do in her husband and this
lawyer who represented folks who sued Ruthann. That's $10,000 a hit.
That's nothing. I've been to school auctions in Montgomery County where
people pony up more than that for a gourmet fall foliage weekend in Vermont.
You can't get a good hit man for that little, can you? Wouldn't you end up
with those guys from "Fargo"?
Did you get a load of the books the prosecutor says police found in
One is titled "How to Make a Disposable Silencer." Another: "The Hayduke
Silencer Book: Quick and Dirty Homemade Silencers."
Don't get me wrong, I like a gal who's handy, who can sew on a button, or
change the oil in the car, or even re-shingle the roof. A woman with a tool
belt is sexy. But this is ridiculous. How would you feel if you were
leafing through your wife's cookbooks and you came upon "How to Build a
Scaffold for E-Z At-Home Executions"?
And who writes these books?
Who reviews them? (" 'How to Make a Disposable Silencer' will blow you away"
-- Montana Literary Quarterly.)
Does the author of "How to Make a Disposable Silencer" have a book signing
at Borders? More important, what kind of people show up to buy it? How
many of them are immediately put in the FBI's Rolodex? Because, really, who
needs to know how to make a disposable silencer? Wouldn't most of us be
better off learning how to put together a Weber grill?
How stupid I am, writing columns for a living. Clearly, the big money in
publishing is in do-it-yourself assassination manuals. Here's the title of
my next book:
"Tony Kornheiser's Greatest Hits."
Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company
© 1997 Peter Langston