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The Foiled Indiana Shooting Was Done
By Yoichi Shimatsu
The fourth in our series on summertime shootings is based on an emergent recognition of a common thread woven through fabric of a puzzling crime spree, that bing the underlying motive of copyright theft by armed robbery of key innovative technologies before the granting of a patent. These tragic events have been happening just as the U.S. Patent Office is preparing to reopen its doors to potential patent-holders after a dormancy of two years due to COVID shutdown. The pent-up applications are expected to be a crush for patent examiners as thousands of inventors pile on requests for approval of newfangled devices and novel techniques that have piled up over the past 28 months.
A review of research activity, along with the on-site evidence, has shown the prime target in the Buffalo affair to have been the African American retired policeman who had succeeded in a breakthrough method to power motor vehicles with water as a fuel and in the Fourth of July assault in Chicago an Irish American financial strategist for a top-notch biomedical research team working on gene replacement strategies to cure inherited chromosome deficiencies.
Now the takeaway from the most recent shooting in Greenwood, Indiana, is that the panic and hysteria caused by a supposed random shooting of several bystanders had a clear and definite purpose, which has been to enable the secret controllers of the young gunmen to disguise themselves as first responders or valiant volunteers in order to remove from the targeted individual’s pockets the keys to home, office and cars in order to steal research papers, designs and drafts of soon-to-be filed patent applications. As a crime of intellectual property theft, the methodology has been all too clever but cruelly ruthless in murdering random people, leaving a law-abiding society no options other than to track down these bastards to experience their own death penalty, either in a state that honors capital punishment or by de facto termination with a bullet to a vital organ at the crime scene. The gloves are off, and now the challenge is to discern in the crowd the actual operations organizer of these thefts in plain sight.
The actual human target in the Greenwood Park Mall shooting has been obscured by sheer luck in that a “good Samaritan” intervened amid the shooting to fire a pistol at the 20-year-old gunman Jonathan Douglas Sapirman, 20, soon after he began to spray the crowd with a Sig Sauer semiautomatic rifle. The late Sunday afternoon drama in Greenwood, on the southwestern outskirts of Indianapolis, terminated the lives of three immigrants from El Salvador as they dined in the food court, who were likely not the principle target but mere collateral damage in the line of fire. Noticeably silent is the “immigrant rights” crowd of liberal Democrats protesting the affront to society over their public execution so far from their homeland. The shooter got off some 40 rounds before a courageous young local resident named Elijsha Dichen, age 22, rushed forward to shoot the gunman dead with a Glock pistol, thereby preventing a wider massacre and enabling the as yet unknown individual targeted to escape a premature death.
Alert news buffs have probably by now noticed a paucity of eyewitness news accounts from startled diners inside that Greenwood food court being reported by the news media. The targeted individual did not blurt out a word in shock or reporting to the police before rushing to leave the scene of the crime along with the crowd of shoppers, perhaps without realizing that he was the intended kill. If there was an underlying motive behind Sapirman’s attack, we probably will never be privy to or have the least degree of access to his confession, which will remain a mystery as typical of so many controversies in Indiana, which is known as “the northernmost of the Southern states”, a place where abrupt events give way to the cracking sound of corn growing in midsummer, a silence reinforced by quiet dismay among local residents used to burying secrets in the graveyard of a soon forgotten past. To grab onto a wisp of those spidery strands surrounding the Greenwood Mall shooting, an observer is required to have a strong grasp of local custom in order to crack Indiana society’s code of silence.
Being an adoptive Hoosier, or perhaps more of an uninvited and unwanted intruder, have you will, I was a sojourner from California and Japan who worked my way through to graduation at Purdue University by doing dozens of farm jobs and menial labor assignments across that corn-belt state. My interaction with Indiana society supplied me with a basic know-how of local customs, by which I can make some sense of this mysterious shooting. My intention here is not to arouse a public scandal but instead to carve a memorial plaque of sorts in honor of the day that the rest of the world first heard of a place called Greenwood. Regional culture, with its myths and denials, being so much of a dominant factor in Indiana, please bear with me as I wade through the stoic habits and sly ways of the Hoosiers to glean a glimmer of truth.
German and silently proud of it
The first insight from my venture into amateur anthropology is focused on the design of the weapons fired inside the mall, those being of competent German manufacture rather than shoddy Yankee workmanship. A demographic plurality in the state of Indiana is quietly proud of their descent from Germanic immigrants with a remarkable cultural heritage from the blacksmith’s forge, the art of precision in metalwork. German steel is of legendary quality from the feudal hero Siegfried’s broadsword to Nazi-era Panzer tanks, bullet-proof Stuka dive bombers, bayonets, sniper rifles and long-range 88mm artillery. Sig Sauer (headquartered in Eckernförde, Germany with local production in New Hampshire) and Glock (Deutsch-Wagram, in the old German-speaking region of Austria) are top-of-line firearms. In the gunfight at Greenwood Mall, the firing of a Glock pistol versus a Sig Sauer semiautomatic rifle was a perfect match-up in line with the knightly heritage of sword dueling.
The proud heritage of “Blud und Isen”, or blood and steel, is never overtly or immediately discussed in polite Indiana society, as I discovered at the home of my college roommate’s grandmother, who for midday supper in the privacy of her curtained dining room served us sauerbraten, dozens of types of homemade pickles and two gigantic stoneware steins of beer. Not your ordinary American grandma, I mentioned slyly as we raised the mugs, considering the illegality of 17-year-olds to booze at noon or any other hour of day or night in stern Indiana. “Gee, that’s one hell of a grandma you have there, cheers!” My buddy answered, “She’ll be happy to serve us a few more rounds before we drive off to Ball State.” Our destination, scheduled for a sunset arrival, was and still is the home of Ball canning jars and also Ball State, back then a women-only teachers college.
“Your family custom of downing a gallon of beer before noon must mean she’s somehow a foreigner, maybe born in Indiana but from recdent immigrant stock?” My buddy who smiled at this deduction, answered curtly, “We’re not English, that’s for damned sure.” My rejoinder was: “Then why is your family name English?”
After a thoughtful pause in silence, Junior confessed “During the First World War, practically the whole population of Indiana opposed Woodrow Wilson’s pledge to side with Britain and France instead of remaining neutral or backing Germany and Austria. Therefore popular sentiment here ran strong for the antiwar presidential candidate Eugene Debs and his American Socialist Party. That antiwar sentiment brought on a huge federal crackdown against anyone and everything German. The Red Scare was leading toward mass detention and deportation of German descendants, and so to hold off the worst outcome, most families legally changed their surnames to an English equivalent.”
So there it was, out in the open behind shuttered windows, a Hoosier confessing to the fact that nearly this entire state lived in a subversive conspiracy of quiet resistance to the pro-English mainstream across otherwise puritanical America, who were proud of being bloody Englishmen despite the wars of Revolution, the battle of New Orleans and the Civil War. After a couple more steins of brew, we thanked grandma for her kind hospitality and roared off in an easterly direction in his 442 muscle car. After picking up some hot dates that evening for a one-night stand in neighboring Ohio, where beer was unlimited, we both were exhaustd from excessive alcohol consumption. On the way back to campus at 2 a.m., we meekly cruised past some 50 Indiana state troopers on either side of the road, posted there to bust underage drunk drivers. After passing the gauntlet, it was pedal to the metal.
An Exception to the Mason-Dixon Line
Like a gardener, when an investigative journalist doesn’t have a pile of humus, aka hog dung, to dig through, that’s when you have to beat the bushes to flush out the telling clues. In a strange way, the Greenwood shooting is reminiscent of that classic movie about this opposition-spirited region where the needle of a compass always turns southward. “Raintree County”, starring Montgomery Clift, Liz Taylor and Eva Marie Saint, suggested that an apparent act of “madness and murder” has tangible roots in the social and economic fabric of well-mannered tradition-bound family life with all its contradictory impulses.
That movie took the hysterics of Scarlett O’Hara a step further and deeper into the workings of a static social hierarchy with its code of silence. The old saw about Indiana’s contrarian political sympathies as “the northernmost of the Southern states” arises from a fact disclosed in “Raintree” that Indianapolis during the Civil War was a center of antiwar agitation by the Copperheads, northern sympathizers of the Confederacy who did a strong business in smuggled cotton bales.
As it so happened the main critic of my calls to end the Vietnam war was Purdue agriculture-school dean Earl Butz, who according to whispered comments among the student body was the highest ranking dragon in the Klan, whose devoted followers ruled with an iron fist over the Farm Bureau. Later on, Butz won over the Midwest farmers’ vote and nearly all of the South to Richard Nixon.
But now let’s forego humming “Dixie” and instead sing “On the Banks of the Wabash” in fond memory of shucking ears of corn instead of cotton picking. On the bright side, Orville Reddenbacher was/is the state icon, the man who brought Germanic technology to the rural hinterland with his invention of microwave-perfect popcorn, which later passed the rigorous test of hot air poppers. Outsiders aka average Americans at first assumed that Orville was a corny comedian, a hired actor, and so he appeared on a talk show to prove that he was in fact a normative Hoosier, being a graduate of the ag school at Purdue. With immense sadness at the loss of 8-feet tall corn rows, I hate to report that his popcorn brand has since been taken over by Chicago-based ConAgra, at about the same time that the two-faced carpetbagger Mike Pence moved from Illinois to the governor’s mansion in Indianapolis. With a grim smirk at this ill fate worse than the tornado that leveled the eastern half of Russiaville, Hoosiers take these awful setbacks in silence, strolling further out in the back 40 to hoe a row in silence. That’s because in contrast to us sunny-side up beach-addicted Californians the Wabash is infested with way too many mosquitoes for rowing a hoe.
Oh, yes, about as far as Orville’s Hoosier dry wit dared to go and few miles more, David Letterman and a slew of comedians including Jim Gaffigan, Mike Epps and Drew Lynch, are self-confessed Hoosiers. That’s alongside the pioneering sardonic political cartoonist John McCutcheon and later John Striebel of “Dixie Gugan” and Reed Crandall of “Blackhawk”. It takes a barrel of quiet sadness and self-deprecating grief to summon forth a deep belly laugh exploding into a horrendous fart on a tractor seat. Lake Woebegone, with its adolescent chuckles, never had a chance against tragic comedy by the Tippecanoe River. OK, so what in hell does all this local color have to do with crazed young shooters? Nothing, and maybe everything.
The Secret to Greenwood
Greenwood is a pleasant bedroom community of typical fine houses, freshly painted, under shade trees and with neatly manicured lawns in convenient commuting distance from the state capital’s downtown business district, not very far from the Indianapolis 500 Speedway and the twin offshoot campuses of Purdue and Indiana universities. Purdue is a major engineering center with core strength in electrical engineering and mechanics, including aeronautic design, while IU is the world-leading center for linguistics and languages. Put this pair of skill sets together and what do the Hoosier deliver? Intelligent design for the entire world of manufacturing.
These fields of academic endeavor are key to the transformation of Indianapolis into a core center for computer-based technologies and industrial design, which feeds a constant flow of tech innovations to Silicon Valley, Europe’s automated industrial factories and Asia, including Korea, Taiwan, Japan and China.. In addition, the state capital is also the home of Eli Lilly, that leading pharmaceutical company and Alcoa aluminum. Hoosiers are, therefore, not quite as backward-looking as they pretend to be on a Sunday afternoon of fishing, bowling and driving to a local mall to pick up a take-out supper. In truth as well as legend, the local icon of Indiana’s technological innovation is that pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart, a Purdue graduate on a campus with traditionally a 200-to-one ratio of male to female students, all the more remarkable because our coeds tend not to win at beauty pageants. (That adverse ratio has evened out a bit in recent decades.) Tech remains very much a guy’s domain, which partly accounts for the recent spate of mass shootings aimed at copyright theft.
Over the Counter Gunfire
Sapirman, a local resident, entered the Greenwood Mall shortly after 3:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, July 17, when he entered a men’s rest room to wait for instructions, sitting there for more than an hour. That delay indicates his spotter was in the mall’s main entrance foyer waiting for the intended mark to enter, as was his weekly habit to purchase Sunday supper, likely of Chinese food. Similar to the Uvalde affair, the shooter had two rifles, one of which was not used but left inside a toilet booth, indicating as in the Texas school incident that a second gunman did not arrive “as planned”.
The shooting in the cafeteria occurred at 4:45 pm. So what does that delay of timeline suggest? First of all, there was an accomplice, the spotter who followed the late-arriving targeted individual into the food court. The intended target was middle-income and not yet wealthy enough to spend $100 and more to greasy feast inside a Chinese restaurant. When the target entered the food court, the spotter phoned the shooter, who proceeded out of the men’s room, strolled down the hall and opened fire toward his mark but hit a trio of Salvadorean diners seated in between. Then, as the hit-man adjusted his aim at the now-crouching target, the unexpected happened. The interloper’s bullet struck Saperman in the upper body throwing him into shock as he bled to death.
Alternatively, what would have happened if the mall operation had gone forward as planned? The “spotter” or another member of this plot would have taken advantage of the chaotic panic among shoppers and food servers to pretend at resuscitation of the downed targeted inventor. That would have enabled the plotter to pickpocket the victim, grabbing the keys to his car, home and office along with any magnetic ID cards needed for site access to an office. As the actual paramedics arrived, the thief would than retreat, leaving the gunman to take the heat. Soon thereafter when darkness fell, the attack planner(s) could have easily entered the office, home and office of their primary victim to retrieve, which here means here to steal, his or her documents, notes and other key information related to a pending application with the U.S. Patent Office.
The Buffalo, New York, shooting was targeted at the Tops security guard, who had discovered the method for powering a vehicle’s combustion engine with water (a by-now legendary quest) and the Highland Park gun incident killed the chief financial officer for a biotechnology research company involved in gene insertion biotechnology to cure inherited diseases. Whether the aim was to get away with the targeted individual’s keys or simply eliminate a competitor is somewhat irrelevant to this crime analysis, since the specific murder amid the mayhem achieved its purpose of eliminating a competitor and/or stealing his unique industrial design. Even a competitor’s sketches and notes are of high value for augmenting the design of a new instrument or automated control system. By comparison, a bank robbery gains much less money and a clean getaway is much more difficult to pull off.
Logjam at the Patent Office
The next question is “Why are these murderous attacks to heist industrial designs being done sequentially this summer?” The answer is straightforward: Because the U.S. and international patent offices have been closed to applicants over the past two years due to the COVID shutdown. The consequent backlog of patent and copyright proposals is unprecedented, meaning this summer is the perfect time for theft of intellectual property in order to apply for a patent over the coming months. Got that? Robbing a bank nowadays is nowhere near as lucrative as a patent for licensing to industry.
Be very clear that murders of inventors for long-term commercial profit is not a novel type of crime. Recall the elimination of Nikola Tesla on orders from one or the competitors, Thomas Edison or maybe Tesla’s own sponsor George Westinghouse, a high crime that remains unsolved. Edison accumulated a vast trove of “his inventions”, with rivals being eliminated by ostracism or an early demise. Alexander Bell is another chronic suspect in amassing a vast number of patents without a prior record of tedious research on many of those project.
Then consider the U.S. Defense Department’s massive haul of advanced German technology in the immediate aftermath of World War II, which included jet engines, turboprops, radioactive substances and weird aircraft without an apparent purpose, all air-shipped to Edwards AFB or to that “other Edwards,” since designated as Area 51. In childhood I personally accompanied for alibi purposes my step-father, a high-ranking DoD civilian executive, in his search for key German technology hidden inside aircraft hangars, sealed tunnels and even underwater bunkers across southern Japan. Technology theft is as American as apple pie, the recipe for which was stolen from the Dutch colonists in New Amsterdam, since renamed New York. The heist is, indeed, the American Way.
So what was the key technology being developed in Indianapolis, besides hotter engines for the Indy 500? Aside from pharmaceuticals, starting at the top with Eli Lilly, and heavy industry aka the Alcoa aluminum and metallurgy giant in Indianapolis, the biggest innovation sector in Indiana is computer-controlled industrial production technology, which combines the engineering skills of Purdue and the language prowess (as in code for control systems as well as operator instructions) of Indiana University.
The apple of Indiana’s industrial eye, Greenwood is the home-away for the Swiss-headquartered automation engineering firm Endress + Hauser, which hires engineering staff from among top graduates of both state universities. Just about every product that consumers purchase at Walmart or Best Bay, along with every step of its production process, is based on automated engineering in factories and workshops without a large human workforce.
Aside from its proximity to Indianapolis, Greenwood is located conveniently along highways to Lafayette toward the northwest, home of the Purdue campus and its Boilermakers football team, and the southwest to Bloomington, site of IU and the Hoosiers of basketball legend, making it an ideal site for an inventor or ambitious engineer with key concepts to refine and patent. This summer of murder and mayhem against inventors is therefore the season to a harvest concepts and designs, worth billions of dollars to the copyright thieves, who obviously have financial support from wealthy patrons.
Escape to Canada
As in the locales of Buffalo and Highland Park, the instigator of the patsy gunman’s attack in Greenwood could easily make his or her escape to Canada via Highway 69 through Fort Wayne across the state line into Michigan and then northward beyond Ann Arbor into Detroit to cross the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor, Canada. Alternatively, to evade detection, the escaping instigator of murderous theft could easily hire a small boat to pass at nighttime by small boat from Grosse Point to St. Clair (Lake) Beach or further southward, the Prohibition whiskey-smuggling route from Gibraltar on the neck of Lake Erie to venture up the Canard River into the safety of mainland Ontario Province. One can as easy as dope dealers make the crossing unscathed and undetected with the stolen patent draft and technical drawings tucked inside a briefcase or waterproof backpack. During my college years, I’ve driven that route into Canada on several holidays, without wading through shallow water, for the purpose of underage boozing, dining on cheap yet superb Greek meals, and courting young ladies bored with “nothing happens here” Canada. Ah, the good life, and one does not have to shoot into crowds of innocent bystanders to achieve a modest portion of it.
More precious than gold by weight and potential sales value, a patent stolen from a unknown dead American inventor can be initially filed by its new owners at the U.S. Patent Office, and/or alternatively, with the European Patent office or the copyright authority in Hong Kong, which is recognized by China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan, where those specs and methods can rapidly be put into the industrial production, enriching the patent holder for decades to come.
Thus, the approaching end to the two-year Coronavirus hiatus is the perfect moment for massive patent thievery, along with other such crimes, especially when stolen intellectual property becomes difficult to detect in the crush of new applications. So, as the situation stands, the death count of young shooters, who literally provide the vacancy enabling the thefts, has reached four attempts with three successes, if the Uvalde-related panic is included, one failed hit, and perhaps three left to be done. As shown in Chicago shooter’s obsession with the numbers 4 and 7, there are seven steps in this operation.
As for the shooter, Sapirman was another expendable know-nothing recruited from the online gaming galaxy of Assassin Creed. As shown by his dilated eyes and unfocused gaze in a photo posted online, the shooter was an expendable. He probably sincerely believed in the fairy story about an upcoming escape plan to a better life in Canada, only to be shot dead in the melee or hunted down in a chase to be captured ignominiously. It’s a tragedy that his Salvadorean victims, the collateral damage to cover over the attempted copyright theft, traveled such a far distance with so much hope only to meet a bullet. As told to me by Hoosiers, Indiana is being overrun by immigrants, legal and otherwise, who are spending their considerable earnings as gardeners, busboys and casual laborers on buying vast amounts of products, mostly made in China, for shipment back to Latin America. There are not-so hidden risks to this America Dream-turned-nightmare.
So with these slim pickings from Indiana, we await the next mass shooting event, especially after that young Hoosier role model has taught the liberal gun-control fanatics that the best response to a lone gunman wielding an assault rifle is a Glock 33, made in Germany. Meanwhile, I’m heading toward a bridge over the Ohio River for a shot of bourbon, while awaiting the next battle of the Patent Wars. To think back, Kentucky with its fast horses and beautiful women (although mostly the other way around) being just next-door, why ever did I suffer through seven harsh years of college in Indiana? It’s just goes to show that a college degree is not a reliable measure of intelligence or creativity, after considering you can get shot dead for it.