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Vigil for murdered CSULA professor, 2/24

by Tom Louie Monday, Feb. 23, 2004 at 4:13 PM

Dr. Glenda Vittimberga was murdered and beheaded by a friend and former graduate student. So far, the media has virtually ignored it.

Please attend a memorial vigil for Dr. Glenda Vittimberga at Cal State L.A. on Tuesday, February 24, at 6:00 P.M.
in the Free Speech Area (north end of campus, outside the University-Student Union).

According to police, Dr. Vittimberga was brutally murdered and beheaded in her Pasadena home on Monday by a
university employee and former graduate student, who then apparently committed suicide.

Dr. Vittimberga taught in Administration and Counseling in the College of Education; her specialty was clinical
psychology. Ironically, she was currently teaching a course on "Intervention in Severe Behavioral Problems" when
she died. I never met her; one of my best friends took four courses from her, and my professors definitely knew
her. By all accounts, she was friendly, open, caring, helping, ready with a smile for everyone and, yes, I hear she
was attractive as well.

There was almost ZERO television news coverage of this horrible crime. As far as I have been able to find out,
only Channel 5 mentioned it. The rest of the stations were busy with wall-to-wall coverage of the city's "shock"
over the killing of an LAPD officer. (Compared to Glenda, the officer was lucky; he wasn't killed by someone he
knew and trusted, and he wasn't mutilated.) What's a mere professor compared to a cop? Ah, priorities.

Or perhaps the TV stations ignored the story because initial reports said the Dr. was killed in a "domestic dispute"
by an "ex-boyfriend." According to the victim's closest friends, it could not have been a domestic dispute, because
the killer was never her boyfriend; and even if that were true, what would it matter? The sheer numbers of
"relationship murders" are already at holocaust proportions. Choosing the wrong person for a relationship (or in
Glenda's case, for a friendship) seems to be an automatic invitation to murder, as far as the media is concerned.

Usually, the news of a horrific crime like this would go national. It didn't even go local. The fact that society seems
to assign no importance to the life and death of this remarkable human being only makes the pain worse.

The only good coverage was in the Pasadena Star-News and CSULA's own University Times. The Los
Angeles Times had something, but their story repeated the misinformation that it was a lovers' quarrel, and was
never corrected.

Apparently, the killer wanted a romantic relationship with the professor, feelings which she did not reciprocate.
Nobody will ever know for sure, but rejection may have been his excuse for doing the most petty and self-centered
thing he could have done, which was to deny her to everyone else by ending her life -- even by making her "ugly"
in death. What could have inspired the intense hatred that caused him to hack off his friend's head and put it in the
fireplace? Nobody will ever know. Was his rage fueled by alcohol or drugs? We may know that soon.

"Nobody will ever know." That's the double tragedy of this murder. By walking into freeway traffic one hour after
the murder, the putative killer cheated us. He will never suffer incarceration, questioning or guilt. We will never be
able to find out about his motives, something that could help us protect potential victims in the future.

Another tragedy is that the putative killer, a convicted felon with a history of violence, had been trying to turn his
life around. He had even gotten a master's degree, and Dr. Vittimberga, who was apparently aware of his past, had
been encouraging of his efforts to change the circumstances of his life. Obviously, in the end he failed, and took
other people with him. What about other felons and ex-convicts? Their numbers are increasing, and eventually
most of them will be back in society and will need help. But who risks helping them after something like this??

In the end, we are left with these painful questions:

Who can you risk befriending?
How do you tell ahead of time that a potential relationship is dangerous?
What do you do if you find out you're in a dangerous relationship? What do you do if you hear the words, "If you
ever leave me, I'll kill you"?
Are those words said more often than we realize? When we hear them, do we ignore them or think the utterer is
indulging in hyperbole?
Should women just carry guns everywhere from now on? Can any woman trust a male friend?
Does the fact that someone is attractive, friendly and open mean that they have to be regarded as an "easy mark" for
some asshole who wants to either control their life or take it? (Yes, the killer's death is also a tragedy. Yes, he was
a selfish asshole who should burn in hell.)
Why does "relationship violence", or violence by people you know, get such short shrift on society's list of
priorities? Why are people more afraid of being killed by strangers?
What about woman-on-man violence? Or man-on-man, or woman-on-woman? Do the same concerns apply?
Can you trust anyone not to "snap"???
Is it dangerous to try to help someone to "turn their life around"????? I mean....why risk it?? (I don't like asking
this question.)
Are we doomed as a society to withdraw into our shells of paranoia? Should we regard all relationships as
danger-fraught and potentially deadly??
How is it that, in our society, frustrated affection so often turns into insecurity, striving for domination, and
eventually violent, soul-destroying hate?
And what else could be the result of this but even more frustrated affection?

Perhaps someday we can try to find the answers together.

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add your comments

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 8 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Doing the media's job for them? Aaron S Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004 at 3:41 AM
Glenda's murder Cicly Thomson Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004 at 6:03 PM
maybe we need to learn to be happier a regular visitor to this site Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004 at 10:08 PM
Killers Reward.... X Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004 at 10:50 PM
Remembering Dr. Vittimberga Kimberly Evans Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2004 at 8:03 PM
Dr. Vittmiberga's Legacy Former Student Thursday, Feb. 26, 2004 at 9:18 AM
Her Chosen Career Member Class of '85 Thursday, Feb. 26, 2004 at 1:42 PM
Still Remembering Cynthia Jimenez Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016 at 11:19 PM

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