Huffpost Media
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Lionel Headshot

He's Not "The Craigslist Killer." He's a Killer. Period.

Posted: Updated:

On April 14, a Boston med student, Philip Markoff, is alleged to have murdered "masseuse" Julissa Brisman, 26, whom he met on a Craigslist advert. Said murder was alleged to have been committed in a Boston Marriott Hotel room. On April 10, he is also alleged to have committed armed robbery against "escort" Trisha Leffler, 29, in a Boston Westin Copley Place Hotel room. Leffler was spared from death, as she describes, because she did what Markoff demanded. "Escort" Leffler, also a Craigslist marketer, was allegedly relieved of $800 in cash and $250 in American Express gift cards, prosecutors say. News reports have alternated in describing Leffler as either "escort" or the more, er, technically correct, "prostitute."

Let's get a few things straight.

What she was was not a masseuse.

Please. It's tragic that and when anyone, repeat, anyone is killed. No one deserves that. But her trade was not massage therapy. OK, maybe certain areas of massage. You know and I know what she was advertising for. She was a prostitute. A call girl. Fine. Her additional job descriptions have been referred to as "erotic entertainer." Translation. Stripper. Why do we dance around the truth? The truth that should be legal.

When Ashley Dupre (more like "Cousin Dupree" for all you Steely Dan fans), the "escort" who turned then New York Governor Eliot Spitzer into Client 9 overnight, was referenced by the media, they likewise tiptoed around what she actually was. A hooker.

Come on, say it. Puttana, whore, slattern, harlot, strumpet, trollop, a malkin (insert your own Michelle joke here). Prostitute. Whore: A legitimate word that best describes this type of trade.

Let's be adults. These are terms that are not used as pejoratives. They all describe a legitimate profession, artificially made illegitimate through unnecessary legislation and embarrassed euphemistic nuance.

Neither the devil nor gambling made him do it.

Now this is a hoot. Because this creep Markoff (looks a tad like "Madoff," doesn't it?) was a degenerate gambler, some have suggested that he attacked and killed prostitutes, er, massage professionals, whom he lured via Craigslist postings to hotel trysts and late-night assignations primarily to rob them. Give me a bloody break. Nice try, Sherlock. Gamblers, degenerate gamblers, can be killers too.

He is no more a "Craigslist Killer" than he is an internet, Marriott or cellphone killer. He's a killer.

Neither Craig Newmark, the "Craig" in "Craigslist," nor his list neither have nor had any logical connection to the slaying of Miss Brisman. This sicko used the internet, a cellphone perhaps and two noted hotel chains to commit this crime. Let's mention them. Puh-leeze. The media loves a catchy descriptive moniker for the despicable and weird: The Preppy Killer, The Octomom, Bernie Madoff.

If prostitution were legal, this might not have happened.

If these two "consorts" needed some extra cash and wanted to ply their flesh trade, and if prostitution were legal, regulated and controlled, they would have been able to contact a legal brothel, show an updated health card, and massage and escort to their hearts' content. Legally. Safely. Said brothel would have adequate security and the girls would be safe, and, presumably, one alive today. Said masseuses would pay taxes on their "booty."

And one would be alive today.