The Texas Legislature Was Tricked Into Honoring The Boston Strangler
It was April Fools' Day 1971, and Tom Moore wanted to screw with his fellow Texas legislators. So he introduced a resolution to honor one "Albert DeSalvo"—the man who, though Moore didn't explicitly mention it, had confessed to strangling 13 different women in Boston.
Resolutions honoring people are just about the most routine (and arguably pointless) thing lawmakers do. Outside of the occasional controversial honoree chosen for partisan reasons, these are people who did good stuff that we all like. And in his proposal, Moore listed several vague facts about DeSalvo that made him sound respectable enough.
DeSalvo had "enabled the weak and the lonely throughout the nation to achieve and maintain a new degree of concern for their future," said Moore (because he made the vulnerable fear for their lives, but Moore didn't mention that). DeSalvo had "been officially recognized by the state of Massachusetts" (i.e., had been convicted and sentenced to life in prison) for "his noted activities and unconventional techniques involving population control and applied psychology" (i.e., killing and terrorizing people).
The legislature approved the resolution, unanimously. In their defense, the name "Albert DeSalvo" was not quite as well known as his nickname, The Boston Strangler. On the other hand, the man's killings had ended just a few years earlier, so his name must have been better known then than it is now. The equivalent today, perhaps, would be lawmakers voting to honor Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Bomber.
Afterward, the press said this stunt aimed to prove that lawmakers pay no attention to the bills they vote on. Moore said it hadn't—he just did it for the laughs. But just because he didn't mean it that way doesn't mean it's not true.
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Top image: Daniel Mayer