Retribution Has A Pretty Face
Thomas Calabrese– Douglas Miller Oswalt was a charismatic individual who developed an interest in the occult as a young boy growing up in San Diego. In high school he was apprehended with other teenagers vandalizing churches and graveyards. Two members of his group who were slightly older, Stanley Baker and Steven Hurd went on to kill three people and consumed parts of the corpses in Big Sur. When they were captured they proudly proclaimed that cannibalism was part of the ritual sacrifice to the Prince of Darkness. Oswalt joined the Knights of the Black Circle, a satanic cult that supported itself with drug dealing and loan sharking. When member, Gary Lauter was suspected of being a police informer, Oswalt burned him at the stake. American serial killer Richard Ramirez, the infamous ‘Night Stalker’ was part of the Black Circle and a fervent Satanist. Oswalt attended the well- publicized trial of the serial killer and when Ramirez saw him in the courtroom, he called out. ‘Hail Satan!’
Oswalt craved power and to have the kind he wanted, he needed to have his own organization. That is when he decided to the start ‘The Anointed’ in 2010 in Oceanside. Created to combat conservatism and organized religion, it quickly shifted to an extreme more apocalyptic view of the world. Oswalt convinced his followers that he was the prophet of Satan, the rightful ruler of existence. He told them that the election of Donald Trump in 2016 was an abomination. It signaled that beginning of the end of the current world order and the day of reckoning was upon us. He promised that if they pledged their allegiance and gave all their current earthly possessions to him, they would be rewarded beyond their wildest dreams with wealth and power. Oswalt interpreted historical and political events through the lens of his anti-establishment bias and became more radical and violent with each passing day
He told his followers that Abraham Lincoln was a religious fanatic and his policies helped build the ‘Babylonia nation that led the entire world astray. He also saw patriotism as an insult to his beliefs. Oswalt studied Adolph Hitler’s mannerisms and how the demonic dictator could manipulate an audience into believing what he was saying, no matter how insane it might seem to an impartial listener. One of Hitler’s tricks to ingratiate himself to the German masses was to create a persona where he was beloved by dogs and children. Oswalt was a calculating sociopath who developed his own techniques of disarming naïve and vulnerable people by using social media to express his love for children and animals. He became a regular at Palisades Park in Oceanside where people brought their children and dogs to play. Oswalt told everyone that he was a widower and his family and dogs had been killed in a raging wildfire in Northern California. He was working through the grief and looking to make a fresh start in the area. His charade was very convincing and park-goers willingly extended their friendship.
Marine Corps Major James Penny married Elle when he was a young second lieutenant. They had a baby daughter two years later and named her Angela after Elle’s mother. Eleven years later, Elle suffered cardiac arrest from an undiagnosed heart arrhythmia and passed away in her sleep. James Penny was grief-stricken and was now a single father with a young daughter to raise. At the suggestion of his commanding officer, James began attending grief counseling meetings on Camp Pendleton. It was there that he met Karen Blake whose husband had been killed in the line of duty while serving in Afghanistan. Karen currently was living in base housing and was given 90 days to move out. James helped her find a one bedroom apartment in his neighborhood.
The last thing that the single father was looking to do was get married again, but he fell hopelessly in love with the widow and they were married two years after meeting each other. He would have never proposed if he didn’t check with his daughter to see how she felt about it and Angela responded, “I was wondering how long you were going to wait. She’s a good woman and if I was in your position, I’d propose before somebody else does.”
“So you like her?” James asked
“Of course I do!”
It was a small ceremony at Grand Tradition Estate and Gardens in Fallbrook. The only attendees were a dozen Marine officers that James served with and six friends from Karen’s place of employment, a small plumbing company where she worked in accounts receivable. Angela was the maid of honor. Over the next six months, it was a happy time for the Penny family, but Major Penny was in the Marine Corps and he had to heed the call of duty. When his unit was deployed, he left his new bride and daughter behind. Karen and Angela got along great and would often go to the Palisades dog park before and after school to walk Sammy and Bumper, their two mixed breed rescue dogs. Oswalt would smile and say, ‘Good morning, ladies, how are you today?’ every time he saw them.
Angela wasn’t sure what it was about the personable man who seemed to know everybody at the park. Maybe it was his greeting that was a little too rehearsed and insincere. She casually brought up the subject to her step-mother one evening, “What do you think about that guy at the dog park?”
“Which guy?” Karen asked.
“The one that doesn’t have any dogs and talks to everybody.”
“I don’t know, he seems nice enough,” Karen shrugged.
Angela began going to El Camino High School an hour earlier which prevented her from going to the park with her stepmother the mornings. Over the next few months, Angela saw a gradual change in her step-mother’s behavior. She couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was until she started expressing her empathy for Oswalt, “He’s gone through so much in his life, I really feel sorry for him. He said he would have never made it this far if it wasn’t for the support of a group that he belongs to. He says they do a lot of good work to help people in trouble.”
“What kind of group?” Angela asked.
“They are having a picnic and fundraiser this Saturday. He invited us to attend.
When they were in the car, Angela said, “We’re not going to stay long, are we?”
“It’s always nice to help people that do good work, Let’s play it by ear.”
Karen drove to an area outside the small town of Julian, a distance of 67 miles from Oceanside. A banner was stretched across the dirt road, Welcome Anointed. A man stood at the entrance to an open field and gestured to the drivers on where to park their vehicles.
“What’s the anointed?” Angela inquired.
“I think that’s the name of his group,” Karen guessed.
After they parked Karen and Angela were directed to a grassy area where others had laid out blankets and set up lawn chairs, There was a makeshift stage and everybody was facing in that direction. Several men came walking through the crowd with clipboards.
One man stopped next to Karen and Angela, “How many in your party ma’am?”
“Two,” Karen replied.
“You didn’t come with any male companions did you?” The man inquired.
“Why?” Angela asked.
“We have different gift baskets for the men and women,” The man smiled, “We need to make sure we have an accurate count.”
“Two females,” Karen answered.
Oswalt took the stage and went through his well-rehearsed speech about how history had mistreated the masses and his group was formed to help balance the scales. Some people were visibly moved, but Angela didn’t buy any of it. “Let’s get the hell out of here!”
Karen took one look at the stage and agreed, “Definitely not for us.”
As they walked back to their car, they were directed down a different path than the one that they came in on. They were stopped behind a stand of tall trees where another man asked their names.
“What’s going on?” Karen asked.
“Your gift baskets,” The man replied, “They’re preparing them for you right now.”
Fifteen minutes passed and several other women were led to the same area. Karen saw Oswalt approaching and impatiently walked over to him to inquire about the delay. Before she could get within arm’s reach, a bodyguard threw her to the ground and pointed a pistol in her face. Oswalt casually reached down and helped Angela to her feet as if this was a common occurrence, “ It’s good to see you Karen, I’m glad that you and Angela could make it,” He then addressed the dozen other women standing nearby in a calm, but threatening voice, “Please hand your purses, car keys and cellphones to my assistants.”
The women were obviously confused and hesitated to comply. Oswalt pulled a pistol from his waistband and shot the nearest women to him in the head. “There will be severe consequences for lack of compliance.” The women went from confused to terror-stricken in a split second. Some broke into tears and others trembled, but they did exactly like they were told. Afterward they were loaded into the back of the truck and the metal door was closed behind them. The truck drove to an isolated location in the Mojave Desert where the women were unloaded and placed inside a fenced compound with one large metal building. Inside the structure were cots and a small bathroom.
Oswalt told the women, “Welcome to your new home, don’t get too comfortable, you won’t be here long.” His plan was to take the submissive women and indoctrinate them into the ‘Anointed’. The others would either be sold to human trafficking rings or killed if they had no market value.
On their second night at the desert compound, Karen and Angela next to the fence. “I messed up big time, sorry.”
“How were you to know,” Angela responded
“We need to do something.”
“Like what?” Angela asked.
“Look over there,” Karen pointed to the distant left where it was more illuminated than the other directions, “.It could be a highway or a town.”
“Like dad would probably say, that’s a hell of a hump, ten or fifteen miles away,” Angela guessed.
“When we get out of here, that’s the direction we’re headed,” Karen said.
“You mean if we get out of here,” Angela said.
Karen emphasized the word, “When,” and held up a three foot length of metal pipe. “This was probably left from when they built this place.”
A few minutes later, Karen called to one of the guards, “I need your help, my daughter has a medical condition,” and pointed to a motionless Angela lying on the ground.”
‘What’s wrong with her?” The Guard asked.
“Hypervascularneurosis,” Karen fictionalized the ailment.
“We don’t have any medicine here,” The Guard said.
“I need to balance her blood sugar. Bring me a carbonated beverage and four aspirins.”
A few minutes later, the guard returned, opened the gate and entered. He bent over to take a closer look at Angela. He handed the canned beverage and aspirins to Karen who lifted her step-daughter’s head to let her sip on the drink. While the guard was looking at Angela, Karen reached behind her, grabbed the pipe and hit the guard over the head. The blow killed him instantly. Karen took his weapon and said, “Let’s go.”
“What about the others?” Angela asked.
“They’ll only slow us down…we’ll come back for them later.”
Karen and Angela escaped out of the gate and were heading into the darkness. Suddenly a spotlight went on and illuminated the area. Karen was shot in the right leg and went down. Angela stopped to help her and Karen handed her the weapon, “Go! Go!”
There was no time to argue, Angela ran off and when she looked back she saw two guards beating Karen as she lied helpless on the ground. Oswalt sent several off-road vehicles to search for Angela, but she was able to avoid capture by hiding in a deep ravine. When she stopped hearing engines things went silent she became moving again. She was bruised, exhausted and dehydrated by the time she reached the interstate by early afternoon of the next day. She flagged down a passing motorist who called the California Highway Patrol. By the time authorities located the compound, the place was deserted. The only things left was some trash scattered about the area, but nothing that would lead the police to Oswalt, his followers and the captive women.
When Major Penny was notified what happened, the Marine Corps sent him home from deployment immediately to be with his daughter. Angela was a strong girl and she recovered from her physical ordeal very quickly, but the emotional toll took a little longer. For the next four years, there no word of Oswalt, Karen or the any member of the Anointed. It was as if they disappeared into thin air. Major Penny applied and was granted a hardship discharge to be home with his daughter. While focusing his attention on finding Karen, he came in contact with Ron Weaver, a wealthy hedge fund manager whose daughter also disappeared after showing an interest in the ‘Anointed’.
As part of her therapy, Angela began taking self-defense classes and her father began taking her to the pistol range to improve her self-confidence and soon became proficient in hand to hand combat and weapons. Ron Weaver stopped by the Penny house one evening with a proposition. “You’re looking for your wife and I’m looking for my daughter, but there’s other people that are in similar situations.”
“You’re right about that. All kind of stories out there,” James said.
“I’ll hire you to go after these cults and religious extremist groups. I’ve got the money and I can’t think of a better use for it.” Ron said.
“That’s an interesting offer, let me think about it and get back to you,” James promised.
When James brought the subject up to Angela, her first comment was, “Ask him if he wants to hire both of us?”
James knew that it would a waste of time to try to convince his daughter to stay out of it. If anything, she was even more emotionally invested in finding Karen and bringing Oswalt to justice than he was. Over the next six months, Angela vowed to be ready when the time came so she increased her training. Their Oceanside home was turned into their base of operations and they began contacting families who lost loved ones to Satanic and radical organizations. When maintaining their primary focus on finding Karen and Ron Weaver’s daughter, they helped other families bring home their loved ones.
Former Marine James Penny did not look like an impressionable person by any stretch of the imagination. He was lean and muscular and would never be able to convince these deviants that he was a helpless victim. They were much too astute and had too much experience separating the sheep from the wolves to buy any charade he would attempt. Angela on the other hand could easily portray a vulnerable young girl. This allowed her to join the group without arousing undue suspicion. Once inside, Angela relayed information to her father who developed a plan to capture the leaders and rescue those being who were brainwashed or held against their will.
On one particular incident, James used his sharpshooting abilities to kill four guards and free a family being held in Puerto Rico. Three months later, James and Angela heard that the Israelis were going to deport several members of the’ Anointed’ for their anti- government rhetoric. They boarded in a plane in San Diego, but were a day too late arriving in Tel Aviv and the “Anointed” were gone. The next lead led them to Greece where James and Angela killed five guards and freed three captives of the ‘Anointed,’ but Karen, Julie Weaver and Oswalt were not among them.
It was almost six months before they received a credible tip that Oswalt was now in Mexico and under the protection of the Sinaloa Cartel. It would have been best to wait until the cult leader and his group left Mexico before attempting an operation against him. That was not an option because Ron Weaver saw his daughter among the crowd in the news footage about a drug cartel gunfight. He strongly requested, almost to the point of demanding that James and Angela react quickly.
James told his daughter, “This one is way too dangerous, you need to hang back. I’ll handle it on my own.”
“Since when do we mitigate our duty by how dangerous it is?’ Angela asked, “We took this job to find Karen and Julie Weaver and help other families. I’m part of this to the very end.”
“Okay, but I make the call to pull out, no argument, no discussion…agreed?” James sighed.
“Agreed,” Angela nodded.
James contacted retired General Michael Flynn who was now head of an international security company and explained the situation. His response was simple and to the point, “Whatever you need?”
Angela was able to merge in with a group of the ‘Anointed’ while they were in the small Mexican town of Loreto shopping for fish and vegetables for the residents at their compound. When she returned to the area, she waited until nightfall to mark weak areas in the defensive perimeter with a laser that could only be detected by her father and the insertion team’s special eyewear, but nobody else.
The mission went according to the plan and Julie Weaver was rescued. The cartel soldiers and ‘Anointed’ guards were either killed or captured. Oswalt was found hiding in a safe room and the door was blown open with a potent shape charge. He was dragged out ranting and raving about being the chosen one and this was not allowed to happen. When he reached for a weapon in an ankle holster, Angela did not hesitate to empty the entire magazine of her pistol into him.
James Penny rubbed his chin, “I guess that’s one way to tell him that he has the right to remain silent.”
As the captives were being led away, Angie recognized her step-mother standing with the kitchen staff and being held under guard. She yelled out, “Dad!” and rushed over to her step-mother with James right behind her. Karen was overcome with emotion when she saw her husband and step-daughter and collapsed into their comforting arms, “Oswalt told me that he would kill both of you if I tried to escape. I didn’t know what was going on in your lives, but I couldn’t take that chance.”
“His reign of terror is over, you’re safe now” James reassured his wife and wiped the tears from her face.
The ‘Anointed’ ceased to exist on that fateful night in Mexico. It was hard to know exactly what last thoughts flashed through Oswalt’s mind when he saw Angela standing before him. I’d like to think that one of them was that retribution has a pretty face.