Sunday, October 10, 2010

The BTK Killer and Criminals

I saw this movie yesterday, The hunt for the BTK killer, which got me thinking. But before i elaborate on what I thought let me give you the facts (if you dont trust me for complete facts are available on wiki at ).

The BTK killings were a spree of killings spanning broadly 1974-91, after which there was a hiatus till about 2004 whcih is when he recommenced communicating with the police and media (he used to in his active years periodically send information about his killings to the media and/or police so as to spread terror with the signature BTK to authenticate it. He was apprehended in 2005 when he believing floppies to be untraceable decided to communicate using floppies.

BTK describes the murderer Dennis Rader's modus operandi which was basically bind, torture and kill. He reffered to his victims as "projects" and divided the individual murders into 4 phases (1) Trollin: when he roamed the streets/ neighborhoods for victims;

(2) Stalking: when he locked onto a particular victim he got to know as much as he could about her, he admitted to becoming more comfortable with the act once he knew them better

(3) Killing: which he usually did by strangulation

(4) Post killing: when he worked on spreading the information to the public via the police or media, he wrote elaborate letters enclosing personal artifacts to authenticate the claim. 

He was an average american, community college et al, with a brief stint in the air force and foreign deputations there as well and upon return working initially as a stores clerk and then getting a degree in "administration of justice" (ironically) and working as a compliance officer for the state as a dog catcher. Most interestingly he was the President of the church council at the local church. Even his wife did not realise he was the killer, she admitted (to him in fact) to have been praying for the BTK killer to have died and was shocked and expressed her fear at his return in 2004.

He had his own children, in fact he stated he resurfaced because his children had grown up and left leaving him with extra time.

All this brings me to my point...

Are killers or even criminals, necessarily as we perceive them, large types with dysfunctional lives history of substance abuse or at the very least unemployed or employed as something lowly (not that anythings lowly but arguendo). How far are we entitled to be secure in the notion that the man next door CANNOT be a criminal or a serial killer? The example of BTK would drive us to the conclusion that we are not to be secure in such notions and indeed some holier than thou type soul reading this right now would consider me naive or soemthing, but truthfully how often HAVE we been on guard in a room that was filled with people of our own "standing" in society who dressed and looked just like us? 

Which brings me to the other point of the spectrum, should we live in fear at all? Afraid of everyone in the streets of every soul rich poor old young? When will we then start living? What is this life if full of caring and looking over your shoulder?

Indeed it would seem Davies Leisure ought to now be modified to read,

What is this life so full of care

We have no safety to stand and stare


and perhaps end at,

A poor life this if, full of doubt,
We're ever ready to drop and shout.

Decisions...decisions.....what does one do argh!

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