Serial Killers and Society

The nineteen-seventies was an incredible decade. It was a

decade of change, one of freedom, a time for great music. It was also

an incredible decade for shock, fear and serial killers. John Wayne

Gacy, an amateur clown, was a pedophiliac homosexual. He tortured and

killed thirty three little boys and stored their remains under his

house. David Berkowitz, a.k.a. the Son of Sam, stalked New York City

from nineteen-sixty-seven to nineteen-seventy-seven. He claimed to

have been following a voice from his dog that told him when and where

to kill. Ted Bundy, who is believed to have killed at least

thirty-four people, was charged for only three under his own defense-

and in fact, he was commended by the judge for his own defense. He was

put to death.

With the combination of a very powerful media and a society

fascinated with gruesome, sadistic crimes, modern serial killers have

been put in the spotlight. We are enraptured with serial killers so

much, that we pay seven dollars to go see a movie where everyone

except the bad guys gets strangled, mutilated, or shot- and enjoy it

in some sick way. The media goes out of its way to glamorize murder

and terrify the public. We support killers like Charles Manson on

Death Row with our tax dollars. In fact, we support them with more

than that. About two months ago there was an art show in California

entitled: The Death Row Art Show III. Pieces sold for thousands of

dollars regardless of their aesthetic appeal, because of the identity

of the artists. Serial killers are becoming as popular as rock stars.

Serial killers are a development of the industrial world; they

really didn't "come about" until the late eighteen-hundreds when

society was becoming modernized and the threat of the new age sort of

displaced some individuals so much they felt they had to kill to get

their point across to society. Jack the Ripper is probably the most

notorious killer in history because he established the serial killer

profile. Ripper set up a pattern for the new line of mass murderers

who would follow in the tradition of a truly organized killer. He had

a sexual obsession with prostitutes that led him to target complete

strangers for a days work. When he was done, he laid his victim out in

a ritualistic manner with various disemboweled items placed

strategically on or around the victim's corpse.

Of course, murder has been around for centuries, committed by

under-educated thieves. No one was interested in meeting, and hearing

about a poor peasant that slit someones throat in a dark alley. But

ever since the introduction of serial killers into our society, with

their precision and strategy of the murder, the media became

fascinated with these people, and so did society. So instead of

killing or punishing these horrible people, we now have television

networks arguing over movie rights to the killers story. News shows

fighting to get the "exclusive interview". T-shirts with the killers

faces on them(e.g.. the famous "Manson T-shirt"). The only explanation

I can offer is that we are still obsessed with our own mortality, and

we always will be. As long as we die, we'll be fascinated by those who

seem to be invincible from death like, serial killers, Hitler...its

almost as is we like to see the act of death itself, over and over, to

observe the exact moment- or what it is that puts us over that

incredible brink between life and death.

I can honestly say I am fascinated with the serial killer. But

since when did we condone the practice of serial killers? Why aren't

they put to death promptly after being convicted, instead of being

kept alive for the media to interview? You have to wonder who is

making money in this. When we allow people like this to dominate our

media, it's like we're saying its all right to murder. Did society and

the media forget that the victims of those serial killers are us and

our families? Its not the serial killers that affected the twentieth

century so much, but the spotlight that allowed them to grow.

Maybe if not for all the attention, there wouldn't of been so

many deaths. There are so many maybes, so many problems. But it all

comes down to one thing, basically,