Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A new golden age of the Super Villain

In hindsight, it makes perfect sense. If the BTK serial killings went unsolved for so long, it had to be because the killer appeared to be not only above suspicion, but beyond it. He wasn't going to be running around in a black Snidely Whiplash cape and mustache, threatening to hogtie people to the train tracks. That's the kind of behavior that leads to early apprehension.

I guess what's creepy about it is that he had a relatively high profile in the community. He wasn't the sort of loony who escapes detection by minimizing his contacts with others and keeping to himself as much as possible. Evidently there were a lot of people who didn't like him:
Jason Day, 28, described the working-class neighborhood 7 miles north of Wichita as "very quiet. You'd never consider something like this happening here."

Day said his brother was in Rader's Cub Scout pack at the nearby Park City Baptist Church, but their mother pulled him out because of Rader.

"It was his demeanor," he said. "He was so strange."
I'm not going to waste much time wondering why any of it happened. Some people just aren't wired up right. Okay, maybe most people. I doubt that there are any really helpful lessons to be learned, except maybe for the one about how easy it is to be completely wrong about people—or about anything else. And that's what people really hate to be reminded about. You can't lead a sane life by worrying too much about what might be under the floorboards.

I always used to think that most criminals are in the racket because they think it'll be easier than holding down a job. (Of course, I also used to think that merely holding down a job was no major accomplishment.) Now I get the feeling that we're living in some kind of golden age of supervillains—terrorists, serial killers, corporate criminals and others who are ready to take the wrong road, to mess up people's lives even when it's going to be a whole lot of work to do so. Some of these guys are really dedicated. Single-minded. Motivated. Think what they could accomplish if they focused on getting a degree from DeVry or something.

If only they could all be like Chuck the Lazy Terrorist: "Today I start my campaign to bring civilization to its knees! (sighs) Oh jeez, I am so not up for this today. With the plotting and the planning and the stoking the fires of rage, I'm getting a headache. This bitter angry loner routine is exhausting. I wonder if there's any snacks left."


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