Monday, June 7, 2010

The Ultimate Criminal (and not in a good way)

Every profession, or walk of life, has its peak. Its zenith. Its Mount Everest. Or, in the case of crime, its Professor Moriarty.

For me, as a purely theoretical and intellectual matter, it's the serial killer, the movie-created genius a la Hannibal Lecter. Oh, right, you know that already, I've made no secret of my interest in these people.

Someone asked me the other day, a nice young man called James, if I'd ever met one. I haven't. I write about them in my fiction, and I've met a number of convicted murders (by "met" I mean spoken to, one-on-one, even though there's been thick glass between us). Five or six of them, and as I've written before, this one was the creepiest.

But no serial killers, despite my fascination. I need to make more of an effort, obviously.

Anyway, now I have a new outlet for my interest: Dexter. Have you seen it? A brilliant concept, executed flawlessly. To be fair, I've only seen the first three episodes, and I have a tendency to get bored with series and leave them midway through (Weeds, Sopranos, that one about advertising in the '50s, Lost. . .).

I think what has me hooked thus far is that the main character is your traditional sociopath, meaning he exhibits none of the emotions of empathy that you and I have. And yet, he uses his evil to combat evil. He's like a superhero, but . . . well, evil. I'm also very interested in the relationship he had with his father, who recognized his soullessness and tried to train him never to kill people who didn't "deserve" it. I suppose one would call that mitigating one's losses.

You'll know all this if you've seen the series, of course, and if you haven't I recommend it. The first three episodes, anyway. I'll be watching the fourth tonight.

And now I'm wondering have any of my readers met a serial killer? Are any of you serial killers? I promise I won't tell . . . .

3 comments:

  1. Richard HershbergerJune 9, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    I've just started watching the show, and am a few more episodes in than you are.

    I agree that much of it is very well done. The acting in particular is very good, and absolutely necessary for this sort of thing. My qualms come from the use of some of the standard cliches.

    We have the main character who sees things as they really are. Then we have the superior officer who is oblivious, and constantly interfering with the main character (in this via his sister). Where have we seen this before? In only about half of the cop shows ever made.

    At this point this is only a minor annoyance and I am sticking with the show, but it is a cloud on the horizon. We will see.

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  2. My only contact with a killer, perhaps a serial killer, is a young man I knew when we were both 16 or so. John Kelly Gentry, Jr., was muscular with an odd, violent quality about him. His mother and sister were nice; I never knew his father.

    Check the links here and here.

    In one case John tried to cover his tracks by turning on the gas to the furnace without the pilot light being lit and leaving a candle burning on the floor. When the gas rises to the candle flame - Boom! This would have worked but the candle went out and the fire dept. handled the gas filled basement neatly.

    I know that John enlisted in the US Navy but could not make it through boot camp. He was discharged as general under honorable. The warning sign here is that boot camp is designed for everyone. Everyone goes in; everyone gets remodeled; everyone musters out. One way or another, John couldn't make it.

    John threatened my life once, which I reported to the police. They scoffed at the idea that the threat was serious, saying that John was just a little punk. Right.

    John's still missing, and my feeling is that he's likely dead. I don't think he could keep his life straightened out for this long without a major mishap of some kind. He likely crossed the wrong person who punched his ticket and dropped him in the ocean.

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  3. As a close relative of one of his victims, I can only hope that he was fish bait.

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