It makes me happy. You put that in the paper, Dad will be mad.
February 25, 2015 2:20 AM   Subscribe

 
Wow. Hard read. I'm out.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:50 AM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Great read; fascinating subject. Thanks for posting - I would not have seen that elsewhere.

She's incredibly strong and brave. I am not even close to figuring out the whole forgiveness thing yet and I've never had anything near that colossal to forgive. A very moving story of tremendous courage.
posted by Punctual at 4:22 AM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow. Similar to that story about the daughter of the rapist killer truck driver in the northwest.

This writer is terrible, though. Nearly unreadable prose, and it was nearly impossible to keep straight who was talking about whom and when.
posted by clvrmnky at 4:36 AM on February 25, 2015 [16 favorites]


He appears to be, not "a good dad who does bad things" but one of the vilest bastards on earth - and complacently unrepentant. His daughter might well wish to believe he can be forgiven, but he simply hasn't made it possible. I don't think pretending it is possible will really work.
posted by Segundus at 4:40 AM on February 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


Wow indeed. I can't really say anything in response to the article. It just is.

I thought the writing was fine. It certainly works as an interesting meditation on the nature of forgiveness. I'm not saying you're wrong Segundus, but I would venture that you may have missed the point of the article.
posted by Alex404 at 4:46 AM on February 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


He appears to be, not "a good dad who does bad things" but one of the vilest bastards on earth - and complacently unrepentant. His daughter might well wish to believe he can be forgiven, but he simply hasn't made it possible. I don't think pretending it is possible will really work.

She was quoted toward the end of the article as stating, I forgave him. But I didn’t do that for him. I did it for me.

I think that it's very important to recognize that she was a victim too, and forgiveness was a way for her to begin to heal. But from my reading of the article, it doesn't seem that her forgiveness of her father means she believes he is absolved of his crimes. She certainly doesn't seem like a self-deceiving fool, to be blunt--as the article puts it, she talks of forgiveness but can’t talk about 'him' without swearing.
posted by dubitable at 4:59 AM on February 25, 2015 [26 favorites]


wow. what a tragic story. it never ceases to amaze me how the human brain (in some) has the capacity to compartmentalize like that. that a person can brutally murder a family one night, and be a good husband and father the next. blows my mind.
posted by rude.boy at 5:56 AM on February 25, 2015


My heart goes out to this poor woman. The paragraph re her pap test results being used to match against semen left at one of the BTK murders - what a violation. I can't even imagine what she felt when she learned this, and I wonder if there was truly no other way for the FBI to confirm that her father was the BTK killer.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:31 AM on February 25, 2015 [9 favorites]


it never ceases to amaze me how the human brain (in some) has the capacity to compartmentalize like that. that a person can brutally murder a family one night, and be a good husband and father the next.

Narcisissm. He sees the family as an extension of himself; he has no real relationship to them as other, real people.
posted by thelonius at 6:38 AM on February 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


*shudder*
I have such a hard time accepting the reality that people like the BTK killer are real.
I have a hard time coping with the proximity and existence of people like Russell Williams, Paul Bernardo, or Robert Pickton.
I can't glance at the details of the acts without welling up in tears.

I need to go hug my daughter.
posted by Theta States at 6:49 AM on February 25, 2015


Not sure that narcisissm is the answer. Narcisists are terrible, terrible parents, and their children know it. This guy apparently said and did the right things when he was with his family, whatever his reasons were.
posted by YAMWAK at 6:49 AM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Every once in awhile, I wonder what my life would be like if I found out that horror-movie things, like evil ghosts or mutant monsters or something, were real. Like, how would I be able to trust anything in the world if that basic fact (spooky things are just stories) was overturned. I imagine that would be nothing compared to what this woman goes through every day since discovering the monster she's related to.
posted by xingcat at 6:55 AM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


One can only empathize with a daughter put in such a position after a horrific revelation about a parent. However, when Dennis Rader, who once called himself by the acronym for "Bind Torture Kill", refers to himself as "a good Dad, (but only did bad things)", one must remember that serial killers are not just sadistic and murderous, but also typically narcissistic and manipulative.

Would a "good Dad" choking his son in a fit of rage, to give only the least appalling example from this article? He's not "a good Dad" who "only did bad things"—this poorly written article under-reports the scope of his horrible crimes—he's a multiple-murderer who acted out the part of a stable if controlling father while killing ten people, stalking many more potential victims, taunting the police, and reveling in the media's attention. He got away with his crimes for so long precisely because he could camouflage himself in ordinariness while terrorizing his home town for over a decade and a half. Out of sheer egotism, Rader himself provided the breakthrough in his case because he wanted to get more attention from the local Fox TV station.

It's one thing for the Eagle to let his daughter have her say about her tragic experience—the testimony of his victims' families is heart-rending as well—but quite another to give Rader any more time in the spotlight. He's only trying to change his version of himself from his self-titled "The BTK Story", with his illustrations like "The Sexual Thrill Is My Bill", to a compartmentalized "good Dad" with "Dark Secrets" like something out of Dexter.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:15 AM on February 25, 2015 [13 favorites]


This was an amazing article to read. I have been betrayed in far less damaging ways and yet, I find it so difficult to forgive. This woman is incredibly brave.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:17 AM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I realize it's a story that includes a serial murderer, but I think it could use a trigger warning; I was not expecting that level of detail about his crimes.

Which seems irresponsible in a story about the effects of trauma, really. Kerri's story is really interesting, and it deserved a less sensationalistic writer.
posted by jaguar at 7:17 AM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow, that was incredible and tragic. I don't know what else to say. I don't know how some humans can do things like that to other humans. I just don't understand.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:47 AM on February 25, 2015


FTA: "Memories colored"

Ya think?

"But BTK had been a good dad, Parker said. Even when every word he said was a lie."

That's the interesting thing, any good he did was made even more revolting by his being a serial killer. In retrospect, how would one feel about being disciplined (go to your room!)? Bit scary really.
But I can see how the nice stuff would be worse: getting ice cream, watching a movie with popcorn, all that.


"I imagine that would be nothing compared to what this woman goes through every day since discovering the monster she's related to."


I have a bit of parenting conflict with my wife over this stuff. My kids are aware of the Slenderman and so forth, and I play with them with the ghosts and boogieman stuff. Tell scary stories.
On the one hand, it's tough because the younger ones don't want to go to bed after that. On the other hand, I think it prepares kids more for genuine monsters. Much in the way believing in, say, Santa Claus prepares kids for the abstract concepts of giving and empathy, etc.
Not that I've said Santa or the Slenderman is real, but rather explained them as a sort of embodiment of those abstract concepts. Santa is 'real', I explain, in the sense that we use him as a symbol of a time of the year when we reaffirm the importance of giving, etc. and that there are many other symbols and embodiments people use (much like tools or thought experiments) to reflect these kinds of things.

One learns how to deal with fear though stories of such things.

And of course the fact that they're such obvious fabrications helps. There's no realistic way a fat guy in a big red coat fits down a chimney in the first place much less makes it around the world at FTL speed delivering gifts. And growing into that awareness of the difference between reality and symbolism is part of growing up.

Likewise, one day I heard my daughter (youngest) say to her friend that if the Slenderman were real, parents everywhere would hunt him down and kill him. Which, yeah. We pay in to gigantic apparatuses (apparatus?) to destroy, imprison, etc. enemies (from police, to military to private security), beyond the vigilance parents normally have (perhaps hypervigilance when it comes to the man in the bushes in some cases, but warranted or not, it's the reality).

So she's growing up with the sense of where monsters place in the world. And all kids do one way or another regardless of the paths taken. Whether hunting down real ones or revealing the mature realities of pretend boogiemen to destroy the illusion of their potence.

All that to illustrate the depth of betrayal a child (of any age) must feel finding out a parent is secretly in reality one of those monsters. I can think of no way to dispel that.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:57 AM on February 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


This has the beginnings of a book that gets turned into a movie; JK Simmons would make an excellent BTK.
posted by Renoroc at 8:17 AM on February 25, 2015


I can't imagine. I just can't imagine.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:21 AM on February 25, 2015


Ooof. "bad man hurt mummy". That's breaking my heart.
posted by trif at 8:54 AM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I feel alone in thinking that quite apart from how someone treats their family (Rader could have been the kindest, gentlest, most engaged father in all of history), what defines you in a role as central as "Dad" is the totality of how you carry yourself. By definition, for me, no matter how he treated his family, a serial killer cannot be a good Dad.
posted by OmieWise at 10:03 AM on February 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


The really creepy thing about Rader's talking in that sentencing hearing is how much he identifies himself and his family with the victims. If I were his child, it would definitely keep me up at night.
posted by corb at 11:59 AM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it's absolutely normal, even expected, that one have totally different rules for how one behaves with one's own family as opposed to others. Of course most of us don't murder other people's family. But we ignore them when they are in need, we let them suffer injustice without speaking up, we avoid interactions with strangers without feeling like we need an excuse or like we are falling short of some obligation.

In fact, I'd say that most family loyalty is fundamentally selfish (even amoral beasts of prey are capable of it) and putting it in the "compassion for humanity" box is giving ourselves far too much credit.
posted by idiopath at 1:35 PM on February 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


First let me say my heart goes out to Kerri Rawson. And also, urrrgh. I read too much for my own good about BTK back when he resurfaced, and one thing (among many things) I always thought about was his wife and daughter, and what they were probably subject to in their lives with such a sadistic filthy loathsome excuse for a human being. I never expected to hear that well actually, he was a really good popcorn-sharing treehouse-building loving dad, and despite understanding how everyone – but especially people who do insanely monstrous things – can compartmentalize different parts of their lives, it's still twisting my brain.

I don't think his wife has ever said that well, he was actually a peachykeen husband (as far as I know?), and doubt we'll ever hear that from her or get that side of this story at all, whatever it is. (Not that I blame her at all for choosing not to do the whole lurid first-person if-it-bleeds-it-leads exploitative thing that I imagine so many media sources were/are trying to extract from her. I just wonder how much she thought he was super okay as a husband and dad.)
posted by taz at 2:00 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is not something I talk about frequently, but I have had some friends who ended up committing war crimes while deployed. All of them were never charged, and so even when the friendships died, I have gotten to see them interacting with their families and friends and have been close with their wives.

For the most part, even the ones who have committed the most horrific war crimes are stand-up guys. They're great husbands and fathers - maybe even better husbands and fathers than the ones I know who didn't commit war crimes, as though their families were more precious to them, or maybe that they knew they didn't quite deserve to have those loving families anymore, I'm not sure. But they definitely compartmentalized. They thought of the Iraqis as not human, and so they were able to draw a bright line between what they did and who they were at home.

You can't tell the monsters by how they interact with the people they love. Even monsters kiss their children at night. Maybe especially monsters kiss their children at night, because they never know when it will be the last time.
posted by corb at 2:12 PM on February 25, 2015 [11 favorites]


To link her dad to BTK, they’d obtained one of Kerri’s Pap smears from years before at Kansas State University’s health clinic.

I'm all for catching killers, but WTF? Someone can save your pap smear and hand it over to someone else without your permission?? Seriously, WTF??
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:17 PM on February 25, 2015 [5 favorites]


The police obtained a subpoena based on a bunch of evidence they had against Rader. It does seem strange that you can subpoena something from a different person since they had no probable cause against the daughter. I wonder how they handwaved that? Was it simply a matter of inter arma enim silent leges?
posted by Justinian at 2:32 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Indeed. While, obviously, there is something very wrong with this dude, liminality is universal. We've all put the things we have done in a box. Sometimes those things are expected at the time. Sometimes they are wild and wrong, but within a liminal framework they make sense

In other words, liminality is transgression. And transgression, I assert, is more about the transgressed than the transgressor.

Hence, the power of this story.

I want to make it excruciatingly clear: I am not excusing or accepting this particular transgression. I'm saying we have the right and context to say "way too far, way too much, way too wrong". And we rightly banish those who can't see this difference.

But this article was about how this liminality can give us this impossible duality: a man who can enact the ultimate transgression, and the family man.

Impossible, of course. But there you have it.
posted by clvrmnky at 4:02 PM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Someone can save your pap smear and hand it over to someone else without your permission??

Not a ton more info, and still creepy.
It was one thing to identify a suspect in the case, but it was something else to advance that person to the level of primary suspect. With additional investigation required for an arrest, there was concern about the possibility of alerting the suspect. A quiet but intensive background investigation on Rader was initiated and members of the task force conceived a unique approach to identifying Dennis Rader as a suspect using DNA from one of his two adult children. The task force obtained a subpoena for his daughter’s medical records. As a result of that subpoena, a biological sample was located, and on February 22 the sample was taken to the KBI lab for DNA analysis. The results showed that BTK was indeed the biological father of Rader’s daughter.
posted by jaguar at 4:18 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


For the most part, even the ones who have committed the most horrific war crimes are stand-up guys. They're great husbands and fathers - maybe even better husbands and fathers than the ones I know who didn't commit war crimes

I don't really think you can say this as an outside observer. You can never tell from the outside what's going on in other people's relationships and families.
posted by JenMarie at 4:22 PM on February 25, 2015


Also I think "committed the most horrific war crimes" and "are stand-up guys" cannot go together by definition.
posted by JenMarie at 4:23 PM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


(God) told me, ‘you have a Dad problem, you have a trust and obedience problem. You trusted and obeyed your earthly father and he hurt you, so now you’re holding out on me. You have been holding out on me for seven years.

There isn't a single thing that isn't utterly debased about this kind of theology.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:52 PM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


[Do not make the discussion personal, thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:51 PM on February 25, 2015


Are Pap samples generally kept indefinitely?

If her mom was pregnant with her in 1977, she's about my age, and I went to K-State and went to Lafene for my health care. I never thought about it, but I just assumed a clinic wouldn't have samples from a student who attended 6 years or so prior on hand to run tests on.
posted by rewil at 5:53 PM on February 25, 2015


What a hard read--but a very well-written article. The ending packed a punch, too.
posted by purplesludge at 6:06 PM on February 25, 2015


Are Pap samples generally kept indefinitely?

State laws vary, but most medical records need to be kept seven to 10 years, and for minors, seven to 10 years after they've reached adulthood. I assume pap smears are kept as storable slides that would just stay with the medical records, though I could be wrong on that.
posted by jaguar at 6:41 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


The police obtained a subpoena based on a bunch of evidence they had against Rader.

Isn't the doctor patient relationship privileged? I would hve thought you couldn't subpoena medical records.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:01 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Medical (and therapy) records can be subpoenaed and court-ordered, yes.
posted by jaguar at 7:21 AM on February 26, 2015


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