Studying Hearts of Darkness
August 2, 2003 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Interview with Profiler Roy Hazelwood. Enough to make you feel a little less safer, and to marvel at both the "the infinity of darkness," the depths of potential monstrosity, and the ability of some to understand broken minds and bent hearts. "'If I were to give you each a test, could you take it the way you think this offender would take it?' We said yes.... Both of us came out as paranoid schizophrenics. The psychiatrist was astounded. We sat there and tried to take the test as we thought the guy we had in mind would take the test. "
posted by namespan (18 comments total)
This is a very interesting read! Thanks!
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:53 PM on August 2, 2003

A wealth of info, namespan. An amazing amount of gems and keepers. For example:

Will it ever be possible to figure out what goes into the development of violent fantasies so that we can devise some kind of prevention?

No. That's the short answer. The long answer is that you have all these people who have all these explanations for violence, but what they fail to consider is the individual. You could take Ted Bundy and identify every single incident in his life and say, "Wow! That makes a serial killer." No, it doesn't. You could take Roy Hazelwood and subject him to exactly those same occurrences, and he wouldn't be a serial killer. Why not? Because of individual make-up and personality characteristics. The same things will impact on Bundy differently than on you or me. You have to take into account the way these factors occur, when they occur, how they occur, the combination in which they occur, and how you assess it.

-and especially-

If you live alone, then you need to put a male voice on the answering machine. If you object to that, then have a dog barking in the background. If you don't own a dog, go next door and kick the neighbor's dog while making your recording. The biggest deterrent to burglars and rapists are dogs.

See also: Robert K Ressler (mentioned as "Bob" Ressler in the article.)

Thanks, namespan.
posted by Shane at 5:58 PM on August 2, 2003

Wow, what a fascinating and disturbing read. Thanks, good link.
posted by GriffX at 6:16 PM on August 2, 2003

Very interesting article. He mentions John Gerard Schaefer; here's a bizarre and disturbing interview with that man.
posted by squirrel at 6:59 PM on August 2, 2003

It is not the infliction of pain that is arousing to the sadist, but the victim's suffering. The sadist may use physical or psychological pain as a tool to elicit the suffering, but it is the suffering that is crucial to his arousal.

Jesus H. It just sank in. There are people who gain satisfaction, even sexual gratification, from the suffering and pain of other creatures. Not from inflicting this pain, but simply from watching and experiencing it.

Apply this to politics and history...
posted by Shane at 7:05 PM on August 2, 2003

[this is good]
posted by gd779 at 7:36 PM on August 2, 2003

I read about three chapters in, to the point where the interviewer asked him, "Have you seen anything you couldn't believe?" I probably should have stopped at that point. Investigators showed him a tape that they then destroyed because it was so horrible. Think "Boxing Helena" and "Buffalo Bill." Ergh.
posted by mecran01 at 7:13 AM on August 3, 2003

you mean the gynaecologist one? yeah pretty bizarre. Crime Library has some good stuff on it, if you're into reading about weird people. Some of the things people do are beyond belief.

Shane - it's funny, because while reading the article that thought also just sunk in with me too.

My favourite serial killer quote is :
"Killing is killing whether done for duty, profit or fun" - Ricardo Ramirez. apply that to politics and history!
posted by carfilhiot at 8:20 AM on August 3, 2003

Camilla Paglia favors the legalization of prostitution for an odd reason: people have a down on prostitution because the only prostitutes they ever see are the bottom of the barrel, the losers, the drug addicts--a minority. The successful prostitutes are never caught. They live happily ever after.

I suggest the same applies to serial killers. As effective as profiling might be for identifying mentally ill, bizarre individuals, what about those who are extremely homicidal, but otherwise normal and socially acceptable?

A lot of these people might be called "chronic", rather than "acute" killers; they may not revel in the pain or anguish of their victims--they may be very cold blooded, or even unthinking; and they probably also get no satisfaction and have no desire to mutilate the remains of their victims. Yet they kill, sometimes in batches. Maybe hundreds or thousands.

Before you wince when I write this: "Corporate Killers"--think about it. Not just "Big Tobacco", or the automotive industry, or the chemical industry, or the food industry, etc.

If you are in *any* position in such a company, from CEO to minimum wage employee, the opportunity might present itself to adulterate with poison, or to sabotage in such a way that the *corporation* will be blamed, and maybe fined. But you may get away with it, at worst being fired for incompetence.

The mindset here could be anything from a "prank" that gets out of control, to revenge on peers or bosses or the corporation itself that maybe spills over onto the public. Perhaps just greed or maybe something more insidious.

As an example, the "Angel of Death" nurses that kill patients--clearly homicide, but up until late, so borderline with "acceptable" euthanasia, that it was hardly noticed.
What about the group serial killings authorized and condoned by Firestone tire? People died in horrible, awful ways, but the people who enabled their murder, CEO through middle management, still walk around free--perhaps to kill again.
posted by kablam at 8:28 AM on August 3, 2003

Thanks a pantsload. I've now spent one hour and thirty-eight minutes compulsively clicking on one serial-killer link after another.

Will I never learn? Sigh.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:27 AM on August 3, 2003

98 minutes is not bad, adam

I think more than 100 mins would have earned you a complimentary FBI pin and a Hannibal Lecter fake tooth (perfect for Halloween), tho.

too bad, maybe next time
posted by matteo at 9:49 AM on August 3, 2003

Oh, yeah. And don't forget to visit Butch, Mon-Fri.
posted by kablam at 9:54 AM on August 3, 2003

A (profiler) once tried to test me... I ate his liver, with some fava beans and a nice Chianti...
posted by bwg at 10:32 AM on August 3, 2003

Shane - it's funny, because while reading the article that thought also just sunk in with me too.

And after writing that I immediately felt a little bit guilty for applying this so broadly to politics and history (similarly to what kablam did above). Sure, it's an accurate and fierce accusation, and we should all think about the mental health of people in high places with power over entire groups of people. But the true horror will always be the individual -- the young runaway or prostitute, picked up off the street and possibly never missed by anyone. Or the stray cat or dog, because sadists start off with animals. The truly lost. The things that are going on right now somewhere, and we know it, but there's not a damn thing in hell we can do. These are the thoughts that ruin my sleep (and sometimes my sanity.)
posted by Shane at 10:51 AM on August 3, 2003

But the true horror will always be the individual...

I'm not so sure I agree. I'm more horrified by movements than individuals. Of course, all it takes is one serial killer to put a damper on your afternoon. Still, those capable to orchestrating genocide on a scale of millions--think Germany or Rwanda--create what sounds to me like pretty true horror.
posted by squirrel at 8:03 PM on August 3, 2003

I'm with Shane, though, in that last eloquent post: the runaways and the "NHI" cases, those are the ones that shake me the worst in our various serial-killer narratives.

I guess it's the idea that one could become so unmoored in the world that you could go missing and not have anyone care or even notice: heartbreaking even before the added insult of butchery.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:20 PM on August 3, 2003

The last line of the interview is a recommendation of Robert Hare's book "Without Conscience."

What a great book. Like dying and going to heaven. All my dead relatives were there: Grandpa, Uncle Bob.

I got a used copy. know this 'cos it was autographed by my dad. He wrote inside, "Merry Christmas. Enjoy the recipes."
posted by basilwhite at 7:21 AM on August 4, 2003

Here's my question: if someone can so completely understand the reasoning of pathological people, why isn't the reasoning of relatively normal people so well understood? Is it like Tolstoi's statement that "all happy families are alike, but each unhappy family is unhappy in their own unique way"? except reversed -- healthy people are unique, unhealthy degenerate in similar ways?
posted by weston at 12:08 PM on August 4, 2003

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