Originally posted by chissler
I would have to disagree as well.
The B.T.K. and Zodiac went as far as publicly taunting local law enforcement and using media outlets as platforms to spread their terror. I'd
disagree with the statement that they acted in obscurity through their years.
Firstly,Thanks for replying to my post. I think i did say that
many of the most well know serial killers acted in relative obscurity. Not all serial killers. But you bring up some interesting behaviour and i think
it is important to point out that taunting authorities as a characteristc of OM, their motives and identity remain unknown, vague, unclear, hard to
percieve or in other words obscure.
I know in relation to the Zodiac killings that the letters started some time after the first two killings. There have been many questions raised
as to the motives of the letters, and indeed the murders themselves. Mr R Graysmith and others pointed to Arthur Allens possible guilt and questioned
those murders that followed the original as a possible diversion, which would also include the use of the media. In this case it is interesting to
note that the media derived the name Zodiac from the killers letters after asking the author of the letters for more details. The media facilitated
the killer by giving him an avenue of influence over how he was to be percieved by the public. If in this case, the killer was motivated to taunt
authorities why did he choose the media as a communicative device? Was he using these taunts to obscure his actions, his motives and his identity?
As for BTK, this man was chaacterised by his ego-maniacal behaviour. His behaviour in taunting the media and police is consistent, what deviates
and makes him different is that his ego was fueled by killing, and by the way he killed. Interestingly, he also named himself via the letters. BTK.
Like Zodiac, the media took up this moniker. If you look at other cases, geography is typically found in names ie. Hillside and Boston stranglers,
Green River. Or media driven names derived from victim profiles...Co-ed Killer, Backpacker Murderer, Granny Killer(australian serial killers) as the
police or media has no other terms of reference.
You bring up an excellent point by asking what role the media plays in how we percieve these individual. I think we should look at how mass media
is influenced and used by police as well as by Serial Killers as a tool of engagement and communication. A case in point is the Son of Sam Murders.
Berkowitz was incensed by police being quoted in the media, saying he was a women hater who was a social reject, this led to his letter at the murder
scene at the April 17, 1977 shootings.
Berkowitz, Ridgeway, DeSalvo... not everyone would recognize these names. But Son of Sam, Green River Killer, and the Boston Strangler are a little
more common. If these individuals acted in obscurity, why were they publicly branded with such catchy names? The media pushed these individuals from
obscurity to infamy with their catchy names.
As i said before the very nature of these crimes inspired infamy due to the deviant acts and killing. Berkowitz, Ridgeway and Delsalvo did
not kill to become famous. It was a result of these action, which they performed in an obscure fashion. Did any of these want to be caught? While
enjoying anonymity and the effects(a percieved power or superiority) of their actions on the public, being labelled or having their deeds widely
reported may have inspired unforseen pleasures for these criminals, they were not the core driving motivators for the killings and i think they should
be viewed as consequences, not original to the causes.
You have to remember, that these criminals acted first, people then report on their actions. Through repetition of these deviant acts and the
subsequent reporting, fear grows. Their actions gain Notoriety. In the cases above, the original acts all had other motives other than to gain media
or mainstream attention. An attention that was inevitable given the range of deviant behaviour displayed by these individuals.
It might be interesting for you to note that the Son of Sam Murders saved a Rupert Murdoch publication from going bankrupt do to increasd sales.
Is it the killers driving the media or us.