When I was a kid my parents told me that I had to watch out for the Boogeyman if I misbehaved or went outside after dark. This is something that parents used to tell their children to encourage good behavior and discourage them from wandering outside without permission. This myth began centuries ago in Europe where the Boogeyman was another name for the devil. Well, this creature used by parents as a scare tactic may not be real, but there are very dangerous monsters that are real and walk among us. I once came close to meeting one.
On June 26, 1977, I was living in Queens, New York City, just a few blocks from a disco club called Elephas. I walked near and past that club all the time. On that night Sal Lupo and Judy Placido met at Elephas. Judy was being bothered by some guy that kept hitting on her. Sal stepped in to help by pretending to be her boyfriend. It was after three in the morning, so the two decided to leave together just in case. They went outside and sat in Sal’s car with the windows up because it was raining.
Suddenly, there were loud sounds and glass breaking. Judy and Sal had been shot by the infamous.44 caliber killer. The shots stopped and the perpetrator was gone. Sal and Judy were injured, but alive. Others weren’t so fortunate. Later identified as David Berkowitz and arrested on August 10, 1977, their attacker killed six people and injured nine others in eight separate attacks. The press nicknamed him the ‘Son of Sam’.
David Berkowitz claimed that his neighbor’s dog gave him orders to kill. That’s how he interpreted the animal’s all night barking sessions. If the dog kept barking after one of Berkowitz’s attacks, the Son of Sam believed that he was being ordered to kill more people. The dog’s name was Sam. Unfortunately, those attacks are not unique in the history of crime.
The FBI estimates that at least 50 serial killers are operating in the U.S. today. A perpetrator has to murder at least three people in order to be considered a Serial Killer. By that standard there are probably more like 500 serial killers currently active throughout the nation. Why? Because it is difficult to identify them. Some, like the infamous Zodiac Killer have never been identified or captured.
Zodiac operated in Northern California from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. Five deaths are directly linked to him, with 28 others suspected. He claimed to have murdered a total of 37 people in taunting letters to the police and newspapers. The total number of victims for others is much higher. Andrei Chikatilo, a.k.a. The Red Ripper, confessed to the murders of 56 women and children between 1978 and 1990 in the Russian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and the Uzbek SSR.
Psychiatrists that have had the opportunity to personally speak with captured serial killers have discovered that they all suffer from Antisocial Personality Disorder. In 2017 the Mayo Clinic explained the behavior of people with ASPD this way: “People with antisocial personality disorder tend to antagonize, manipulate or treat others harshly or with callous indifference. They show no guilt or remorse for their behavior. Individuals with antisocial personality disorder often violate the law, becoming criminals.”
Serial Killers live in the real world, but maintain a surreal world that belongs exclusively to them. In their world they justify murder as the sensible solution to whatever need they have or mission they must fulfill. That world is their secret identity and they will do anything to protect it. Those that don’t get caught tend to be highly intelligent and able to control themselves to the extent that they try to stay off police radar. Their greatest weapon again being captured is that they tend to kill randomly.
If police or feds cannot connect the dots when it comes to the victims and locations, there isn’t a lot else they can do except hope that a tip from the public will bring some results. Random crimes involving rape, murder and physical assault to steal is not just a problem for police, it can affect any of us at any time. The best way to avoid these situations is to know more about those likely to commit the crimes, where they might occur and what you can do to stay safe.
Because serial killers suffer from ASPD and are experts at hiding their secret identities, we can assume they can be anyone. If someone new comes into your personal life or work, practice persistence. Wait a long while before responding to any invitation from that person that will result in you being alone with them for any amount of time. Serial killers and most rapists are impatient. If you say no to invitations to have a meal together, go out on a date or just meet socially after work, they will move on to someone else less cautious.
If you live in a town that is not a city and it is located near a major highway, you and your loved ones need to be extra careful. This isn’t your great grandparents’ USA anymore. Early morning hours, late night hours and dinnertime hours are when killers and rapists hunting in rural areas tend to strike. Jogging by yourself has become too great a threat for women and men. Go out to social events in groups and set a curfew for yourself and others in your family. Don’t fall into a Bundy Trap. Serial Killer Ted Bundy wore a fake arm sling and asked women for help getting something in or out of his vehicle.
Knowing the types of traps that serial killers and rapists use is very helpful in staying safe, so practice due diligence and learn all you can. Knowledge is your best weapon against these criminals. You will not only keep yourself and your family safe; you will help your friends and coworkers stay safe by helping them to avoid situations that might put them in danger. For more, visit http://cknell.tripod.com/serial.html