February 2, 2016

Bundy and the Pornography Connection

Pornography made him do it!

Last month was the 27th anniversary of the execution of Ted Bundy.  Hard to believe.  I remember watching the news and seeing footage of Starke, with the groups of people cheering once that white flag was raised (even setting off fireworks) and then attempting to storm the hearse transporting his body.  People can be so bizarre, can't they?

In any event, back during Bundy's final days, in between talking to investigators from multiple states about their open missing persons cases, he met with James Dobson.  Dobson is an evangelical Christian and author and perhaps best known for his "Focus on the Family" organization.  I have nothing against Dobson and think he was being genuine in his attempt to seek out what caused Bundy to be, well, Bundy (i.e., an intelligent and charming yet murderous dirtbag) but I think he got played by a master manipulator.

Bundy claimed that violent pornography led him to abduct, rape and murder more than thirty females.  (Thirty is the official number but I personally believe his victim count was likely closer to a hundred.)  But I digress. 

According to Ted, the process was a gradual one in which he eventually began to fuse sex and violence and that led him to act upon those fantasies.  If his first victim was Ann Marie Burr in 1961, when Ted was fifteen, what pornography was he viewing?  There was no internet, there were no VCRs or DVD players.  There were magazines and I think those are what he saw, like many teenage boys.  There was also his maternal grandfather (also purported to be his biological father) who it was revealed was a cruel, sociopathic individual that abused not only his wife and daughters but also the family pets.  Perhaps not surprisingly, Ted remembers this grandfather in a rosy Santa Claus type way.  While the grandfather never abused young Ted, he allowed his temper to erupt in front of him by abusing others.  Worse, he kept a stash of snuff-type magazines that a young Ted allegedly devoured.

Snuff type materials could absolutely do a number on a young, impressionable mind . . . especially one that is already dysfunctional and prone to violence as I think Bundy's was.  It sounds cliché but I think Bundy was just born bad, period.  His exposure to a violent father figure early in life did not help matters but I think even if he had been raised by Santa Claus or James Dobson, he still would have turned out to be a serial killer.  Murder ran in Bundy's blood, it was the greatest passion in his life and one he likely considered his greatest accomplishment.

Bundy's claim for blame with regard to pornography seems disingenuous when you consider that he never brought up pornography or an addiction to it prior to his interview with Dobson.   He clearly wanted to discuss "why" with Robert Keppel, the Washington State investigator that Bundy seemed to admire, but Keppel had little use for the "why," instead wanting closure for the families of girls still missing.  Even when talking to authors Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth, in which Bundy described his murders in the third person, pornography was never mentioned.   Alcohol was mentioned; Bundy claimed he needed to be drunk to commit his disgusting acts in order to quiet that rational part of his mind but never did pornography enter the equation.

I believe his liberal use of alcohol although he probably would have committed the crimes drunk or sober.  The Bundy of 1974 appeared to be far more calculated and cunning compared to the sloppy, unorganized Bundy of 1978.  Was alcohol to blame?  Did it help or hinder his cause? 

It's unfortunate that Florida authorities did not realize who and what they were dealing with when they captured Bundy in 1978.  After begging the arresting officer to kill him on the spot, he was at his psychologically weakest and very likely would have confessed all, to the right person and with the right prompts.  Washington, Utah and Colorado (where Bundy escaped from less than two months prior) investigators wanted to haul ass to the Sunshine State and advised their Floridian counterparts on how to handle Bundy but their advice was ignored.  Tragic, really. 

So why did Bundy blame pornography?  Because he had a captive audience with Dobson?  Was he trying to play the victim?  Was he trying to keep any attention or blame from his own family and their dysfunctional dynamics?  Was it because he was desperate to know what made him tick and desperate to find something to blame for his sickening behavior?   Or was it just a con artist, realizing that once he was executed he would quickly fade from public consciousness, scrambling to stay relevant and create yet more controversy? 

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