The Face of A Serial Killer

Today as I was wand’ring around blogdom, I came across a “mommy” blog  critiquing some classic childhood books. The critique was not limited to the actual story and illustrations, but the physical appearance of the illustrator of one particular book, written in 1948.

After tsk-tsking about the fact that the illustrator’s photo showed him posed with a cigarette in hand, the blogger then said “He looks creepy! He looks like a serial killer or child molester or something!” (not an exact quote, and I don’t want to link to the blog and give her any more attention.)

My first response is – Wow, how immature. That’s a great example to set for your kid…make fun of someone’s physical appearance, something he has no control over. Frankly, I’d rather let my kid see pictures of the Marlboro man. By the time you are a mother critiquing the value of classic children’s lit, you should be beyond poking fun at someone’s face.

The Face of A Killer

The Face of A Killer

My second response is – has she ever seen a serial killer? One of our most prolific and vile serial killers, responsible for the deaths of at least 30 women (possibly many more) was Ted Bundy.

He was very, very handsome. He was active in local politics, he was a volunteer for a suicide hotline (and in fact, worked side by side for a time with famous true crime author Ann Rule). At first glance, charming Ted was the next candidate for mayor, not the electric chair.

Or how about Gary Ridgway, the infamous Green River Killer? He was found guilty of murdering at least 48 women over a span of 20 years. What did he look like?

He was just an ordinary guy. In fact, he looked like a guy I used to work with at a supermarket years

Green River Running Red

Green River Running Red

ago. His wife had no clue that the happy, smiling, loving man she lived with for so long was out murdering prostitutes, sometimes even in their own home. Read her story here.

Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer, was a handsome kid and at the time of his arrest, looked more like a high school English professor, rather than a brutal maniac.

What does a child molester look like? Sure, the pictures on Megan’s Law websites are pretty scary – but so are driver’s license photos. In real life, the guy next door, your brother in law, your father, your husband, your pastor, your priest, your scout master is what a child molester looks like.

I left a rather snippy comment on her blog – the jist of it was to not judge a book by its cover.


One thought on “The Face of A Serial Killer

  1. It is scary that even with all the information available some people still think that they are safe as long as they only trust “nice looking” people.
    Good for you on the judging comment!

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