On the CNN Blog

I recently read this entry on Bent Pedagogy. Today, Lisa Ort on the CNN Blog offers this insight on BTK (then I realized how it is that dominas actually get work, but that is another story):

While on assignment recently in Wichita, Kansas, I met Stephen Singular, the author of a new book, "Unholy Messenger: The Life and Crimes of the BTK Serial Killer." Singular spent a year digging through the personal history and motivations of Dennis Rader, aka the BTK killer, a subject we cover in tonight's show.

So what would possess a man to do what Rader did?

Singular said that when he looked in the BTK killer's childhood he learned that Rader would get aroused when his mother spanked him. When Rader visited his grandparents' farm, he would watch with fascination as chickens were being slaughtered. One day, he killed a cat. It may have been an accident, Singular said, but it was an event that had a lasting impact on Rader.

"I think it started the feeling of liking killing," Singular said. "I also think it's about power. It's about being something where you can see and feel a sense of power, and you can see and feel having an affect on the world around you."

Rader was in essence two different people: He was married, had kids, and was active in his church. On the outside, he was the stereotypical guy next door. But on the inside, he was another person, someone who killed ten people...

[full text on CNN Blog]


Hornblower said...

Some of Alice Miller's books explore this concept. I know some people got really upset with her because she says that Hitler was clearly abused as a child. Some consider that making excuses but I think there was in an interview with her where she says it's not about excuses but about understanding....

But it's an almost impossible discussion to have with a person who believes in spiritual correction b/e they just say that clearly the devil is working in this person and the devil was allowed to get in & not beaten out early enough. I'd argue that if there is a devil, he had been invited in & all the beatings were like a welcoming party.

la Maitresse said...

I do believe that it is, indeed, about understanding. We can create whatever story we wish to as a a cause or motivator to beating children (and please, parents, I do not mean spanking in the Leave It To Beaver sense). In the end, there is an effect. There is a huge dominatrix business that is propagated by men who wish to re-live the days when they were beaten as boys. And there are children who learn that beatings are a type of language. And they wind up speaking it way into adulthood.

I'd like to hear comments from anyone else?

S Bent said...

I don't really know what to do with that one. It absolutely has an impact, it's just hard to know the exact impact. In cases such as Hitler possibly and serial killers, I believe that there are more than one factor, but some sort of multiple abuses seem to be consistant.

The spiritual correction thing is a new phrase for me. Obviously, it's something that has been going on for a while (and not just with 'training' children), I've just never looked at it that way. But, it's exactly like hornblower said about the devil.

The thing that pisses me off most, as I've sat and tried to see a child as so flawed that they need a beating, is that it's VERY presumptious of a person and mighty arrogant to put themselves into the soul correcting business. Honestly, one would have to see themselves as perfect to decide that these lessons should be brutal in nature.