The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy by Stephen G. Michaud
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Having worked with the Dept. of Corrections as a teacher, I have always been fascinated by the workings of the criminal mind. I know from teaching that most criminals see the world differently from the ordinary citizen. In working with delinquents, I realized that "right and wrong" have different meaning to most of them; "right" is what I get by with, and "wrong" is what I get caught at. If I left my purse out unattended, it was my fault if someone stole from me. I didn't deserve to have my personal belongings unmolested because I had been stupid.
Most of those behaviors can be traced back to an environment that inadvertently taught those behaviors. The mind of a serial killer, however, is different, and yet we have very little information as to why. Because Bundy was intelligent and loved to talk about himself, we have the best glimpse into his incomprehensible mind. In listening to the stories of older inmates I taught, I began to see that, while there was there was little choice once a pattern of behavior was started, there was always a point where the person did have a choice. It was the snowball rule...it was hard to stop the snowball once it was rolling down the hill, but there was always a point back at the top of the hill when the snowball could have been stopped.
This book shows how that worked in the life of Ted Bundy. The authors used a third person device to get Bundy to talk about his crimes, enabling him to discuss what the "killer" might have been thinking and his motivation. In this way, Bundy could overcome his natural reluctance to expose his deviant behavior and to experience the horror in the interviewer's eyes. Bundy was able to discuss the extreme fantasy life he had, his ability to compartmentalize his mind and the creation of the "entity" which was his name for the part of his mind that was out of control. Bundy's response to some negative things in his early life always seemed extreme me, given the positive environment he was brought up in. In this book it became clear that Bundy chose to nurse these grievances, and at the same time he began an addiction to violent pornography, and the compartmentalization of his mind.
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