He is Risen!

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? – 1 Corinthians 15:55

We are living in a very, very dark time right now!

For those of you who live in a cave, a virus known as COVID-19 was recently unleashed from a laboratory in Wuhan, Hubei, China. Whether its release was deliberate or accidental, it has raged through the Western World like wildfire.

That ain’t the problem. The survival rate for COVID-19 is over ninety-nine percent.

The problem is that the Globalist New World Order unleashed their loyal servant – the Mainstream Media – to inflate and distort the breadth of this ‘pandemic’. Swiftly picking up the ball, governments (at nearly every level) followed by instituting totalitarian, unlawful ‘mitigation’ efforts to see just how far they can push ‘We the People’ before we revolt…

We’re not revolting; apparently, we’re bigger sissies than our forefathers were. How does that Green Day song go? ‘Don’t wanna be an American Idiot/ One nation controlled by the media/ Everybody do the propaganda/ and sing along with the age of paranoia…’

We are all going to wake up tomorrow to a world that will be more socialistic and despotic than it was yesterday… and it was pretty socialistic and despotic yesterday. As South Park’s Big Gay Al once rhetorically asked, ‘The whole world’s gone to hell, but how are you?

To which he replied, ‘I’m SUPER, thanks for asking!’

We may live in dark times right now, but as my man Dave Draiman once wrote: Sometimes darkness can show you the light!

Today – illegally locked in our homes, or not – we celebrate the greatest event in all of human history: The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The triumphant God-made-flesh demonstrated His power by dragging evil into a tomb and leaving it there, and this is the day upon which we celebrate His victory!

Most will, sadly, reject this truth. We still, after all, live in a world plagued by legions of empty, bogus belief systems.

But

Just because Satan hasn’t been done away with yet doesn’t mean that he isn’t still defeated. He’s already been condemned; now he’s just awaiting his sentence. In the meantime, anyone can choose the redemption offered so freely by Jesus Christ. All men and women now have a choice: Embrace these dark times as though that’s all there is, or embrace a bright future in which evil will be burned away and goodness will reign for all time.

We have this hope because Christ died to purge us of our guilt, but that death would have been an empty gesture had He not triumphantly defeated Death…

By His own grace, He did.

The whole world’s gone to hell, but how am I?

I’m SUPER, thanks for asking! HAPPY EASTER!!!

To read more on the subject of Christ: https://shaunmoser.com/2019/12/14/forsaken/

The Masque of the Red Death

In the wake of American journalism’s latest crisis ‘du jour’ – the Coronavirus outbreak – I felt the need to post a similarly-themed tale. It was written by a far better writer than I’ll EVER be! So, my dear readers: I give you the immortal Mr. Poe…

THE “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avator and its seal — the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.

   But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince’s own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the “Red Death.”

 It was toward the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence.

It was a voluptuous scene, that masquerade. But first let me tell of the rooms in which it was held. There were seven — an imperial suite. In many palaces, however, such suites form a long and straight vista, while the folding doors slide back nearly to the walls on either hand, so that the view of the whole extent is scarcely impeded. Here the case was very different; as might have been expected from the duke’s love of the bizarre. The apartments were so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time. There was a sharp turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect. To the right and left, in the middle of each wall, a tall and narrow Gothic window looked out upon a closed corridor which pursued the windings of the suite. These windows were of stained glass whose color varied in accordance with the prevailing hue of the decorations of the chamber into which it opened. That at the eastern extremity was hung, for example, in blue — and vividly blue were its windows. The second chamber was purple in its ornaments and tapestries, and here the panes were purple. The third was green throughout, and so were the casements. The fourth was furnished and lighted with orange — the fifth with white — the sixth with violet. The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this chamber only, the color of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet — a deep blood color. Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered to and fro or depended from the roof. There was no light of any kind emanating from lamp or candle within the suite of chambers. But in the corridors that followed the suite, there stood, opposite to each window, a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier of fire, that projected its rays through the tinted glass and so glaringly illumined the room. And thus were produced a multitude of gaudy and fantastic appearances. But in the western or black chamber the effect of the fire-light that streamed upon the dark hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all.

It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to harken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused revery or meditation. But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes, (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies,) there came yet another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as before.

But, in spite of these things, it was a gay and magnificent revel. The tastes of the duke were peculiar. He had a fine eye for colors and effects. He disregarded the decora of mere fashion. His plans were bold and fiery, and his conceptions glowed with barbaric lustre. There are some who would have thought him mad. His followers felt that he was not. It was necessary to hear and see and touch him to be sure that he was not.

 He had directed, in great part, the moveable embellishments of the seven chambers, upon occasion of this great fête; and it was his own guiding taste which had given character to the masqueraders. Be sure they were grotesque. There were much glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm — much of what has been since seen in “Hernani.” There were arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and appointments. There were delirious fancies such as the madman fashions. There were much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust. To and fro in the seven chambers there stalked, in fact, a multitude of dreams. And these — the dreams — writhed in and about, taking hue from the rooms, and causing the wild music of the orchestra to seem as the echo of their steps. And, anon, there strikes the ebony clock which stands in the hall of the velvet. And then, for a moment, all is still, and all is silent save the voice of the clock. The dreams are stiff-frozen as they stand. But the echoes of the chime die away — they have endured but an instant — and a light, half-subdued laughter floats after them as they depart. And now again the music swells, and the dreams live, and writhe to and fro more merrily than ever, taking hue from the many tinted windows through which stream the rays from the tripods. But to the chamber which lies most westwardly of the seven, there are now none of the maskers who venture; for the night is waning away; and there flows a ruddier light through the blood-colored panes; and the blackness of the sable drapery appals; and to him whose foot falls upon the sable carpet, there comes from the near clock of ebony a muffled peal more solemnly emphatic than any which reaches their ears who indulge in the more remote gaieties of the other apartments.

But these other apartments were densely crowded, and in them beat feverishly the heart of life. And the revel went whirlingly on, until at length there commenced the sounding of midnight upon the clock. And then the music ceased, as I have told; and the evolutions of the waltzers were quieted; and there was an uneasy cessation of all things as before. But now there were twelve strokes to be sounded by the bell of the clock; and thus it happened, perhaps that more of thought crept, with more of time, into the meditations of the thoughtful among those who revelled. And thus too, it happened, perhaps, that before the last echoes of the last chime had utterly sunk into silence, there were many individuals in the crowd who had found leisure to become aware of the presence of a masked figure which had arrested the attention of no single individual before. And the rumor of this new presence having spread itself whisperingly around, there arose at length from the whole company a buzz, or murmur, expressive of disapprobation and surprise — then, finally, of terror, of horror, and of disgust.

In an assembly of phantasms such as I have painted, it may well be supposed that no ordinary appearance could have excited such sensation. In truth the masquerade license of the night was nearly unlimited; but the figure in question had out-Heroded Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even the prince’s indefinite decorum. There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion. Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made. The whole company, indeed, seemed now deeply to feel that in the costume and bearing of the stranger neither wit nor propriety existed. The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat. And yet all this might have been endured, if not approved, by the mad revellers around. But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in blood — and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.

When the eyes of Prince Prospero fell upon this spectral image (which with a slow and solemn movement, as if more fully to sustain its role, stalked to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen to be convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder either of terror or distaste; but, in the next, his brow reddened with rage.

“Who dares?” he demanded hoarsely of the courtiers who stood near him — “who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery? Seize him and unmask him — that we may know whom we have to hang at sunrise, from the battlements!”

It was in the eastern or blue chamber in which stood the Prince Prospero as he uttered these words. They rang throughout the seven rooms loudly and clearly — for the prince was a bold and robust man, and the music had become hushed at the waving of his hand.

It was in the blue room where stood the prince, with a group of pale courtiers by his side. At first, as he spoke, there was a slight rushing movement of this group in the direction of the intruder, who, at the moment was also near at hand, and now, with deliberate and stately step, made closer approach to the speaker. But from a certain nameless awe with which the mad assumptions of the mummer had inspired the whole party, there were found none who put forth hand to seize him; so that, unimpeded, he passed within a yard of the prince’s person; and, while the vast assembly, as if with one impulse, shrank from the centres of the rooms to the walls, he made his way uninterruptedly, but with the same solemn and measured step which had distinguished him from the first, through the blue chamber to the purple — through the purple to the green — through the green to the orange — through this again to the white — and even thence to the violet, ere a decided movement had been made to arrest him. It was then, however, that the Prince Prospero, maddening with rage and the shame of his own momentary cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six chambers, while none followed him on account of a deadly terror that had seized upon all. He bore aloft a drawn dagger, and had approached, in rapid impetuosity, to within three or four feet of the retreating figure, when the latter, having attained the extremity of the velvet apartment, turned suddenly and confronted his pursuer. There was a sharp cry — and the dagger dropped gleaming upon the sable carpet, upon which, instantly afterwards, fell prostrate in death the Prince Prospero. Then, summoning the wild courage of despair, a throng of the revellers at once threw themselves into the black apartment, and, seizing the mummer, whose tall figure stood erect and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock, gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave cerements and corpse-like mask which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible form.

 And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.

What Happened Here…?!

Didja ever have one of those moments in which you look around, and suddenly feel like you’ve landed on an alien planet?

I went out to run a few errands today, and there was this fellow standing outside the grocery store. He had his hair tied into a bun (what?) and he was sucking on what appeared to be a laser pointer.

Weird, man!

And I gotta watch it when I’m out to dinner. If I order a beer to go with my steak, I have to be very careful as to which brand of brew I select. Simply asking ‘what do you have on draft?’ is likely to result in my being served a glass of malted pine cones. (I’m reasonably certain that ‘IPA’ means exactly what it sounds like: ‘I pee, eh?’)

And where did all the video stores go? There was nothing more fun than browsing the shelves for some weird old title, one that you would never have thought to watch if the video store didn’t happen to have it. And on that note, what happened to video game cartridges? And compact discs? I mean sure, I could listen to any music I want on a digital music service, but what if the service goes down?

What happened to the bookstores? Borders’ is long gone, and Barnes and Noble’s is hanging by a thread. Now I see people reading stuff on these over-sized phones, as though we don’t spend enough time looking at screens as it is.

I went to see Metallica a couple of years back, and I kinda felt like I was doing concert-going all wrong. Apparently you’re not supposed to actually enjoy the concert, see? What you’re supposed to do is spend the entire evening holding your cell-phone over your head. You’ll kinda miss out on jamming to the music, but the point is to have the video… which apparently, must be way more fun than the actual concert itself.

And what’s with this Face-Bollocks thing? Apparently, life events do not count until they are validated on social media. Now, I do agree that Mark Zucker-bot has improved political discourse. It’s very enlightening to read the lengthy threads of reasoned debate. They explore every possible facet of each issue too, those threads; they don’t end until someone gets called a ‘Nazi’, and that’s how you know that the issue du jour has been satisfactorily settled.

It’s nice how social media has made us all more connected. I enjoy walking through throngs of people, each one blissfully unaware of his neighbor’s existence as he stares fixated at his phone. I think Twitter, Instagram, etc. have all helped to create a more cohesive, cooperative society.

On that note, I’m also noticing an uptick in political activism. It’s heartening to see how many young people are engaging in the political battles that shape our social landscape. Blocking traffic and rioting are very, very effective means of persuasively communicating one’s viewpoint, and I expect those tactics to usher in a bright new Utopia any day now.

Media has changed, as well. When I was a kid, it was a royal pain having to sort out which news tidbits were commentary, and which ones were actual reporting. Now that objective reporting has been completely done away with, it’s much easier to digest the news.

There’ve been a lot of changes to the American legal system, too, which was admittedly never that great. Now you just stand trial on Twitter, which completely streamlines the process and totally negates the need for juries.

Yessir! This is the Brave New World, come to life at last!

If anyone needs me, I’ll be hiding under my bed… barricaded behind a pile of CD’s, books, and VHS tapes. I’ll be using my land-line phone to order pizza and soda. I figure I can last under there a while, too. The hipsters won’t be able to get at me because…

Well, everybody knows it’s rude to ‘vape’ indoors, right?

Regarding Football, and the Roman Empire… (by Shaun Moser)

If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead– Erma Bombeck

Karl Marx, the author of The Communist Manifesto, once wrote that ‘religion is the opiate of the masses’…

Religion’s got nothing on ESPN. If only Karl Marx could have seen that one coming! His cynical statement instead would have read ‘organized sports are the opiate of the masses’.

Now don’t get me wrong; I like watching the occasional game as much as the next guy, especially American football and boxing. I was pretty good at baseball as a kid, too. And I can’t wait to see the North Dakota State Bison fall from their college-football pedestal. Seriously. It is statistically impossible for a college team to rack up that many championships. They’re either using untraceable steroids, or manipulating the rules to keep playing a league below where they belong. They need to be investigated ASAP, and I’m pretty sure criminal charges are in order.

But I digress…

Sports are meant to be just that: Entertainment. Today’s culture, however, has twisted athletic competitions into something subversive; they’ve gone from being an amusement to being a willful, destructive distraction.

Sadly, this applies across every layer of American life: individual, familial, and societal. What’s amazing to me is not only how obvious this fact is, but how few people see it. When I talk about the concept, your average person looks at me like I’m completely insane. Which is weird, because our culture readily acknowledges the negative consequences of internet and video game addiction.

So let’s break this issue down, and first look at the individual results of being an obsessive sports nut…

At this level, the cultural malaise affects mostly men. As I’m fond of pointing out, men and women possess complimentary-yet-opposite natures. (Yes, sparky, men and women are actually different! Go figure.) Women (painting with a broad brush, of course), are collectively collaborative but individually competitive; that’s how they corral off husbands for themselves, and then coordinate with the neighbors to make sure all the children are looked out for as they play outside. Men, on the other hand, are individually collaborative but collectively competitive; that’s how we form teams and armies, and then try to kick some other army’s rear end.

Because men enjoy competition on a collective level more than an individual one, team sports are extremely seductive to them. (Boxing is the exception to this, but exceptions don’t disprove a general rule.) Men’s interest in team sports is fine in moderation, but it’s incredible how sports – especially in this age of satellite TV and hi-speed internet – often seem to consume men’s lives. I’m in construction, and half of my co-workers do nothing on their days off except watch sports. When they’re at work, the topic of the day is usually everyone’s Fantasy Football League. (I always breathe a sigh of relief once the Super Bowl is over.)

Why is this a problem?

Here’s why: Because such men know little to nothing about politics, sociology, or religion – you know, the fundamental building blocks of a healthy community. The numbers vary based on exactly which statistic you look at, but the statistics all agree in one area: The number of ‘low information voters’ turning out for political elections is alarming. We basically have dimwits running our republic; they simply refuse to put in the time necessary to educate themselves on the issues of the day.

Yes, a lot of these people are just plain stupid by nature. (As Winston Churchill was supposed to have said, the best argument against self-rule is a fifteen-minute conversation with your average voter.) But how many of those know-nothing voters – whose ignorant choices influence government – can tell you what Tom Brady’s stats from last football season were? How many of those voters, I wonder, made their foolish decisions at the polls because they were too busy memorizing Tom Brady’s stats to research the candidates?

Men were meant to lead families and so create a stable world in which women and children can thrive. Being glued to a digital sports feed 24/7 doesn’t serve that end, and the epidemic is worse now than it ever was. In addition to television, newspaper, and radio – the old methods of providing a ‘fix’ to sports addicts – now everybody and his uncle is carrying a ‘smart’ phone with a high-speed data plan.

And it’s very easy to tell the sports addict from the casual sports fan: Just try talking to him about anything else except sports. Not even a deer in the headlights looks that confused!

But let’s look beyond the individual for a moment. What does sports addiction do to families? Obviously, it creates pseudo-absentee fathers. But it has even more devastating effects on children, education, and civic finances.

Sports addicts tend to aggressively push their kids into athletic programs. This is a terrible thing in a world where – with two working parents, day care, after-school programs, etc. – children have very, very little ‘down time’. Sports just add an extra layer of stress and commitment to modern life, and this is a serious problem. It’s a problem because in order for a child to grow into a smart, well-rounded, intelligent adult, he or she must have a certain amount of un-allocated time in which to explore his or her own interests. What good does it do Junior to score fifty goals in the hockey championship if he grows up to be a boring dunce?

It was also very frustrating to me, as a minister, to see how many families often skipped church because ‘Junior had a baseball tournament’. What exactly are we teaching our children about priorities, here? Jesus is only important if there doesn’t happen to be a ball game?

Our school system is part of the problem, not the solution. Sports do not qualify as ‘education’! A traditional western education, historically, was deeply rooted in the arts. But this became a hindrance in America and Europe, where our governments have become increasingly socialistic; it’s easier to foist socialism onto a dumbed-down society than a well-educated one. Sports teach group-think and mindless conformity; the arts teach individual creativity and innovation.  Intellect is the enemy of socialism, and thus arts programs are scuttled and under-funded in favor of sports programs.

Over-funding school sports is also an incredible waste of taxpayer money. At my local university, the college built a new research building for its science program. The building was small, with a modest construction budget. The building’s purpose? Oh, you know… just doing agricultural research so we can do a better job of feeding the world. No big deal.

That selfsame school built a new athletic complex shortly thereafter. It’s the second largest building in the city, and it came with a price tag that was nearly nine figures.

How do I know this? I helped build both the research building and the athletic complex! I was on and off the research project in a matter of months…

But the athletic complex took two and a half YEARS!

About the same time that the athletic complex was being built, our city passed a ninety million dollar school-bond referendum. Property taxes and ‘special assessments’ (a predatory, capricious tax unique to the American Midwest) went through the roof. This money was all supposed to be used for ‘educational purposes’.

Guess what? Half the money went for sports-related expenditures, the most notable being a huge hockey arena. Think about that: Homeowners were jacked tens of millions to fund Junior chasing around a hockey puck.

To make matters worse, school sports programs are damaging the career prospects of students, particularly boys. I had an apprentice recently who was a promising worker, but he had to quit his trade because his shoulder was too severely injured from playing high-school football. How many talented tradesmen, I wonder, have we whittled out of the workforce by crippling them before they even got started? Only one percent of college athletes become professionals, and I’m betting we injure way more than one percent badly enough to impact their career choices. Over the years I’ve gotten apprentices with bad shoulders, knees, and backs due to sports injuries; many of them were forced to change careers because of their handicaps.

All of these factors combine to create a less stable society rather than a more stable society. Sports-addled dads don’t pay attention to their kids, and kids don’t have the down time they need to develop versatile intellects. Churches – which, as Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out, are the backbone of American greatness – are suffering ever-decreasing attendance. Citizens are over-taxed to pay for programs that have nothing to do with education, and our government is populated with second-rate incompetents – elected, in part, by men who understand nothing about politics except the propaganda commercials they saw during ‘the game’.

An empire loves nothing more than citizens who are too dumb to notice their own government’s malfeasance; as Rome and Greece were, so is America. History always repeats itself, and this is not the first time that sports have been used to ‘dumb down’ a society, or to amuse it into complacence; Rome and Greece did the same thing, so much so that their respective social fabrics tore completely apart.

When Greece fell, its collapse ushered in the rise of Rome – the most brutal empire in human history.

When Rome fell, it caused a power vacuum that led to a thousand years of savage feudalism.

Wanna avoid the next Dark Age?

Read a book sometime. Listen to music once in a while, instead of some yahoo re-hashing how awesome so-and-so’s ‘home run’ was yesterday. Give your kids some free time, and tell ‘em that a sport is off-limits if it would cause them to miss three Sundays out of four.

I’m honestly not saying that sports aren’t fun once in a while; I’m just pointing out the need for balance. It’s not about the activity; it’s about indulging in it to the point of excess.

You addicts KNOW who you are!

And ironically, it’s almost certain that none of you are actually reading this…

Regarding Psychos and Profilers…

Look down at me and you see a fool. Look up at me and you see a god. Look straight at me and you see yourself… – Charles Manson

Serial killers are absolutely fascinating to your average person…

Which, of course, I find rather fascinating.

Think about it for a minute. Most people aren’t enthralled by spiders and snakes, and the only people I know who keep them as pets are incorrigible weirdoes. Spiders and snakes are grotesque, sure, but they are so dissimilar to humans (and mammals in general) that most of us are simply repulsed by them. There’s no ‘fascination’ there whatsoever; we just don’t even wanna think about spiders and snakes!

Serial killers, on the other hand, may repulse us but they nevertheless tend to linger indefinitely in our collective imagination. We make movies, sing songs, and write books about them. We watch their interviews on TV and digital media, and most of us can list at least a few by name… which is ironic, since being killed is at the top of almost everyone’s list of fears. (The more popular phobia, however, is public speaking. So if you happen to croak, don’t sweat it because the guy giving your eulogy will be feeling more anxiety than you are. Plus he doesn’t get to enjoy a long, relaxing ‘dirt nap’ afterwards, the poor fellow…)

But I digress.

I think serial killers fascinate humanity because they’re the predators who come from our own ranks; they often hold jobs, get married, and even raise families. Many of them are very charismatic. But despite the fact that they may appear harmless, they’re MONSTERS, plain and simple!  If their outsides matched their insides, they’d all look like characters from a Wes Craven film… but they don’t, and that’s what makes them so unnerving and thus perversely riveting.

At any given time, it is estimated that there are at least a hundred active ‘recreational killers’ in the United States alone. Now let’s be clear here: You are exponentially more likely to be murdered by someone you know than by some random serial killer, but a hundred of those guys? Statistics aside, it’s insane that there are that many crazies out there stalking people like deer!

I have identified two key principles that I think make serial killers such eerily mesmerizing entities, and the first is this: They are just like us.

The second is this: We have no idea what causes their existence.

I’ll address the second principle first.

First of all, let me be blunt here. I hold a very, very dim view of ‘forensic psychology’. I have read all of the famed FBI ‘profiler’ John Douglas’ published writings, and as far as I’m concerned he’s trying to make a ‘science’ out of what most people would rightly label ‘guesswork’. He’s wrong as often as he is right. He reminds me of the detective from Mark Twain’s iconic story ‘The Stolen White Elephant’, forever searching for a ‘clew’ while his long-sought elephant rampages gleefully through his ‘clew-ridden’ town.  (And yes, I am TOTALLY in the camp that says the FBI’s ‘Behavioral Science’ division was created for no other reason than to pad their bloated budget. I’ve done my research, and it seems that the FBI was an un-salvageable clown show way before James Comey.)

So that being said…

John Douglas thinks that the mind of a violent psychopath can be figured out, that his motives can be understood and his actions anticipated. I call ‘hogwash’ on Douglas! I think violent psychopaths are God’s way of reminding us that the human mind is His creation, not ours. For all we think we ‘know’ about predatory psychopaths, there’s always at least one who blows our theory du jour out of the water. For instance, they’re often reclusive, and isolated… but Charlie Manson wasn’t, and neither was Ted Bundy; both were outgoing and charming. Serial killers are almost always white males… but Wayne Williams wasn’t, and neither was Aileen Wuornos. Serial killers usually love to taunt the police, even seeking public notoriety for their crimes… but Jeffrey Dahmer didn’t. Serial killers often torture their victims, and usually prefer ‘contact’ methods of killing, such as knives or ligatures… but the Son of Sam didn’t; he used a gun.

See my point? John Douglas has spent decades trying to get this ‘serial killer thing’ licked. And yet any one of us can point towards Stage Left saying, ‘yeah, but what about that guy over there? He doesn’t fit your ‘profile’!’

It’s been said that serial killers are the product of abuse. And that’s often true, as in the case of Charlie Manson, whose mother sold him to a sexual predator for a pitcher of beer. It’s also true in the case of Ed Gein, whose mother was completely insane.

But Jeffrey Dahmer had a fairly normal childhood, as did Richard Ramirez. Richard Ramirez’s parents were so appalled by his childhood anti-social tendencies that they sent him to Catholic School, where he promptly became fascinated with Devil worship. I can also think of a handful of people I’ve known over the years whose respective childhoods were the stuff that serial killers are made of, and yet none of them would hurt a fly. Some of ‘em even went to Catholic schools.

You can look at the brutal childhood of Charlie Manson and say, ‘man, how could that guy ever not have ended up as a nut case?’ Yeah, Charlie was a nut but there are millions of functioning people with childhoods similar to Manson’s. Why aren’t they running around waving a meat cleaver? Ted Bundy blamed childhood exposure to pornography for his rapacious nature, but millions of people struggle daily with pornography, even Christians. Why aren’t they snatching up every pretty college girl that walks by?

What MAKES the serial killer? Is it nature? We can, after all, quantify psychopathy. You can wire a serial killer’s brain, and then spend hours showing him pictures of mutilated kittens and tortured puppies; the ‘empathy’ section of his brain will register no response whatsoever! It’s kind of like cutting the wires to your car’s air conditioner. The A/C is still a part of your car, but it doesn’t work because it’s disconnected from the vehicle’s power supply. (Side note: Autopsies have also shown that serial killers are more likely to have brain lesions than a ‘normal’ person, but the causes/effects of this phenomenon are inconclusive. Forget about the shrinks; it doesn’t even look like the doctors can figure this mess out!)

Serial killers just happen, and no one knows why! (Having said that, may I please have some of the ‘Behavioral Science’ division’s payroll money now? I mean, my theory makes more sense than most of John Douglas’ ideas…)

So yeah, we have no idea what causes serial killers. Now on to my second assertion…

They are just like us, and I think this is what fascinates us most of all.

Wait, you say! I ain’t Jeffrey Dahmer! He ATE people!!!

Okay, hopefully most of us wouldn’t stoop to cannibalism. (Would elderly people be like stew beef? Would kids become the new veal? Would people with a healthy diet be more prized for their meat than say, some overweight guy who lived on junk food? Inquiring minds wanna know…)

But yes, Jeffrey Dahmer did eat people. But it’s not what he did, so much as why he did it that’s interesting: He had MAJOR ‘abandonment issues’. Granted, most of us wouldn’t chop people up and store them in the freezer to keep them from leaving us… but how many people suffer from ‘abandonment issues’?

Ted Kaczynski (the ‘Unabomber’) was characterized by his deep distrust of academia and government, as well as his mad lust for power. Now granted, I’d like to think that I’d never mail bombs to people, ‘cuz that just seems kinda mean. But I do have low opinions of both academia AND the ‘gub’ment’, and I’d sure love to be the dictator for a day! Am I a different animal altogether from ol’ Ted, or is it simply a matter of degree?Am I a better person than he is, or was he just pushed a little harder by society than I was?

Charlie Manson – the son of a prostitute, ‘raised’ by the penal system – was characterized by a burning desire for a family of his own, despite the fact that he hadn’t a clue how to fit into a real family. Is anyone out there feeling short-changed by your own childhood? Are you still looking for a replacement family?

Yeah, that’s a lot of us!

Ted Bundy was jilted by his pretty girlfriend, and a disturbing number of his rape/murder victims bore at least a passing resemblance to his ‘ex’…

Is anyone out there still feeling bitter over being dumped?

I’m not saying that murder is an acceptable response to a terrible childhood, fear of government, or romantic rejection. I’m just saying that those are a few of the stimuli that motivate everyone, not just serial killers. As Winona Ryder’s character said in the film Girl: Interrupted, ‘crazy’ people are just you and me amplified. They have the same motivators that everyone else does; it’s just that their lack of empathy prompts them to take their fear and rage way too far. But the extreme nature of their actions doesn’t nullify the fact that they are driven by the same basic needs as every else walking down the street.

And perhaps that’s the most terrifying reality of all…

That’s why we stay up at night watching movies about serial killers, because we instinctively understand that we will NEVER know who the true lunatics are until it’s too late; turning psychos into entertainment somehow makes them seem less real.  John Douglas can blow all the hot air he wants, but that won’t change reality; he’s just as clueless as everyone else when it comes to his area of ‘expertise’, and I’m sure he stays up late watching twisted movies just like the rest of us.  It’s a sick pursuit, for sure, turning remorseless murderers into the evening movie…

But it’s a heluva lot less scary than lying awake worrying about them! Watching a harmless movie is, perhaps, just enough stimulation to distract us from the truth so prophetically spoken by Richard Ramirez: ‘We’ve all got the power in our hands to kill, but most people are afraid to use it. The ones who aren’t afraid, control life itself.’

I can’t wrap my head around that statement, despite the fact that I know it to be the brutal, devastating, traumatic truth… So rather than thinking about that, I’ma go watch me a movie.

Popcorn?

Anyone…?