Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Standing up for the American serial killer

Here in America we've had a lot serial killers, many with some pretty good qualities: Ted Bundy was handsome and charming; John Allen Muhammad was an excellent shot; and that Jeffrey Dahmer really knew his way around the kitchen.

While it's true Hannibal Lector isn't a real person (and sort of had a funny accent) he is clearly an amalgamation of all of the brilliant, well-educated sophisticates we have roaming the United States, killing to quell their bizarre psycho-sexual urges.

But in this bigger-is-better world, there is a tendency to base the final assessment of a serial killer on how many people he has killed. And, on that front, most American serial killers top out in the mid-thirties.

Whereas serial killers in Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union have been known to push their death tolls well into the fifties.

Right now Russia is being rocked by the trial of Alexander Pichushkin. Pichuskin is accused of killing 49 people over the last 15 years. Although he insists the authorities are low-balling him at least 12 dead bodies.

Pichuskin's deal was that he was trying to claim a victim for each of the 64 spaces on a chess board. This has led the Russian media to creatively dub him the "chess board murderer."

But even if he was able to get to the full 64, I'm not giving him full credit.

Russia, with all the darkness, depression and disappointment, is a great place for a serial killer. From what I understand, when confronted with a serial killer, the typical Russian will take a final swig of vodka, lie back, and curse the knife wielding man in the black cloak for taking so long to arrive.

That is why I'd take a terrifying and complex serial murderer like David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz -- with his paltry body count of six -- over some contrived barrel shooter like Pichuskin.

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