method of lizzy

preservations… for posterity

Journey into Darkness

Recently a friend and I began a discussion on the concept of evil. We have very different viewpoints; his being more Eastern and mine being more Judeo-Christian. I wanted to understand what he thought of raw evil (as I would call it), such as in cases of serial murderers, etc. He recommended that I read Journey into Darkness by John Douglas to better understand such scenarios.

The book offers the reader the opportunity to follow the FBI’s premier investigative profiler as he penetrates the minds and motives of the most terrifying serial criminals. The first few chapters of the book are really a downer. Douglas goes through several horrifying crime scenes that make you want to lock the doors and stay inside. After awhile, the book becomes easier to take, though hardly really pleasant or enjoyable. As you read through accounts of different crimes you are struck by the fact that you are never truly safe and that there is no such thing as being overly cautious, since a lot of crimes occur in just a few seconds of opportunity. One such case was the story of a six-year old girl who went to an evening church service. She went to the bathroom alone, and was abducted on her way back to the service.

My mother instilled a healthy sense of fear into me. As a child as I was taught her favorite maxims, such as “bad guys have cars [so don’t assume your neighborhood is safe]” and “never go to crime scene #2 [things will just get worse]”. Despite my mom’s efforts, there were still many opportunities for harm to befall my siblings and I. I used to ride my bike to Ben Franklin’s by myself. My siblings and I would play at a neighborhood church’s playground during the weekdays, when no one else was around. I was allowed to walk the few blocks to friends’ houses, though I was always supposed to call once I got there (something I often forgot about, much to my mother’s annoyance). This is in no way to suggest that I did not grow up with an adequate safety net around me. In fact, I want to suggest the opposite: despite many efforts that focused on safety, there were still holes in the net. Those will always exist, and the best we can do is minimize them.

What will I do when I have kids? Will I need to watch them every second of every day? Can’t they roam around the neighborhood and play without me having to worry about them? Can I not even look away from them when we are at church? Despite what my husband thinks, I have no plan to become overly-protective. Douglas encourages a balanced attitude. The chances are in our favor that our children will not be abducted, but we still must set up multiple deterrents so that such an opportunity is highly unlikely.

While there is much more to the book than the section on child abductions, it is this section that made the book worth my time. For those interested in criminal profiling, there is plenty of that scattered throughout this book, though other books may offer a better survey of the subject.

And as for the discussion on evil? Well, I am nowhere close to understanding anything. I am putting that topic on hold for now, though I would like to come back to it eventually.


December 10, 2006 - Posted by | books

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