“Serial Killer Ted Bundy: Final Interview – Only Hours Before Execution – Full”:
[Dammit. Just figured out that second clip begins repeating the whole interview around the 8-minute mark. (And the first of these was cropped in an annoying fashion.) The original video of the full interview I’d found and posted up has since been removed from youtube, so we’ll have to work with this until a better version is uploaded.]
Ted Bundy has interested me since I was about 18 and first read Ann Rule’s book on him titled Stranger Beside Me. She actually knew Ted personally from way back when and struggled to accept the allegations against him were true even while writing that book. But his own admissions soon thereafter erased all of her doubts.
He’s the kind of man the death penalty remains in existence for. Because, as should be obvious to anyone, he did not possess self-control and was psychologically demented on such a level that rehabilitation and re-entrance into society would have never been possible. Though I am glad that in his later years he took time and effort to explore why he had done what he did to all those people and then came out pointing to factors that contributed to his depravity (while clearly stating his family life had not expressly been the culprit).
But I didn’t post this up just to lambast this man any more than has been done already. Actually, I share this interview because a part of me has always been fascinated with this man’s thought process and actions for reasons that make me more than a little uncomfortable in my own skin. In short, on some level I get how and why he became a monster, and I share his stated view that coming up exposed to extreme forms of violence and hardcore pornography does unarguably impact and damage our imaginations and psyche, whether we’re conscious of it or not.
I say that as someone who watched anything and everything violent and grotesque out of curiosity, beginning when I was too young and continuing on until fairly recent times. My own imagination has been darkened and distorted on account of such exposure as well, and perhaps this is partly due to underlying personality traits that make some of us more receptive to entertaining destructive fantasies, as Bundy pondered on as well. He had the benefit of a pretty good family and home life and had access to quality educational opportunities that he took advantage of — and yet, even those ‘safety nets’ proved insufficient in his case.
Now, in my own case, I do not harbor fantasies anywhere near as destructive as those he carried out, nor have I ever behaved violent on a scale even remotely similar to what he was convicted of. BUT, I have nevertheless been impacted, partly even by learning of this man’s story. Back when I first began studying up on Ted Bundy during my young marriage, I grew extremely paranoid of men in general and opportunistic attackers particularly. My first response was to draw drastic contrast between myself and men of his ilk, wishing to clearly demarcate between a psychology such as he possessed versus my own. But in the more than a decade since beginning this inquiry, honestly the lines have become more blurred.
What do I mean by that? I mean that it’s very easy for any one of us to sit up here and look down our noses at others in condemnation, claiming moral superiority as a given, when in reality there’s a slippery slope that each of us can and do go up against as time, interpersonal experiences, and external influences wear on our being. We might not act out sadistically as Ted Bundy did, but most of us do, in some ways, act out most certainly, even when we are unaware of what we’re doing and blind to our own corruption. Whether the damage done winds up being devastating to whole communities and families or just merely damaging to our own selves is a matter of degree. Plenty of the input we receive these days from the media, television, movies, games, music and pop culture place within us seeds that many, if not most, of us wouldn’t have probably generated on our own. This is what is meant by poisoning our imaginations, which then has the potential to carry over into our actions and treatment toward others in any number of ways.
I, like many people I know, used to defend pornography as a personal choice that’s not intrinsically harmful except perhaps to a small subset of individuals incapable of separating truth and fiction, fantasies and reality. But I’ve since come to learn that few of us (perhaps none of us) are as good at maintaining these boundaries as we like to think we are. The argument that so long as all is kept consensual then no crime has truly occurred falls down when we recognize how many of us are indeed damaged and yet ignorant of the extent to which we are. My time working as an escort in my 20s clarified this realization more and more for me, particularly in noticing the rise of fetishism embraced by the general public that had been popularized by pornography.
No, I do not believe most average, ordinary, healthy men would, on their own volition and without external input and influences, have arrived at the desire to engage in “scat” and “watersports” fetishes. I don’t believe anal sex would have become such an incredible preoccupation among young heterosexuals, nor extreme forms of bondage and S&M role-playing. Though I am keenly aware of the back-end reasons for why fetishes can be so appealing at a point in history when so many feel otherwise powerless.
For my own part, while working as an escort I refused to cater to any of those fetishes mentioned in the preceding paragraph. My own policy in that regard was 100% non-violent and non-aggressive, operating under the belief that violence has a tendency to escalate. Having met people who’ve demonstrated their inability to respect boundaries and who opportunistically took advantage of the cover privacy afforded them, I knew that it would be extremely unwise to expressly allow certain forms of “play,” seeing as how some men I’ve met can get carried away and through doing so relinquish self-control. And I wanted no part in that where it could be avoided.
Yet, people still told their fantasies to me, and one particular client acted out a fantasy on me against my will while holding me down. His fantasy had been to engage in sex with a very young teen, which was easy to pick up on based on the things he said during the sexual act. What was even stranger on that occasion was that afterward he was elated, not concerned for having taken a woman roughly without a condom while she protested, and he thanked me profusely before leaving money to cover the visit. When I asked him what the hell and why had he done that, he replied that if he had told me his fantasy upfront then it would have ruined it for him. And then he happily exited the hotel room. (That occurred in a midday appointment with a seemingly jovial man in his late 50s or 60s, having first met for lunch at a decent place, with neither of us having consumed any alcohol. It troubled me, and still does a bit, though I never cried over the ordeal.)
Fantasies are a strange beast to be reckoned with. People may behave according to what they think they can get away with. Prostitutes and teenage runaways tend to be the guinea pigs most preferred for those dipping their toe into exploring their perversions, because these classes of individuals are considered to be least likely to report attacks to police, partly due to police showing less concern for these types of victims. So even when murder occurs, there’s less public pressure exerted on police to bring someone to justice when the crime is committed against “miscreants” and the like (as was openly discussed in my criminal justice courses attended in the mid-2000s). This isn’t a secret. Even Ted Bundy tried his hand on an untold number of teen runaways and prostitutes. It boils down to opportunism egged on by perverse fantasies.
I harbor perverse fantasies of sorts as well, though mine tend to relate more with promiscuity and are deemed far more “vanilla” in the eyes of the most deviant among us. But I still managed to do a good bit of harm to myself, despite consciously aiming to protect myself from the worst elements out in society. And it is likely that my own selfish sexual quirks proved damaging to a few others as well, in terms of using those who’d prefer I had not. A person is capable of being quite malicious and insensitive without engaging in violence, and these actions and choices can and do still leave psychic marks on all involved, turning us more cold and calloused toward one another over time.
We hurt ourselves. I hurt myself. Didn’t require bludgeoning someone to do so either. These wicked games we play leave damaging scars on our hearts and minds due to reducing our faith in humanity. Because that’s what happens when we reduce one another down to strictly utilitarian value.
For the record, I do not say this as an admonishment against all forms of prostitution or all ways that it can be experienced, because not all who engage in such transactions do so with hardened, uncaring hearts (nor did I). Speaking from experience. The same holds true with pornography since not all is created equal. Therefore I do not stand in strong opposition against these sexual outlets for exploration, but rather I am interested in us paying heed to what we do and how we do it, taking into consideration how we impact others and our own selves. What we’re exposed to infiltrates our imaginations and has a tendency to pay forward in some sort of way once enough energy is pent up inside. So this is an inquiry into not only our behaviors and choices but also what motivates them and what thoughts and attitudes we entertain inside, concealed from inspection by others we come into contact with.
It’s a jungle out here, and it’s not easy for anyone to gauge who’s the good fellow or the bad. Especially not when we’re each composed of a blend, as is natural. What becomes manifest where and when has a great deal to do with potential consequences (or the lack thereof) and/or pressures mounting to such a degree that normal inhibitions fail to provide enough disincentive. Laws alone aren’t enough of a deterrent, as Ted Bundy and others like him attest to.
So, acknowledging that most changes and restraints must come from within each of us, it’s folly to continue overlooking what all is coloring our views and attitudes from the outside-in. This is not a call to censorship, at least not in terms of relying on the courts to protect us from ourselves. Because, as we all should know by now, prohibition only sends what’s prohibited underground — out of sight, but not out of existence. In fact, prohibition tends to entice people that much more, since we do not accept others making decisions on our behalf without our consent. So, this tells me that it must begin within our own selves primarily and what we choose to take in or passively tolerate.
But then again, most of us took up interest in porn as young children or teens when adults weren’t around and without their knowledge. How can parents protect their children from becoming exposed in a society filled to the brim with pornography and violence? Even if you cancel your cable subscription, it’s online. Cancel that too and kids will be exposed at other kids’ homes. And now there are handheld devices that can access the internet anytime and anywhere. A parent would basically have to shut off cable tv, peruse all films and books prior to letting their children see them, and also home-school the kids so as to keep them away from other children who may prove to be bad influences. Basically would have to live under a rock in order to protect them, and even that strategy isn’t foolproof and such isolation has potential to wind up doing more harm than good. It’s a hell of a conundrum, and parents battling this concern have my sympathy. We, as a society, are saturated up to our eyeballs with gratuitous sex and violence.
Yet another reason why I opted not to have kids of my own — I wouldn’t wish to let them down due to proving unable to thoroughly protect them. Plus, if anyone was to hurt them, then I too would likely wind up languishing behind bars.
What we have here is a seriously disturbing situation that is affecting us all whether we recognize it or not.
To conclude, do I believe the words of Ted Bundy in-full? Surely not. He was a slick bastard, and I’ve read enough about him and am familiar enough with the crimes he committed to know that there’s a lot more wrong with his mind than violent porn exposure alone could cause. The man’s a true-blue psychopath and a habitual liar and con-artist. This I am clear on.
[Edited for greater clarity and to replace the video clip(s) that had been removed from youtube: 3/10/2015]