19 - گاهی اوقات اژدها پیروز می شود

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19 - گاهی اوقات اژدها پیروز می شود

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Chapter 19

Sometimes the Dragon Wins

When the body of a sixteen-year-old girl was found in the Green River outside Seattle in July of 1982, no one thought too much about it. The river, linking Mount Rainier with Puget Sound, was a popular illegal dump site, and the victim was a young prostitute. The significance of the find didn’t become apparent to police until later that summer—another woman was found dead in the river on August 12, with three more discovered three days later. The ages and races of the victims differed, but all were suffocated. Some were weighted down in an apparent effort to keep them hidden. All were undressed, and in two cases, small rocks were found inside the victim’s vagina.

Now, the serial nature of the crimes was unavoidable and brought back haunting reminders of Seattle’s last serial murders, the kidnapping and killing of at least eight women in the area in 1974 by a subject known only as “Ted.” Those cases had remained unsolved for four years until a handsome, articulate young man named Theodore Robert Bundy was arrested for a brutal series of sorority-house murders in Florida. By that time, he had worked his way across the country, killing at least twenty-three young women and earning himself a permanent place in the chamber of horrors of our collective psyche.

Maj. Richard Kraske of the King County Criminal Investigations Division had been in charge of that investigation, and wanting to apply what he had learned, he now turned to the FBI for assistance in developing a psychological profile of the “Green River Killer.” Although the investigators on the newly formed, multijurisdictional task force were divided over whether all the cases were really linked, there was one clear common factor: all the dead women were prostitutes who worked the Sea-Tac Strip, the Pacific Coast Highway near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. And now, more young women were missing.

In September, Allen Whitaker, the Seattle SAC, was at Quantico for an in-service and presented us with a detailed package on the five original cases. As I often did when I wanted to be able to concentrate away from constant staff and phone interruptions, I sequestered myself on the top floor of the library, where I could be alone, stare out the window (always a pleasant novelty for those of us who work underground), and get myself into the minds of the offender and the victims. I spent about a day looking through the materials—crime-scene reports and photos, autopsy protocols, victim descriptions. Despite the variances in age and race and MO, the similarities were strong enough to indicate all the murders were committed by the same subject.

I developed a detailed profile of a physically powerful, inadequate, underemployed white male, comfortable with the river, who felt no remorse for what he was doing. Quite the contrary, he was a man on a mission who’d had humiliating experiences with women and was now out to punish as many as he could of what he considered to be the lowest of them. But at the same time, I warned the police that because of the nature of the crimes and the victims, many people would fit this profile. Unlike an Ed Kemper, say, this was no mental giant. These were unsophisticated, high-risk crimes. The emphasis had to be on proactive techniques that would lure the UNSUB into some type of contact with the police. Whitaker took the profile back with him when he left Quantico.

Later that month the badly decomposed body of another young woman was found in an area of condemned houses near the airport. She was nude, with a pair of men’s black socks tied around her neck. The medical examiner estimated she’d been killed around the same time as the river victims. Perhaps the killer had changed his MO after hearing about surveillance of the river.

As detailed in The Search for the Green River Killer, a carefully researched account by Carlton Smith and Thomas Guillen, the strongest suspect was a forty-four-year-old taxi driver who matched the profile in virtually every way. He’d injected himself into the investigation early, calling police with tips on how to find the killer and advising them to look for other taxi drivers. He spent a lot of time with prostitutes and street people along the Strip, was nocturnal, drove around compulsively, drank and smoked as the profile suggested the UNSUB would, and professed concern for the prostitutes’ safety. He had five failed marriages, grew up near the river, lived with his widower father, drove an older, conservative car that wasn’t well maintained, and followed the press on the case closely.

Police scheduled him for an interview in September and called me for a strategy. I was traveling at a feverish pace then, hopping around the country on an almost weekly basis trying to keep up with my cases. When the police called, I happened to be out of town. They spoke to Roger Depue, the unit chief, who said I would be back in a few days and strongly suggested they wait to conduct the interview until they’d had a chance to talk to me. Thus far, the subject had been cooperative and wasn’t planning to leave the area.

But the police went ahead with the interview, which lasted an entire day and turned into a confrontation. From a perspective of twenty-twenty hindsight, perhaps it could have been done differently. Polygraph results were ambiguous, and even though the police put him under bumper-lock surveillance and continued gathering circumstantial evidence, they could never make a case against him.

Not personally having been involved in that part of the investigation, I can’t say whether or not this individual was a promising suspect. But this lack of coordination and focus greatly hampered the investigation in the early stages, when a subject is usually most catchable. He’s concerned, he doesn’t know what to expect, the “ass-pucker factor” is at its highest. As time goes by and the UNSUB realizes he’s getting away with it, he becomes more comfortable. He settles down, refines his MO.

At the beginning of this case, local police didn’t even have a computer. And as the investigation grew, at the rate they were processing leads, it would have taken fifty years to evaluate properly what they had. Were a Green River type of investigation launched today, I hope and trust the early organization would be more efficient and the strategy more defined. Still, the task would be formidable. These prostitutes lived a nomadic existence. Oftentimes, when a boyfriend or pimp would report one missing, she had disappeared on purpose or simply relocated to another area up or down the coast. Many of them used aliases, making identification of bodies and tracking of cases a nightmare. Medical and dental records were therefore hard to locate and authenticate. And relations and cooperation between police and the prostitute community are always tenuous at best.

In May 1983, a young prostitute was found fully clothed in a carefully staged scene: a fish was placed across her throat, another on her left breast, and a wine bottle between her legs. She had been strangled with a thin cord or rope. The police chalked her death up to the Green River Killer. But while I thought the last victim found on land had been related, this one struck me as more of a personal-cause homicide. This one wasn’t random. There was too much anger here. The killer knew this victim well.

Nearing the end of 1983, the body count had risen to twelve, with seven more reported missing. One of the dead women had been eight months pregnant. The task force asked me to come out and give them on-scene advice. As I’ve mentioned, I was trying to handle various stages of the Wayne Williams case in Atlanta, the .22-Caliber Killer in Buffalo, the Trailside Killer in San Francisco, the Robert Hansen case in Anchorage, an anti-Semitic serial arsonist in Hartford, and more than a hundred other active cases. The only way I could keep up with them all was to force myself to dream about them at night. I knew I was running myself ragged. I just didn’t know how ragged, how fast. And when the Green River Task Force said they needed me, I knew I had to squeeze that one in, too.

I was confident my profile would fit the killer, but I also knew it would fit a lot of people, and more than one of these could be involved by now. The longer this went on, the greater the chance for more killers to become involved, either as copycats or simply because of the territory and the victims. The Sea-Tac Strip was easy pickings for a killer. If you have a will to kill, that’s the kind of place you go. The prostitutes were readily available, and since many of them plied the entire West Coast corridor from Vancouver all the way down to San Diego, when a girl disappeared, often she would not be missed.

I thought proactive techniques were more important than ever. These could include convening town meetings on the murders at rural schools, then passing around sign-up sheets and taking note of license plates of those attending, using the media to put forth one investigator as “supercop” to lure the killer to contact him, stories personalizing the pregnant woman to try to encourage some remorse and revisits from the killer, surveillance of unpublicized dump sites, use of decoy police officers, and any number of other possibilities.

I brought Blaine McIlwain and Ron Walker, two of the newer profilers, on the December trip to Seattle, figuring this would be a good case to get them some on-site experience. It was a good thing I did, as if God or some cosmic order had planned it. They saved my life.

When they broke through the locked, bolted, and chained door to my hotel room and found me unconscious and convulsing on the floor, I was near death from the fever that was raging through my brain.

By the time I finally recovered and returned to work in May of 1984, the Green River Killer was still at large, as he is at this writing more than a decade later. I continued consulting with the task force, which grew into one of the largest organized manhunts in American history. The longer the investigation went on, as the number of bodies continued to grow, I became increasingly convinced that several killers were at work, all sharing some similar traits, but each acting on his own. Police in Spokane and Portland brought me clusters of murdered and missing prostitutes, but I found no clear connection to the murders around Seattle. San Diego police thought another cluster in their city might be related. All in all, the Green River Task Force was investigating more than fifty deaths. More than twelve hundred solid suspects had been reduced to about eighty. They ranged from boyfriends and pimps of the dead women to a john in Portland from whom a prostitute had escaped after threats of torture, to a Seattle-based trapper. At times, even members of the police force were considered possible suspects. But none of this was enough for closure. At this point, I’m convinced there were at least three killers, possibly more.

The last major proactive thrust came in December 1988, with a two-hour live television program broadcast nationally. Entitled Manhunt . . . Live and hosted by Dallas star Patrick Duffy, the show offered background on the search for the killer or killers and provided a bank of toll-free numbers for viewers to give tips and leads. I flew out to Seattle to appear on the show and to train police officers on how to screen calls and quickly ask pertinent questions.

In the week following the broadcast, the telephone company estimated that more than one hundred thousand people had tried to call, but fewer than ten thousand had gotten through. And after three weeks, there just weren’t the financial resources or the volunteers to continue manning the crime-stoppers hot lines. In the end, it was symbolic of so many other aspects of Green River—many dedicated people expending tremendous effort, but ultimately, too little, too late.

For years, Gregg McCrary had a cartoon tacked to the bulletin board in his office. It shows a fire-breathing dragon standing fiercely over a prostrate knight. The caption reads simply, “Sometimes the dragon wins.”

This is a reality none of us can ever escape. We don’t catch them all, and since the ones we do catch have already killed or raped or tortured or bombed or burned or maimed, none of them is ever caught soon enough. It’s true today, just as it was more than a hundred years ago when Jack the Ripper became the first serial killer to haunt the public imagination.

Ironically, though the Manhunt broadcast didn’t solve the Green River murders, that same year I appeared on another national television show in which I did determine through profiling the possible identity of that most infamous serial killer of all. It was timed to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel murders, which meant my profile was only a century too late to do any good.

The brutal prostitute murders took place in the gaslit streets and alleys of Victorian London’s rough and teeming East End between August 31 and November 9, 1888. Over that time, the viciousness of the killings and the postmortem mutilation escalated. In the early morning of September 30, he killed two women within an hour or two, an unheard of event at the time. The police received several taunting letters, which were published in the newspapers, and the horrors became a huge media event. The Ripper was never caught, despite the fervent efforts of Scotland Yard, and his identity has remained a subject of intense speculation ever since. Like the “true” identity of William Shakespeare, the choice of suspects often reveals more about the people doing the speculating than it does about the mystery itself.

Among the favorite and most fascinating possibilities over the years has been Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, eldest grandson of Queen Victoria and, after his father, Edward, the Prince of Wales (who became Edward VII upon Victoria’s death in 1901), the next in line to the throne. The Duke of Clarence is supposed to have died in the great influenza epidemic of 1892, but many Ripper theorists have him actually dying of syphilis or possibly poisoning at the hands of a royal physician to remove the taint of scandal from the monarchy. It’s certainly an intriguing possibility.

Other strong candidates have included Montague John Druit, a teacher in a boy’s school who matched eyewitness descriptions; Dr. William Gull, chief royal physician; Aaron Kosminski, a poor Polish immigrant who’d been in and out of mental asylums in the area; and Dr. Roslyn D’Onstan, a journalist known to dabble in black magic.

Much has been made of the fact that the Ripper murders stopped abruptly, leading to speculation that he might have taken his own life, that the Duke of Clarence was sent on a royal trip, that one of the other suspects might have died. Looking back from our current knowledge, it seems to me just as likely that he was picked up for some other lesser offense as many are, and this was what stopped the killing. Another issue was the “ripping” itself. One of the reasons for the focus on someone with medical training was the degree of disembowelment of the later victims.

The aim of The Secret Identity of Jack the Ripper, broadcast nationally in October 1988, was to present all available evidence in the case and then have experts from various disciplines present their analyses about who Jack really was, solving this century-old riddle “once and for all.” Roy Hazelwood and I were invited to be on the program, and the FBI thought this would be a good opportunity to showcase the kind of work we do without compromising any ongoing investigations or trials. The live, two-hour presentation was hosted by British actor, writer, and director Peter Ustinov, who really got into the mystery as the drama unfolded.

Now any exercise of this kind has the same rules and strictures as a current investigation—that is, our product can only be as good as the evidence and data we have to work with. A hundred years ago, forensic investigation was primitive by modern standards. But I thought that, based on what I knew about the Ripper murders, if such a case were presented to us today, it would be very solvable, so I thought we ought to take a flyer on it. When you do the kind of work we do, there is actually some sport and relaxation when the only thing on the line if you screw up is making a fool of yourself on national television rather than having another innocent victim dead.

Before the program aired, I developed a profile as I would for a modern case, with the same-style heading:






The last line, NCAVC, refers to the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, the overall program established at Quantico in 1985 to include the Behavioral Science and Investigative Support Units, VICAP—the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program computer database—and other rapid-response teams and units.

As in a real consultation, once I had come up with the profile, we were given the possible suspects. As appealing as the Duke of Clarence was from a dramatic standpoint, after analyzing all the evidence available, Roy and I independently came up with Aaron Kosminski as our likeliest candidate.

As in the Yorkshire Ripper case ninety years later, we were convinced the taunting letters to the police were written by an impostor, someone other than the “real” Jack. The type of individual who committed these crimes would not have the personality to set up a public challenge to the police. The mutilation suggested a mentally disturbed, sexually inadequate person with a lot of generalized rage against women. The blitz style of attack in each case also told us he was personally and socially inadequate. This was not someone who could hold his own verbally. The physical circumstances of the crimes told us that this was someone who could blend in with his surroundings and not cause suspicion or fear on the part of the prostitutes. He would be a quiet loner, not a macho butcher, who would prowl the streets nightly and return to the scenes of his crimes. Undoubtedly, the police would have interviewed him in their investigation. Of all the possibilities we were presented, Kosminski fit the profile far better than any of the others. As for the supposed medical knowledge needed for the postmortem mutilation and dissection, this was really nothing but elementary butchery. And we have long since learned that serial killers need nothing but will to commit whatever atrocities they want on a body. Ed Gein, Ed Kemper, Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Marquette—to name but a few—were in no way held back by their lack of medical training.

Having presented this analysis, I now have to backpedal on my original declaration with the qualification that from this vantage point a hundred years later, I can’t be sure that Aaron Kosminski was the Ripper. He was simply one of the ones given to us. But what I can state with a high degree of confidence is that Jack the Ripper was someone like Kosminski. Were this criminal investigative analysis taking place today, our input would help police and Scotland Yard narrow their focus and come up with the UNSUB’s identity. That’s why I say that by modern standards, this case would be very solvable.

In some cases our methods point to a type of suspect, but we can’t get enough evidence for an arrest and indictment. Such a case was the “BTK Strangler” in Wichita, Kansas, in the mid-1970s.

It began on January 15, 1974, with the murder of the Otero family. Thirty-eight-year-old Joseph Otero and his wife, Julie, were tied and strangled with venetian-blind cords. Their nine-year-old son, Joseph II, was found tied in his own bedroom, a plastic bag over his head. Eleven-year-old Josephine was hanging by her neck from a pipe in the basement ceiling, clad only in a sweatshirt and socks. All the evidence suggested that this was not an impulsive act. The telephone lines had been cut and the cord had been brought to the scene.

Ten months later, a local newspaper editor got an anonymous call directing him to a book in the public library. Inside was a note from the UNSUB, claiming credit for the Otero killings, promising more and explaining that “the code words for me will be: Bind them, Torture them, Kill them.”

Several more killings of young women followed in the ensuing three years, after which a letter to a local television station revealed much about the psyche of this UNSUB, who had carefully given himself his own nickname: “How many do I have to kill before I get my name in the paper or some national attention?”

In one of his published communications, he compared his work to that of Jack the Ripper, the Son of Sam, and the Hillside Strangler—all obscure losers who had become media celebrities through their crimes. He attributed his deeds to a “demon” and “factor X,” leading to extensive psychological speculation in the newspapers about his personality.

But he also included graphic drawings of naked women in various poses of binding, rape, and torture. These hideous drawings were not published, but they gave me a good picture of the type of person we were looking for. From that, it was only a matter of narrowing down the suspects.

Like those of his hero Jack the Ripper, BTK’s murders stopped abruptly. In this case, though, I believe the police had interviewed him, he knew they were closing in on him, and he was intelligent and sophisticated enough to stop before sufficient evidence could be gathered. I hope we’ve at least neutralized him, but sometimes the dragon wins.

Sometimes the dragon wins in our own lives as well. When a murderer kills one person, he takes a lot of victims along with that individual. I’m not the only one in my unit to lose work over stress-related problems; far from it. And the instances of family problems and marital strife are too numerous not to be worried about.

In 1993, my marriage with Pam broke up after twenty-two years. We would probably give differing perspectives on what happened between us, but certain things are undeniable. I was away much too often when our daughters, Erika and Lauren, were growing up. When I was in town, I was still so consumed by what I was doing that Pam often felt like a single parent. She had to run the house, pay the bills, get the kids to school, meet with the teachers, make sure the homework got done, all the while keeping up with her own teaching career. By the time our son, Jed, was born in January of 1987, we had other profilers working with me and I wasn’t spending as much time on the road. But I have to admit, I have three bright, loving, charming, wonderful children, and I don’t think I really got to know them well until shortly before I retired from the Bureau. I spent so much time over the years learning about the victimology of dead children that I shortchanged and didn’t learn enough about my own brilliantly alive ones.

Many times Pam would come to me with some typical minor problem involving one of the kids, say a cut or scrape from falling off a bike. With all the stress and pressure I felt, we both remember how often I would lash out, describing the mutilated bodies of kids the same age that I had seen, and didn’t she realize that a fall off a bike was normal and nothing to get charged up about?

You try never to fully desensitize yourself from the horrible stuff, but you find yourself building up immunity against anything that’s less than horrible. One time I was eating dinner with the kids while Pam was opening a package in the kitchen. The knife slipped and she cut herself badly. She screamed and we all came rushing in. But as soon as I saw that the injury wasn’t threatening to life or limb, I remember how interesting I found the blood-spatter pattern to be and began mentally correlating it to spatter patterns I’d seen at murder scenes. I was joking around, trying to diffuse the tension. I started pointing out to her and the children how we saw a different pattern every time she moved her hand, and that was one of the ways we could tell what happened between an attacker and a victim. But I don’t think the rest of them took it as casually as I did.

You try to develop defense mechanisms to deal with what you see on the job, but you can easily end up coming off as a cool, aloof son of a bitch. If your family’s intact and your marriage is solid, you can put up with a lot of what you face at work. But if there are any weaknesses at home, various stressors can magnify everything, just as they do for the people we hunt.

Pam and I ended up with different friends. I couldn’t talk about what I did in her circle, so I needed my own kind around me. And when we socialized outside Bureau or law enforcement circles, I often found myself bored by the mundane concerns discussed. As cold as it sounds, when you spend your days getting inside the heads of killers, where the neighbor puts his trash can or what color he paints his fence just isn’t all that stimulating.

I am glad to say, though, after a period in which we both went through the emotional wringer, that Pam and I are now good friends. The kids live with me (Erika is off at college), but Pam and I are together much of the time, and we both now take an equal role as parents. I’m grateful Lauren and Jed are still young enough for me to enjoy some of their growing-up years.

From a lonely position in the early 1980s in which I was the entire full-time FBI profiling staff—assisted as their time permitted by Roy Hazelwood, Bill Hagmaier, and a few others—the unit grew to more than ten. That’s still not enough to handle the volume of cases we’re presented, but it’s probably just about as large as we could be and still maintain the personal contact with each other and the local departments that has become the hallmark of our own modus operandi. Many of the police chiefs and detectives who call on the unit first met us in National Academy classes. Sheriff Jim Metts contacted me to help find Shari Smith’s and Debra Helmick’s murderer, and Capt. Lynde Johnston called on Gregg McCrary to help determine who was slaughtering prostitutes in Rochester because they were both National Academy graduates.

By the mid-1980s, Behavioral Science had been divided up into the Behavioral Science Instruction and Research Unit, and the group I worked for as criminal-personality profiling program manager, the Behavioral Science Investigative Support Unit. The other two key divisions besides mine in Investigative Support were VICAP, which Jim Wright had taken over from Bob Ressler, and Engineering Services. Roger Depue was chief of Instruction and Research and Alan “Smokey” Burgess was chief of Investigative Support. (He is not related to Ann Burgess, but her husband, Allen Burgess, was our coauthor on the Crime Classification Manual. Got it?) As taxing and challenging as my job was in many ways, I had managed to establish a prominent and satisfying career for myself. Fortunately, I’d been able to avoid the step virtually everyone else who wants to get ahead in the organization has to take—administration. That changed in the spring of 1990. We were having a unit meeting when Smokey Burgess announced he was retiring as unit chief. Later, the new deputy assistant director, Dave Kohl, who’d been my squad supervisor in Milwaukee and a fellow member of the SWAT team, called me into his office and asked me my intentions.

I told him I was so burned out and fed up with everything that I was thinking of applying for a desk job uptown in violent crime and finishing out my career that way.

“You don’t want to do that,” Kohl told me. “You’ll lose yourself up there. You can make a much greater contribution as unit chief.”

“I don’t know if I want to be unit chief,” I told him. I was already performing a lot of the unit-chief functions and acting as institutional memory because I’d been there so long. But at this stage of my career, I didn’t want to get bogged down in administration. Burgess was an excellent administrator, adept at running interference so that those of us who worked for him could do our jobs effectively.

“I want you to be unit chief,” Kohl announced. He’s a dynamic, hard-charging, aggressive type.

I said I wanted to continue doing cases, trial strategy, court testimony, and public speaking. That’s what I thought I was good at. Kohl assured me I’d be able to and nominated me for the job.

My first act as unit chief, as I’ve said many times, was to “get rid of the BS” by getting rid of “Behavioral Science” in our name and calling it, simply, the Investigative Support Unit. I wanted to give our local police clients and the rest of the FBI a clear message about where we were—and were not—coming from.

With the help and unending support of Roberta Beadle, who was in charge of personnel, I got VICAP staffing from four up to sixteen. The rest of the unit grew, too, and soon we were up to a total complement of about forty people. To relieve some of the administrative burden created by our new size, I instituted a regional management program in which individual agents would be responsible for a specific region of the country.

I thought these people all deserved to be GS-14s, but headquarters was only willing to give us four or five 14 slots. So I got them to agree that as each one got through a two-year specialized training program, they would each be “anointed” as experts and recognized as supervisory special agents entitled to that rating and pay. The program involved auditing all National Academy Behavioral Science Unit-taught courses, taking two Armed Forces Institute of Pathology courses, working on psychiatry and law at the University of Virginia (Park Dietz was there at the time), attending John Reed’s interrogation school, studying death investigation with the Baltimore Medical Examiner’s Office, riding with NYPD homicide units, and writing profiles under one of the regional managers.

We also did much more international work than ever before. In the last year before he retired, for instance, Gregg McCrary worked major serial murders in both Canada and Austria.

Functionally, the unit ran well. Administratively, I ran something of a loose ship, which is merely a function of my personality. When I would see someone burning out, I’d go around the rules and regulations, sign them out, or tell them to take some time off. Ultimately, they would be much more efficient than if I had them working by the rule book. When you’ve got top people and you can’t reward them monetarily, you have to help them out in other ways.

I also always got along well with the support staff, and when I retired, they seemed the most sorry to see me go. This probably goes back to my time in the Air Force. So many of the leaders in the Bureau were military officers (and many, like my last SAC, Robin Montgomery, were decorated war heroes) that they approached things from an officer’s perspective. There’s nothing wrong with this, and large organizations would function less smoothly if most of the administrators were like me. But I was an enlisted man and so always identified emotionally with the support people. I was therefore a lot more likely to get the help I needed than some of the other chiefs.

A lot of people think of the FBI the same way they used to think of IBM: a huge bureaucratic organization of bright and accomplished, though interchangeable, humorless men and women in white shirts and dark suits. But I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a small group of truly unique individuals, each of whom is a standout in his or her own right. As time went by and behavioral science’s role in law enforcement grew, we all naturally developed our own special interests and fields of expertise.

From the early days of our study, Bob Ressler pursued research while I devoted myself to the operational side. Roy Hazelwood is the expert on rape and lust murder. Ken Lanning is the leading authority on crimes against children. Jim Reese started off in profiling but found his great contribution to be made in the field of stress and stress management for police officers and federal agents. He has a Ph.D. in the field, has written extensively, and is sought after for his counseling ability throughout the law enforcement community. Once he came into the unit, Jim Wright not only took on the training of new profilers but also became the leading authority on stalking, one of the fastest growing of the serious interpersonal crimes. And each of us has developed many, many personal relationships with field offices, police departments, sheriff’s offices, and state agencies around the country so that when someone calls for help, he or she knows and trusts whom they’re talking to.

It’s sometimes daunting for the new people coming into the unit, trying to blend in with all these “stars,” especially after the film The Silence of the Lambs came out and such intense national interest was focused on what we do. But we try to assure them that the reason they were selected is because we feel they have what it takes to be full and equal members of the team. They all come from strong investigative backgrounds, and once they’re with us, we put them through a full two years of on-the-job training. Add to that their intelligence, intuition, diligence, integrity, and self-confidence, together with an equal capacity to listen to and evaluate other people’s points of view. From my perspective, one of the things that has made the FBI Academy the premier institution of its kind in the world is that it is made up of individuals, each pursuing his or her own interests and talents for a common purpose. And each of those individuals, in turn, encourages the same qualities in others. I hope and trust that the collegial and mutually supportive system we set up in the unit will survive as we first-generation people retire.

At my retirement dinner at Quantico in June 1995, a lot of people had nice things to say about me, which I found both humbling and extremely moving. Frankly, I was prepared for a real roast and figured all my people would use this last official chance to dump everything on me they’d been saving up. I ran into Jud Ray in the men’s room afterward, and he was already expressing regret at having held off. Once they’d blown their opportunity, though, and it was my turn to speak, I felt no obligation to restrain myself and let loose with all the zingers I’d armed myself with in anticipation of what they’d say. I had no particular wisdom or serious advice to impart that night; I just hope I’ve managed to strike a chord by the example I’ve tried to set.

Since my retirement, I’ve gone back to Quantico to teach and consult, and my colleagues know I’m always available to them. I continue to lecture and speak as I always have, giving the perspective of my twenty-five years of experience delving into the mind of murder. I’ve retired from the FBI, but I don’t think I’ll ever truly be able to stop what it is I’ve trained to do. Unfortunately, ours is very much a growth industry, and we’ll never run out of customers.

People often ask me what can be done about our horrendous violent-crime statistics. While there are definitely practical things that can and should be done, I believe that the only chance of solving our crime problem is if enough people want to. More police and more courts and more prisons and better investigative techniques are fine, but the only way crime is going to go down is if all of us simply stop accepting and tolerating it in our families, our friends, and our associates. This is the lesson from other countries with far lower numbers than ours. Only this type of grassroots solution, in my opinion, will be effective. Crime is a moral problem. It can only be resolved on a moral level.

In all my years of research and dealing with violent offenders, I’ve never yet come across one who came from what I would consider a good background and functional, supportive family unit. I believe that the vast majority of violent offenders are responsible for their conduct, made their choices, and should face the consequences of what they do. It’s ridiculous to say that someone doesn’t appreciate the seriousness of what he’s done because he’s only fourteen or fifteen. At eight, my son, Jed, has already known for years what’s right and what’s wrong.

But twenty-five years of observation has also told me that criminals are more “made” than “born,” which means that somewhere along the line, someone who provided a profound negative influence could have provided a profound positive one instead. So what I truly believe is that along with more money and police and prisons, what we most need more of is love. This is not being simplistic; it’s at the very heart of the issue.

Not too long ago, I was invited to speak before the New York chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. The talk was well attended and the reception was warm and cordial. These men and women who made their living writing stories about murder and mayhem were acutely interested in hearing from someone who had worked thousands of actual cases. In fact, ever since Thomas Harris and The Silence of the Lambs, writers and newspeople and filmmakers have been coming to us for the “real story.” But what I quickly realized as I related the details of some of my more interesting and graphic cases was that many people in the audience were turning off and tuning out. They were getting seriously grossed out by hearing about the things that my people and I saw every day. I saw that they had no interest in hearing the details, at the same moment that it must have dawned on them that they didn’t want to write about it like it really was. Fair enough. We each have our own clienteles.

The dragon doesn’t always win, and we’re doing whatever we can to see to it that he wins less and less. But the evil he represents, the thing I’ve confronted throughout my career, isn’t going to go away, and somebody has to tell the real story. That’s what I’ve tried to do here, just as I’ve lived it.

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