Bad Billy Pratt…
Was Ted Bundy insane? Too easy to say yes but not quite fair to say no, so I offer this: when Bundy was days from execution, throwing everything against the wall hoping for a postponement, he named hardcore porn as the spark that led him to kill.
And this is where the bugman begins to take up arms against Bundy- porn never hurt anyone, he insists with his limp dick dangling between his legs. At the very heart of what the bugman holds dear is the belief that it’s possible to live in a stimulant heavy bubble, bombarded by images of sex and death, while maintaining the ability to keep a healthy distance from it- to compartmentalize it as only entertainment.
When Bundy started killing, hardcore porn was just hitting the mainstream.
Erotica was initially meant to glamorize women. Playboy took the all American girl-next-door and made you fall in love with her centerfold- her hand-written data sheet where she explains how she loves guys who cook and hates traffic- allowing you to color your own fantasy with her, falling asleep wishing her perfume were on your lips…
Hardcore porn reduces women to a consumable and makes sex a la carte. Gone is the illusion of romance. Porn is sex detached from that which typically surrounds it, fleshing it out as three-dimensional by default- things that had been inseparable before. Even a prostitute provides a semblance of human connection and normalcy; pornography is closer to an assembly line. Porn is dehumanization met with a false sense of accessibility- a woman who exists only to be used.
For the average man, the tropes of porn are only a small part of the presentation. While every man wants an all-accommodating woman, they’d settle for just getting it in. Porn exists as a hyper-realized sexual fantasy, with men picturing themselves as the big-dicked actor fucking their blonde, brunette, or redhead fantasy-of-choice with the big-tits and fat ass, knowing full well that they’ll gladly settle for Average Annie at the Spring Fling mixer.
But what if Ted Bundy went the other way? What if porn wasn’t enough and Bundy needed something stronger- if dating Average Annie wasn’t enough nor was a one-night-stand with her… What if porn began Bundy down his dark path?
Bundy was insane. One does not apply make up and comb the hair of bodies to prepare them for sex as putrefaction set in without being insane. He just happened to be handsome, be able to read people and communicate better than most killers. The thing swirling around my mind is was he America’s greatest serial killer?
He is its most infamous for a variety of reasons we have alluded to. He was at the right moment, the right face, the right victims and the right drive and personality to push his name and face to the masses. Our back and forth has covered the argument for why he would be considered America’s best, but I will vote no. People saying he is are caught up in the Netflix marketing moment.
From a body count perspective names we have mentioned (Gacy and Green River Killer) surpass Bundy. The Green River Killer though like the recent black amateur boxer who has admitted to nearly 100 murders selected hookers and runaways for victims. The boxer had a lot of break-ins that ended up in rape and murder. The Green River Killer inspired two different Cold Case Files episodes and then a third when he was finally caught years later. There is a difference between killing those on the fringes of society who are already considered out of sight versus what Bundy did and who he selected.
The Boston Strangler shares features similar to Bundy but falls far short. The mass fear he inspired in Boston was widespread and the memory lasted for years. There is the problem of people doubting DeSalvo was the only killer or if he was even involved. If you talk to the right CSIs or cops in Boston, they will mention the many cash payments that seem to have shut people up over the years. DeSalvo had a nickname but missed the media rush that Bundy enjoyed.
We have mentioned BTK and Zodiac and that is where it gets more interesting. Bundy killed and had his escapes, and in court, he had his fun in the limelight. His involvement in his defense was macabre as he probed witnesses for lurid descriptions of the crimes. This was opposite of the later self defense by the Long Island Railroad Killer. That killer’s defense team tried a black rage defense, which would be more in vogue now, but were removed for Colin Ferguson to defend himself. He would ask victims, “Can you describe the man who shot you” and they’d say “yes, you”. It would have been an SNL skit if not for the six dead people. Bundy made his crimes more grandiose with his actions, as did BTK and Zodiac.
The BTK case and Zodiac both involve murderers who took on the media and cops as they committed crimes. Both taunted law enforcement and engaged with the media over the years. BTK posed in women’s lingerie in the same positions he left victims, and Zodiac sent letter after letter saying that they would never catch him. BTK pulled the most Boomer of moves with floppy disks and idiotically, thought the cops would be honest to him. He also failed to see how tech had changed.
Zodiac though seems to be the best fit. Like Bundy he attacked everyday people and even in broad daylight. He coined his nickname. He taunted law enforcement. He wore a mask with a symbol. He also looked very similar to the infamous D.B. Cooper who successfully air-jacked a plane. Zodiac has even become a meme for Senator Ted Cruz when he mangled Spanish in ’16.
There is something else special about Zodiac that even Bundy missed. It is not evading capture. Zodiac burst onto the scene at the same time that California went through the summer of love and entered the chaos that our media incorrectly calls the wild ‘60s that is really ’68-’75. It was the idea of the summer of love ending with the trial of Charles Manson who went from hippie that rubbed shoulders with the Beach Boys to cult leader who ordered murders and whose trial was a circus showing the nation the dark side to the ‘60s liberation. The post-war arrangement was coming under massive strain, and the population was starting to realize it was not all right. Zodiac was a slap in the face. Zodiac was the dark murderer moving around golden California killing at will and assuming he would never get caught because he knew how bad society was. Bundy leaves people wondering why. Zodiac leaves people wondering why, who but not how.