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Born in November 1946, Ted Bundy became among the top-serial killers. His behaviors were distressing, and he started them at a young age. Bundy murdered several young women from 1974 to 1978. He actively defended himself in court by legitimizing his crimes. He escaped prison several times and continued with a serial killing mission. This paper discusses how Bundy legitimized his acts of sexual aberrations. Legitimization of his actions is analyzed from subjective, statistical, religious, and cultural standards. Based on the analysis, the paper posits that personalcriteria such as denial of victim and denial of responsibility best legitimize Bundy’s action. Even though his interviews did not provide sufficient answers to why he became a serial killer, some clues can help conclude that his acts were daily.
Ted Bundy’s Sexual Aberrations
Ted Bundy was a famous serial killer who confessed to killing over thirty women and was sentenced to death by an electric chair. He was born 24 November 1946 in Burlington and grew up to become an intelligent, articulate, and charming young man (McCann, 2021). He started exhibiting signs of a sadistic serial killer when he was a teenager living in Washington. He preyed on attractive and young college women using a ruse. He often faked disability or used his charm to convince women to assist him in unloading objects or carrying books from his car.
Furthermore, he was known to impersonate authority figures such as firefighters and police officers to gain trust before attacking his victims by striking them on the head with a pipe or crowbar and forcing them into his vehicle. He often bludgeoned or strangled his victims and mutilated them after death. He was able to rape and murder several women in this manner.
Terranova (2020) states that Ted Bundy’s horrific murders, disturbing disguises, and bizarre rituals make him among America’s top prolific serial killers. The world remains charmed by the well-educated, wellspoken, and outwardly upstanding man who embarked on a murder mission. The twisted butcher kidnapped, raped, and murdered more than 30 victims, all young girls and women. However, his ability to schmooze his audience with unique strategies made him easily fool the police and public. Some still could not understand how the handsome law student could commit such cruel acts even after exposing the actual extent of his dreadful crimes. He still did not let suffering stop even after mercilessly killing his victims. Their torture would involve decapitating the women with a hacksaw before applying makeup and washing their hair.
After indulging in his peculiar pamper sessions, he would also horrifically have sex with his victim’s beheaded corpses. Ted even allegedly redressed his victims before engaging in necrophilia. All these acts still unsatisfied him, and he opted to keep the victim’s head in his apartment. He decapitated at least 12 women and stored their heads as warped reminders of his heinous acts (McCann, 2021). Police claimed that Ted could groom the dead women before using their mutilated heads to perform sex. When asked, Ted often claimed that you do not want to forget when you work hard to do something right.
Legitimizing Ted’s Sexual Aberrations
McCabe (2022), studying sexual acts can be viewed from several standards, such as cultural, subjective, religious, and statistical. His actions could not fit the statistical standard because many considered his sexual acts abnormal. The cultural and religious norms do not work because his behavior is unacceptable in society and religion. The subjective standards can be best applied to analyze and legitimate Bundy’s sexual acts (Terranova, 2020). A subjective standard of reasonableness determines whether the action produces a reasonable and honest belief in an individual having physical and mental characteristics such as personal history and knowledge. In other words, the subjective standards view the suitability of various actions by putting them within the normal behavioral range for the person at their current life stage. In Bundy’s case, the subjective standard can prove that Ted’s actions are quite every day from his world’s perception, even though his actions might be considered demonic and abnormal. The denial of responsibility and the denial of the victim are the two essential scopes that can be used to explain the legitimacy of his sexual aberrations.
Denial of Responsibility
This dimension postulates that studying the reasons for a person’s behavior can be used as a neutralizing approach if external factors are responsible for the behavior. The wrongdoer denies the criminal offense was their fault and instead blames others for responsibility for their actions(Rakestraw & Cameron, 2019). The offender claims that the criminal acts were the responsibility of external forces such as parental abuse or peer pressure. Typically, offenders believe they were forced to act in such a way and had no other choice. It is common for the wrongdoer to view the deviant behavior as an accident or play the role of the victim. A common technique is statements such as ‘I had no choice’ or ‘it was not my fault.’
According to Rakestraw & Cameron (2019), psychologists suggest that individuals’ current lifestyle is a product of their childhood. External factors might have motivated Bundy to commit criminal actions. First, Bundy had an uneventful and troubled youth. His childhood offers some hints as to how he became a serial killer. Bundy was brought up in a violent homestead. His grandfather was described as the owner of a raging temper, and so was his father. This temper was passed down to Bundy. His violent acts touched everyone, from dogs and cats to family members and employees. He beat his children, tortured and abused neighborhood animals, and generally acted violently and vulgarly. He might have experienced psychological and physical abuse at the hands of his grandfather. His upbringing subjected him to a lack of social development. Therefore, he could shift the blame on others to seek legitimacy for his actions.
Denial of Victims
This dimension asserts that the victim deserved the crime committed against him because of his sexual orientation and ethnic background. Offenders might justify their wrongdoings by arguing that the victim was a bad person. The offender committed the crime out of the victim’s behavior. For example, offenders may claim that the victim wore clothing that enticed them to commit rape acts. Having committed over thirty serial murders, objectifying his victims was the only way to legitimize his actions.
Bundy appeared to legitimize his acts in one of the interviews when he claimed that soldiers were sent to depersonalize the enemy, and in the process, they killed innocent people. Bundy asserts that the innocent people killed are not real human beings but images. In other words, the soldiers killed an image. He used the war analogy to compare his situation. Killing innocent people is not considered a crime because the mission is to eliminate the enemy. In Bundy’s case, he depicts his victims (the idealized woman in modern society) as images. An idealized woman is a sensation that portrays women as objects. Therefore, it can be argued that he had no intention to murder but take ownership of the women as objects. Basing the argument on the denial of the victim, Bundy’s acts might be considered legitimate because society considers taking possession of objects a regular thing.
Could he Consider Some of His Own Acts Normal?
According to Williams (2020), Bundy was highly organized at the peak of his killing spree between 1974 to 1976. He left very little evidence behind crime scenes and kept his desires under control. Due to either dumping or burying his victims’bodies, he did very little beyond destroying personal property or clothing to conceal his anonymity. No fingerprints, fibers, or hairs were left behind. He initially abducted victims but later discovered it easier to lure women to his car. Research shows that murder is a type of addiction for serial killers (Williams, 2020). Once they have killed, they want to kill again to experience that rush of power and control over death and life. After escaping prison, he swore to curb his behavior by staying low and out of trouble for some time without being caught. He had not realized that he wanted now to kill more to satisfy his addiction. He felt out of control, and murdering would assist him in coping. Therefore, he was consumed by murder towards the end of his run and considered killing a regular thing. He did not even pay as much attention to hiding crime evidence as he did when he started murdering. Besides, he was compelled to murder and lacked remorse or empathy while or after doing it.
Ted Bundy, an infamous serial killer, grew up having issues with families and suffered from an antisocial personality. He was very violent and murdered over thirty young girls and women to have sex. He evaded police and the public by impersonating authority figures. He also used calculated techniques to lure women into his car by asking for their help or using a charm. Legitimizing Bundy’s acts can be viewed from the denial of responsibility and the denial of the victim. He considered killing normal to quench his thirst for murder addiction.