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A Serial Killer's Backyard

By K5er 16877 in Op-Ed
Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 09:39:57 AM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)
/etc

The light was waning from the sky. I reached out the sliding glass door. Normally this wouldn't be difficult, but the door was on the second floor and opened into nothingness. The wood burning stove held taut on the rope as I pushed it out the second story opening. The legs, formerly caught on the door track, swung free from the floor and the stove jerked against the rope. "OK," I yelled back to the holders of the rope, "you can give it some slack." As the stove descended to the ground outside, I thought to myself, "Wow, it's a serial killer's stove."


We left our house at 5:30 in the evening, right after changing our clothes from a long day at work. The driving directions were simple. Head south on 101, take the Avila exit. Take the road down to See Canyon and then to Davis Canyon. Follow the dirt road past the PG&E installation and then take a right. Simple directions are rarely simple.

The dirt road was long and unkempt. As we wound through the hills, the light was slipping away. The strangest folk seemed to live out here. A three story wood house, built like a cabin, hung on stilts in the middle of nothingness. A beat-up, old Streamline trailer, surrounded by dilapidating iron furniture and a brand new Mercedes under a tarp. The crazy woman whom Connie had warned me about, who chased Connie's car for two hundred feet screaming, "Slow down!" And, of course, Rex Allan Krebs, who kidnapped, raped, and murdered two college girls a few years ago.

Krebs used to rent an isolated lot near the end of Davis Canyon. He lived in the smaller of the two structures, a converted A-frame barn. A few years back, he had separately kidnapped the girls from the nearby college town of San Luis Obispo. He brought them to his home and tied them up in his garage. He was convicted of raping and murdering the two at his house.

After Krebs' conviction, the owners of the land tried to sell off the land, but there were few buyers. The double killings were big news in such a small community and, as I figure it, no one wanted to live with the stigma over their heads. A local environmental group purchased the land and was converting it to a conservancy. First, however, they planned on demolishing the converted barn where the murders had occurred. Indirectly, the group contacted my co-worker, Connie, and offered her anything she wanted to scavenge from the property. Since Connie's husband was injured, we offered to help.

As we slowly lowered the stove to the ground, a leg caught on an outcropping of the building that housed the water heater. The leg was about two feet below the floor I was laying on. I reached out and tried to lift the stove. It must have weighed over a hundred pounds. My wife held on to me as I reached further out. With a hard shove, the leg broke free and the rope violently jerked beneath me. The stove continued its slow descent.

I didn't know what to expect when I agreed to go to Krebs' house. I had quite a bit of apprehension. That must be natural. I didn't want to see where those heinous crimes had taken place. I didn't want to believe that such things happened in my proverbial backyard. By going there, I was somehow acknowledging the evilness of Rex Allan Krebs' actions. Even though nothing external would change, I would be accepting the fact that my world is not as safe as I once thought.

After the stove reached the ground, we continued lowering smaller objects to the forest outside. We gathered all of our tools and scavenged finds and loaded them into Connie's pickup. I took a break from the heavy lifting to appreciate the beauty around me. It was far past sunset and bats swirled around my head. The lush trees surrounded us and the croaking of frogs from the nearby pond filled the air.

What struck me most about this land was how completely normal it was. There were no pools of blood. There were no dug up shallow graves. There were no signs of a struggle. I want to believe that the land healed itself. I want to believe that this land was formerly foreign and was somehow returned to this pristine shape. I want to believe that we can tell evilness just by looking at it. The truth, however, is much uglier. Evilness looks just like you and I. Places where evilness occurs can be as beautiful as a beach sunset. We cannot tell evilness just by sight. Evilness lives in every neighborhood.

A small part of me changed that day. I acknowledged that evil does not wear horns and a cape. Evil wears a business suit, or floral dress, or shorts and a tee shirt. I acknowledged that the nice street that I live on was not a place of safety. I had always known this, but, until that day, I had never truly accepted it.

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A Serial Killer's Backyard | 24 comments (14 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
Yes, psychopaths live among us (4.00 / 7) (#4)
by greenrd on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:05:02 PM EST

I acknowledged that evil does not wear horns and a cape. Evil wears a business suit, or floral dress, or shorts and a tee shirt.

Truer words were never spoken. Unfortunately, while such henious crimes are very rare in North America, the mentality that is often behind serial rape and murder - psychopathology - is far more prevalent. It is estimated that there are 300,000 clinical psychopaths in Canada alone, most of them undiagnosed and undetected by the law.

True psychopaths do not have any conscience - and nor do they experience fear - in the sense we understand those words. They are pathological liars, often fast-talkers and exceptionally good at deceiving people, they seem to only understand primitive emotions like anger, and they don't give a damn about anyone but themselves. Some of them are wife-beaters, some of them are child abusers, some of them are career criminals who show no remorse and who are even made worse by existing treatment programs! Some of them are so-called "white collar" criminals who defraud dozens of people or institutions and leave a trail of misery in their wake. The majority of them manage to screw people over for their entire lives without ever getting in trouble with the law. I heartily recommend the book Without Conscience by renowned expert Robert D. Hare, for anyone who's interested in the disturbing world of psychopaths and what, if anything, we might be able to do about them. I intend to do a book review of it for k5 at some point.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes

Correction (3.50 / 2) (#5)
by greenrd on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 06:07:31 PM EST

Actually, to be precise, I should have said "they show no true remorse." They're usually quite adept at fake remorse, when they think they can get something out of it.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

All right! (4.50 / 2) (#9)
by M0dUluS on Wed Oct 24, 2001 at 09:12:09 PM EST

I read that too. I was interested in the supposedly clinical sections where he claims that if you examine brain activity in psychopaths that the area which is normally active when dealing with emotions is considerable smaller than with "normal" humans". I never bothered to check the primary research papers. Do you know if it stands up? The book is very chatty and interesting (you can detect psychopaths by talking about emotions and watch them wave their hands, also they make too much eye contact) but very much a layman's text.

Anyway, it's neat that you intend to review it. Ever since reading it I'm always hoping I'll get to talk to GWB about love and then I'll watch to see if he does a lot of "beats".

Anyway, I second your recommendation. It's a pretty easy, light read and IIRC there are references in it that people could chase up



"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
The banality of evil (3.80 / 5) (#12)
by FredBloggs on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 05:58:39 AM EST

"All There Is To Know About Adolph Eichmann" - Leonard Cohen


EYES:...........................Medium

HAIR:...........................Medium

WEIGHT:.......................Medium

HEIGHT:........................Medium

DISTINGUISHING FEATURES:.......None

NUMBER OF FINGERS:........Ten

NUMBER OF TOES:............Ten

INTELLIGENCE:................Medium


What did you expect?

Talons?

Oversize incisors?

Green saliva?



Madness?


Some thoughts... (3.50 / 2) (#13)
by WWWWolf on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 06:55:32 AM EST

Interesting... I've been thinking of the same thing myself recently.

I'm always afraid that there will be a fire and my home will be destroyed.

When I got my DSL connection I was afraid that my machine would be compromised after moments.

Yet...

I've never even seen a fire, except in television. I don't think the house even would burn.

During the couple of weeks, I've only seen one rather incompetent script kiddy who tried a series of IIS spl0its or something.

It is always strange that what you expect to be a harsh, dangerous world... isn't, in fact.

The world is sometimes deceivingly nice.

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...


When you lose data you might see it differently (none / 0) (#15)
by greenrd on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 12:15:24 PM EST

The risks may actually be quite small (depending on what subnet you happen to be on and where in the world you are), but that's no reason not to secure your box and backup regularly.

Of course, I can't talk about security, all I do is disable ftp and telnet, and backup when I can be bothered. ;)


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

-1 Diary Entry, Crap (3.50 / 2) (#16)
by farl on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 02:01:02 PM EST

This is a diary entry about a weird day you had in your life.

Killing two people does't make a serial killer, it makes an amateur.


Farl
k5@sketchwork.com
www.sketchwork.com
Irony (4.50 / 2) (#17)
by K5er 16877 on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 03:31:29 PM EST

Perhaps before you say something is mis-categorized, you should look at the difference between topical and editorial comments.

[ Parent ]
Do your own research before you spout (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by farl on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 06:35:42 PM EST

Have a look at the difference between editorial and topical comments. Then take a look at who actually WROTE the faq (with some help from others) for k5. Then do the process again a few times until it sinks in.

All fighting aside, it is topical, because while I think the article is well written (editorial aspect), I think its posted in the wrong topic (therefore topical).


Farl
k5@sketchwork.com
www.sketchwork.com
[ Parent ]
Amateur (3.50 / 2) (#18)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 06:04:19 PM EST

No, killing two people and getting caught makes an amateur.

[ Parent ]
Or a beginner [NT] (2.50 / 2) (#20)
by axxeman on Thu Oct 25, 2001 at 06:40:31 PM EST


lec·tur·er (lkchr-r) n. Abbr. lectr: graduate unemployable outside the faculty.
[ Parent ]

The tools and residence of "psychos" hav (none / 0) (#22)
by Kasreyn on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 12:22:18 PM EST

Some people have a disgusted fascination. Some people want to get their hands on the tools/paraphernalia/residence so they can be a sick copycat. Some people attach no significance to the items.

But I heard (from a vaguely reputable source, which was I think a USA Today article about famous crimes of the last century), that some businessman spent quite a load of money ($400k?) to buy Ted Bundy's paraphernalia (drills, saws, vats...) to prevent a public auction. The implements were secretly buried, a course of action I must say I agree with.


-Kasreyn

I also agree with an earlier poster that I don't think 2 rape/murders make a serial killer. The official definition may differ, but I think a serial killer is one who kills many people based on something they have in common. (Bundy liked gay men, Son of Sam liked brunette women...)


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Grr, above post got maimed by K5 (none / 0) (#23)
by Kasreyn on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 12:28:08 PM EST

Title should have been,

"The tools and residence of "psychos" have a stigma to them."

I propose K5's comment system have about 20 more character's worth of space in comment titles...


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
I lived in Morro Bay, next to San Luis Obispo ... (none / 0) (#24)
by Kalani on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 11:08:40 PM EST

... and I remember when this happened. This was a huge case, and it affected pretty much everyone who had anything to do with San Luis Obispo.

Anyway, not to say that "evil" can't wear a suit and tie, but the man who was convicted of these crimes was a loner who wore tattered clothing and generally looked unkempt. Of course, that does NOT say anything about whether a person is good or evil, I'm just trying to correct a minor point.

The bit about "the Earth healing itself" etc seems a little outlandish to me. When I walked through gumball alley or played pool in Mustang tavern, I never thought "I'm standing where a serial killer once stood" because plenty of other bad people have passed by also. There's no association between human character and geography.

If any of you are in the neighborhood, you ought to stop into SLO. It's a really great city and there's quite a lot to it. Cal Poly is reason enough to visit!

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
A Serial Killer's Backyard | 24 comments (14 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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