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most popularized and sickest serial killers to walk this earth. The crimes he committed were heinous and brought pain upon so many communities across the United States as he terrorized a large amount of young woman and took their lives away from them. The purpose of this paper is to address this killer, explain his backstory and upbringing, shed light on the victims he murdered, and focus on the different neutralization methods and justification processes Ted Bundy used to manipulate himself and others into believing that the crimes he committed were not as horrible as what they seemed to be and he did them due to specific incidents that happened during his own childhood that affected him negatively.
Keywords: Ted Bundy, neutralization, justification of crime, serial killer
Analysis of Ted Bundy
On November 24, 1946, a young infant boy was brought into this world and he would become negatively recognized as one of America’s most heinous serial killers in history. Theodore Robert Bundy, most commonly known as Ted Bundy, was born in Burlington, Vermont, in the mid 1940s. He grew up with a somewhat complicated childhood as he lived with his mother and his stepfather who constantly abused him verbally and physically. While he thought he could escape this during his school years, he became the main individual to bully since he was known to be antisocial and lacked friends. Bundy stayed alone frequently and would focus on studying and increasing his knowledge. When the time came for Bundy to go to college, he underwent several relationships with women and he seemed quite striking to the females on his campus. However, no one knew that he was the killer behind multiple cases of sexual assault and murder. Bundy’s plot involved choosing innocent women who looked younger and more vulnerable towards him. He would confront the women by having a broken arm/leg, pretending to be a law enforcement officer, or act as if he had a disability as a way to gain sympathy from his future victims. Once Bundy was able to coax the victim into his vehicle, the infamously known tan Volkswagen Beetle, he would grab something such as a crowbar and hit the victims over the head with the item. This would allow him to handcuff the women and force them into the floorboard of his vehicle so they are no longer seen (Jenkins, n.d.). Bundy would go on to commit similar crimes during the timespan of 1970 to 1974 and eventually murder at least twenty young women before being incarcerated for his terrible crimes. While these are the confessed crimes and murders from Ted Bundy, there are thought to be more victims that he has murdered.
Ted Bundy’s Justification for Crimes
While Bundy did undergo a troublesome childhood, many people could not understand how this could fuel his sexual desires and murderous tendencies to torture and murder innocent young women. Bundy eventually came out years after the murders occurred and did an interview with Los Angeles Time where he explains how pornography fueled his sexual and heinous desires to hurt women. He tells the interviewer that he began watch pornography at quite a young age and he started with soft-core. He considered his viewings to be quite normal compared to any other young boy his age, however, this began to change as Bundy searched his local neighborhood and town adult shops until he eventually found and built up into more extreme types of pornography that involved torture, binding, and unconsensual sexual acts.
The use of neutralization was a common thought process that Ted Bundy used to justify his criminal activity. He believed that he could blame certain factors on why he acted the way he did and that made his crimes worth noting and justifying. The understanding of neutralization was first introduced by two researchers, Sykes and Matza (1957), who explain that there are a multitude of types of neutralizations that can be used by suspects/criminals such as denial of injury and denial of responsibility. This is the exact technique Bundy understood how to use and manipulate those into believing they should feel sorry for him and de-escalate the problems and pain he placed on victims and their families. His denial of responsibility was evident and the most common form of neutralization that was present in Bundy’s explanation as he shares that he was not completely responsible for the corrupt nature of his actions. He would always place the blame on the pornographic content in which he viewed as a child, yet this pornography was content he personally took the initiative to seek out. There was no one that forced him to view this type of media except himself.
An interesting factor was discovered by two authors, Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth, who made the decision to complete a book that documents key information about Ted Bundy that would come straight from the source itself. Michaud and Aynesworth sought out to speak with Bundy one on one to discuss the crimes he committed and they placed these documented conversations into their book for further analysis for the interested reader. When they first approached Bundy to do the interviews regarding the murders, Bundy denied murdering anyone and he stated that he would only participate in the interviews if he could talk in third person and refer to himself as “he”. Bundy would go to explain how these murders took place in a hypothetical standpoint from an “imaginary” serial killer if they were to plot this type of crime out. He refused to admit to these crimes, yet he was never in denial of it. He was simply lying about this information. He did, however, provide the authors with a substantial amount of evidence regarding the murders he committed and all of the information he provided from his third person perspective did accurately line up with evidence that was discovered years later from the crimes.
Ted Bundy truly was a disgusting individual who believed that he had the power to use his charm and looks to swoon over young women and convince them to believe his lies so that he could use his power to control and take advantage of them in negative ways. Bundy used neutralization techniques often used by many psychopaths as a way to justify the terrible crimes that he committed.
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