Patrick W. Kearney: The Trash Bag Murderers
The Predators at Work
Hitchhiking has never been a safe mode of transportation, but in the 1970s, getting into a car with a stranger was a horrifyingly common occurrence. Predators cruised the freeway onramps and beach highways. They frequented bars, hoping to find young boys in an agreeable state of inebriation. Sometimes they were looking for money, sometimes for quick, impersonal sex, sometimes they wanted to vent their frustrations and rage on someone, anyone, unsuspecting.
While homosexuals constitute only about 5 percent of serial killers, they are more prone to "overkill" than their straight counterparts, indulging in the more horrific extremes of torture, mutilation and dismemberment, according to Harold Schechter in "The Serial Killer Files." Gay men are also among the most prolific of serial killers. The sheer promiscuity of their crimes is a kind of grotesque mirror of the free-ranging sexual lifestyle embraced by so many gay men in the pre-AIDS era of the 1970s.
Why homosexual serial killers as a group should be especially sadistic is an interesting question, says Schechter, though one element is surely the prevailing homophobia of American society, which causes many gay men to grow up with a deep-seated sense of self-hatred, a violent homophobia of their own. When these feelings are combined with the psychopathology of a serial killer, the results can be particularly appalling.
The FBI estimates that somewhere between 10 and 50 serial killers are still at large in America.