Ecocritics investigate such things as the underlying ecological values, what, precisely, is meant by the word nature, and whether the examination of “place” should be a distinctive category, much like….
Reflection Essay on Jeffrey Dahmer
Jeffrey Dahmer When I was a little kid I was just like anybody else. I was born in Milwaukee in May 21, 1960, the son of Lionel and Joyce Dahmer. At the age of six after some minor surgery, which coincided with the birth of my brother, there seemed to be a change in me. At the time a career opportunity for my father resulted in my family moving from Iowa to Ohio. I don’t know why it started. I don’t have any definite answers on that myself. If I knew the true, real reasons why all this started, before it ever did, I wouldn’t probably have done any of it.
Though the thoughts were like arrows, shooting through my mind from out of the blue. By the time I was fourteen the compulsions to murder and necrophilia began to occur. I’d rather be talking about anything else in the world right now, but just after I graduated from high school, in June 1978, I picked up a hitchhiker named Steven Hicks, I took him home to my parents’ house, where we drank beer and had sex. When he tried to leave, I killed him with a barbell by hitting his head. That night in Ohio, that was one impulsive night. Nothing’s been normal since then. It tainted my whole life.
After it happened I thought I’d just try to live as normally as possible and bury it, but things like that don’t stay buried. I didn’t think it would, but it does, it tainted my whole life. I wish I hadn’t done it. At the same time of my first killing, my alcohol consumption became uncontrollable and in January 1979, I dropped out of Ohio State University after only one term due to my drunkenness. Thus, my recently remarried father insisted that I enlist in the Army, and I was sent to Germany. Though my drinking problem persisted and two years later the Army discharged me for alcoholism.
Following my discharge I returned home to Ohio where I went through Hicks’ decomposing remains, pulverized them with a hammer, and scattered the pieces even more widely in the woods. Later in October 1981 I was arrested for disorderly conduct and my father sent me to live with my grandmother in Wisconsin, but my alcohol problems persisted. My next arrest occurred some years later, in September 1986, for masturbating in front of two young boys, for which I received a one-year probationary sentence. In September 1987 I took my second victim, Steven Toumi, whom I met in a gay bar.
We checked into a hotel room and drank a lot. I had no intention of doing it. However, the next morning, I found Toumi dead beside me. I was in complete shock. I just couldn’t believe I had done it again after those years when I’d done nothing like that. I don’t know what was going through my mind. I have no memory of it. I tried to dredge it up but I have no memory whatsoever. I bought a large suitcase to transport Toumi’s corpse to my grandmother’s basement, where I had sex with, and masturbated on it, before dismembering it and disposing of the remains in the rubbish.
I developed a pattern of murder that persisted for the duration of my thirteen year killing spree: I sought out mostly African-American men at gay meeting places, lured them home to his grandmother’s basement with promises of money or sex, where I would ply them with alcohol laced with drugs, strangle them, have sex with the corpse or masturbate on it, then dismember the corpses and dispose of them, usually keeping their genitals or skulls as souvenirs.
I often took photos of each victim at various stages of my murder process, so I could recollect each act afterwards and relive the experience. This re-enactment included assembling the skulls and masturbating in front of them, to achieve gratification. My grandmother eventually tired of the late nights and drunkenness, although she had no knowledge of the other activities, forced me to move out in September 1988, but before that I killed another two people at her house.
At this point I had an extreme close call with authorities: I had an encounter with a thirteen-year-old Laotian boy which resulted in charges of sexual exploitation, and second-degree sexual assault, being laid against me. I pleaded guilty, claiming that the boy had appeared much older and, while I awaited sentencing, I moved back in temporarily with my grandmother, where I once again put her basement to gruesome use; in February 1989 I lured an aspiring African-American model, named Anthony Sears, and I drugged, strangled, sodomized, photographed, dismembered and disposed of his body.
In May 1989, at my trial for child molestation, to my defense the counsel argued that I needed treatment, not incarceration and the judge agreed, handing down a five year probationary sentence, with one year prison sentence on “day release”, under which I continued to work at my job, but returned to the prison at night. I was released after ten months, despite my father writing to the judge urging him that I be held until I had received appropriate treatment. Then I spent three months with my grandmother on my release before moving into my own partment in May 1990. During the next fifteen months before the time of my capture, my victim count accelerated; and I killed 12 more young men. I developed rituals as I progressed, experimenting with chemical means of disposal, and I also consumed the flesh of my victims. I drilled into my victim’s skulls while they were still alive, injecting them with Muriatic acid to see whether I could extend my control to the living. Most of my victims died instantly, but one man survived for a number of days in a zombie-like state, with limited motor function.
I was always careful to select my victims on the fringes of society, so that it was less likely for the police to search for them. In the case of my thirteenth victim I had yet another close call; it was a 14-year-old Laotian boy who was, coincidentally, the younger brother of the boy I had been convicted of molesting three years earlier. To my dismay on May 26, 1991, my neighbor, Sandra Smith, called the police to report that a young Asian boy was running naked in the street. When the police arrived, he was incoherent, and the police believed me when I told them that the boy was my 19-year-old lover who had just had too much to drink.
The police escorted me and my victim home at which point I strangled the boy and continued with my usual rituals. My luck finally ran out on July 22, 1991, when two Milwaukee police officers picked up Tracy Edwards, a young African-American, who was wandering in the streets with a handcuff dangling from one of his wrists. They decided to follow up his claims that a “weird dude” had drugged and restrained him, and they coincidently arrived at my apartment, where I calmly offered to get the keys for the handcuffs.
Edwards claimed that the knife I had threatened him with was in the bedroom and when the officer went in to corroborate the story he noticed photographs of dismembered bodies lying around. He shouted to his colleague to restrain me so I fought back but I was eventually subdued. A subsequent search revealed the head in the fridge, as well as three more in the freezer, and preserved skulls, jars containing genitalia, and an extensive gallery of macabre photographs. I think in some way I wanted it to end, even if it meant my own destruction. Yes, I do have remorse, but I’m not even sure myself whether it is as profound as it should be.
I’ve always wondered myself why I don’t feel more remorse. I was completely swept away with my own compulsion. I don’t know how else to put it. It didn’t satisfy me completely so I was thinking another one will. Maybe this one will, and the numbers started growing and just got out of control, as you can see. When you’ve done the type of things I’ve done, it’s easier not to reflect on yourself. When I start thinking about how it’s affecting the families of people, and my family and everything, it doesn’t do me any good. It just gets me very upset.
Despite having confessed to the killings during police interrogation, I initially pleaded not guilty to all charges. However, against the advice of my legal counsel, I changed my plea to guilty by virtue of insanity. My defense then offered every gruesome detail of my behavior, as proof that only someone insane could commit such terrible acts, but the jury chose to believe the prosecutor’s assertion that I was fully aware that my acts were evil, but that I chose to commit them anyway, which resulted after only five hours deliberation in the finding of me being guilty, but sane, on all counts, on February 17, 1992.
I was sentenced to fifteen consecutive life terms, a total of 957 years in prison. I adjusted well to prison life, although I was initially kept apart from the general population. I convinced authorities to allow me to incorporate more with other inmate. On November 28, 1994, in accordance with my inclusion in regular work details, I was assigned to work with two other prisoners, one of whom was a white supremacist murderer, Jesse Anderson, and the other a delusional, schizophrenic African-American murderer, Christopher Scarver.
Twenty minutes after we had been left alone to complete their tasks the guards returned to find that Scarver had crushed my skull, and fatally beaten Anderson with an object. Following my death, the city of Milwaukee was keen to distance itself from the horrors of my actions, and the ensuing media circus surrounding my trial.
In 1996, fearing that someone else might purchase my fridge, photographs and killing tools collection and start a museum, they raised more than $400,000 to buy his effects, which they promptly incinerated. This is the grand finale of a life poorly spent and the end result is just overwhelmingly depressing, it’s just a sick, pathetic, wretched, miserable life story, that’s all it is. I should have gone to college and gone into real estate and got myself an aquarium, that’s what I should have done.