Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Guy Next Door

Everyone at school is talking about the Craigslist Killer story. While the juicy story is the headline story of most major newspapers and the general public is buzzing about it, I think that my friends and classmates have taken a particular interest in this story.

The fascinating and equally disturbing part of the Craigslist Killer saga is that the primary suspect, Philip Markoff, is just like one of us. Reading his description, I could think of dozens of people I know who fit his profile. He is only a year younger than me and is in professional school as well. He comes from a well-to-do family with doctors and lawyers like many people I know. He wears oxford shirts and khakis, pretty much the standard uniform for males at my school, and likes to play poker, the standard recreational activity. He does volunteer work, which is where he met his fiance, and they are registered at Pottery Barn, where I have shopped for my friends wedding gifts this year.

He could have been our classmate, our acquaintance, our colleague at work, our roommate. In fact, Alex just told me today that one of his employees was college roommates with Markoff for over a year. Small world.

To hear that Markoff allegedly attacked multiple women he corresponded with through Craigslist, brutally killed one of the women, and had plastic restraints, their panties, and a gun in his apartment is just bizarre. It sounds like it could be an epsidoe of Law and Order, and that is why we are so fascinated (90% of law students watch L&O and some were inspired to go to law school because of it . . . like me).

I think a lot of times people take comfort in thinking that people who perpetrate crime and violence are "other people." Foreign terrorists, people who live on the other side of town, people you would not socialize with. In fact, I have been reading a lot of about the myths about Columbine and how people do not want to accept that the two killers were not actually complete loners or members of the Trenchcoat mafia. But I feel like a current theme of the news lately is that it could be anyone. The med student, the kid who went to prom (the Columbine case), the dad in the nice suburban house who lost his job. That is what makes it equally fascinating and distrubing.

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