Dahmer: The horrific legacy of Jeffrey Dahmer’s obsessions
There are names that are so infamous that their mere mention strikes anxiety and dread into hearts: “Dahmer” is among them. It does not need a first name attached to it; in fact, the isolated nature of the sir name is more than appropriate. “Dahmer” remains symbolic for the detachment with which serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer lived his own life. It is symbolic for the alienated persona that got sexual gratification from committing acts of necrophilia, cannibalism, torture, and mass murder that defined him. In a century replete with cannibal killers and serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer’s acts and obsessions stand king.
What is more peculiar is that, by all accounts, during childhood development, Jeffrey Dahmer did not exhibit many illuminating warning signs for what was to come in adulthood. Psychologists generally return to childhood for indications of future personality disorders – zoosadism, antisocial behavior, or violent outbursts, for example. Jeffrey Dahmer displayed tendencies of dissecting dead animal carcasses, but he was well into his teens. Unlike other serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer was not abused or deprived as a youth.
His parents were encouraging of his public endeavors. Though he fell into alcoholism in his late teens, as unfortunate as it is, it certainly is erroneous to suggest a direct correlation between teenage alcoholics and the monster that Dahmer became. Much like other cannibal killers and serial killers, the source of their behavior is not malice, but their own sexual gratification.
Conflicted about his homosexuality, Dahmer’s first killing is reported to coincide with his first homosexual encounter with a hitchhiker, 19-year old Steven Hicks. He offered him a glass of beer at a bar on their way. Then he would drive Steven Hicks to his girlfriend’s place. Following the murder, he simply disposed of the body. The remains of Steven Hicks could never be found. But, Jeffrey Dahmer had evidently developed a taste that was, to him, a process that was irreversible. Only in 1987, nine years following his first slaying, saw his next victim- another lover named Steven Tuomi. This time, he dismembered the body and engaged in necrophilia with it.
During this period, he rented an apartment located on North 24th St. in Milwaukee that would become infamous as Apartment 213. This was the setting where he would lure his partners to from gay bars or favorable meeting places. Apartment 213 became band names and song names as Jeffrey Dahmer became known as a famous serial killer. Then, he would brutally torture and kill them. It was in their death that his fetishes and perversions came to life, as he would later confess: masturbation, necrophilia, dismemberment, and refrigerating organs that would be eaten later. To indulge this sickness required new bodies and new methods to achieve arousal.
A most famous story involved the near escape of a 14-year old Laotian, Konerak Sinthasomphone. Sinthasomphone was running down a nearby street in the nude; bleeding from the anus, disheveled, and incoherent. Two women noticed him and reported the scene to the police. When Jeffrey Dahmer arrived shortly thereafter and claimed Konerak Sinthasomphone to be his 19-year old lover, police handed the boy back to Dahmer, much to the dismay of the two women. The boy was later dismembered and his skull kept as an ornament, as Dahmer routinely did.
[ad#downcont]Dahmer, the cannibal killer, murdered 17 men. When the crime scene was discovered after a would-be victim, Tracy Edwards, escaped, the details were grotesque. Isolated genitalia, ornament skulls, refrigerated organs, and tools of torture were discovered. Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to 957 years in prison following his trial. He only served three before suffering an ironic twist of fate by being murdered by another inmate, Christopher Scarver. Ironically, Dahmer’s attempts to convert to Christianity and his apologies about his crimes offered a hollow and more disheartening end to his horrific life. Had he been unapologetic, at the least, it may have provided the image of a man in control of his monster. But, he attempted to show a conscience – whether it was genuine or not remains debatable. What this reflects is that some men cannot control their menace. That reveals why the capacity for evil exists in humanity’s genes.