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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 31, 2014 / 29 Adar II, 5774

The 40th Anniversary of 'The Year of Fear'

By Diane Dimond




JewishWorldReview.com | There is no subject that brings in more reader reaction than when I write about serial killers. The answer to why we are so fascinated by these multiple murderers is mercurial, depending on whom you ask.

Dr. Scott Bonn, a professor of criminology at Drew University says, "Serial Killers seem to be for adults what monster movies are for children. It's exciting — it's arousing," to learn about their exploits.

Dr. Casey Jordan, a criminologist, behavioral analyst and attorney in private practice says we are captivated by stories about serial killers because, "We wonder to what extent they are just like us."

I would take it one step further and say we are riveted to details about serial killers because we wonder if we might ever reach a point where we could do what they do.

I read as much about the topic as I can, and during recent research about serial killers I discovered an intriguing set of facts dating back four decades. You might say this is the 40th anniversary of the "Year of Fear."

In the '70s, the U.S. experienced a frightening uptick in the number of active serial killers. In that decade, according to the serial killer information center at Radford University, there were 450 individual serial killers at work. Over the previous decade, the number stood at 156.

What caused the spike? Were there that many more vicious and deranged predators roaming the country or did law enforcement become better able to identify those who killed over and over again?

Two years earlier, the FBI allowed a visionary special agent named Howard Teten to establish what would ultimately become the Behavioral Sciences Unit. Teten devised a groundbreaking analytical approach, now known as psychological criminal profiling, to try to identify unknown killers. His agents dedicated themselves to studying high-volume kill areas around the country and meticulously logged similarities between the cases. They analyzed the lifestyle, physical attributes and location of victims, the way the killers committed the murders and exactly how they left their victims. Patterns emerged. There was a swath of the county where pretty brunette co-eds were repeatedly reported missing. Some hospitals experienced an extraordinary number of unexplained deaths. Bodies were found with similar and unique wound patterns. Victims had been left in similar provocative positions. All similarities were put together like pieces of a big ugly puzzle. Agents began to know the "how" and "where" of multiple murders but not the "who." Not yet.

Although the exact date is unknown, this is the time the FBI began to use the term "serial killer" as opposed to the less precise "murder without motive" designation they used back then.

My research also led to a startling revelation I never knew about. 1974 was the year in which some of America's most notorious and prolific murderers began their reigns of bloody terror.

Ted Bundy committed his first murder in January 1974.

Dennis Radar (BTK-Bind-Torture-Kill) first murdered in January 1974.

John Wayne Gacy killed the second of his 34 victims in January 1974.

Coral Eugene Watts murdered the first of an estimated 90 victims in 1974.

Paul John Knowles went on a killing spree, murdering 18 people in 1974.

What was it about 1974?


Retired FBI special agent Jim Clemente worked in the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (the modern day name of Agent Teten's original BSU) for the last 12 years of his 20-year career at the Bureau. He told me, "At the time, the BAU had no idea how devastating a year 1974 would turn out to be. Some of the most brilliant and prolific serial killers would launch their destructive careers at that time. But it would be decades before they were all brought to justice."

As FBI agents were building their multiple puzzles, the elusive Bundy would murder upward of 36 people over the next four years. Dennis Rader killed until 1991. Gacy wouldn't be caught until late 1978. Watts continued his bloody spree for more than eight years. The handsome Knowles was on a rapid path of destruction. His murder binge ended after five months when a police officer shot him dead.

Surely, there were news reports about some of these murders and missing people left behind in the frenzy of serial killing. But in 1974, the nation's attention was scattered. Vietnam was still ongoing. There was a frantic worldwide nuclear arms race underway. Watergate was toppling the administration of President Richard Nixon. Even though the daughter of multi-millionaire Randolph Hearst was kidnapped this year, most Americans didn't notice that the nation's crime rate was on the rise.

But the FBI knew the murderous score and, worried about creating public panic, kept the information quiet. Also in 1974, the agents were well aware of a murderous maniac operating in San Francisco who signed taunting, cryptic letters to police with the moniker "Zodiac" and someone else was systematically picking up military men home on leave in Southern California and dumping their dismembered bodies along major highways.

The takeaway from this look back at history is that since that peak of serial killing madness in the '70s and '80s — (there were 603 serial killers identified in the '80s) the numbers have decreased every single decade since. In the '90s there were 498 serial killers, in the 2000s there were 275. So far in this decade, there are just 67 active serial killers registered at the reliable Radford University site. It's a testament to the perseverance of the FBI and to all law enforcement that studied and implemented Special Agent Teten's revolutionary criminal profiling protocol.

Serial killers may still hold a place of fascination for many of us, but here's hoping their number continues to dwindle.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Investigative journalist and syndicated columnist Diane Dimond has covered all manner of celebrity and pop culture stories.

Diane Dimond Archives

© 2014, Creators Syndicate.

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