During the course of my vast criminology research,1 I'm often shocked not only at the gruesomeness of the crimes committed (and what these crimes says about the human condition), but also at how often a brutal killer's friends, neighbors, and even family members lived seemingly in complete ignorance of the killer's true nature.
Hence, the need for this blog post.2
How to Tell if Your Neighbor is a Serial Killer:
1. He is male. You can't argue with statistics. Nearly every single serial killer, ever, has been male.3 Fortunately, this first point is generally an easy one to verify from a distance. Although it's getting harder and harder these days to tell, especially in some neighborhoods.4
2. He is seen carrying large/sketchy/deadly/mysterious objects to and from his vehicle at odd hours. Although, by this definition, my sister/roommate would be highly suspicious: not only is she often seen lugging bulky items such as saddles, horse blankets, and masses of saddle pads and soiled towels to and from her truck, but her truck is also full of an array of rather shockingly dangerous items including (but not limited to) chainsaws, machetes, both ball-peen and claw hammers, heavy blocks of pig iron, plastic sheeting, animal medications, and (once) a video camera.5 Furthermore, since her schedule is often ridiculously full, she's regularly seen ferrying these items to and from her truck under cover of darkness: both in the wee hours of the morning as well as late, late at night. So maybe this point is debatable, because for all of her faults, being a serial killer isn't one of them. (I don't think....) It's okay, though, because I have a few more points up my sleeve.6
3. He always manages to appear on his stoop for a cigarette break every single time you leave for work, arrive home from work, head for the gym, check your mail, come home from shopping, leave to drop off library books, or take off on a long walk. This means either that he has memorized your schedule or that he just sits behind his blinds with an eye on the sidewalk in front of the building, just waiting for you to appear. We know this type from personal experience, because we currently have a neighbor with this exact M.O.7 It doesn't matter at what time of the day we come or go: both of us have noticed that the minute we walk up the sidewalk, the Staring Neighbor appears on his stoop with a cigarette. However.... come to think of it.... Although this sketchy behavior easily skyrockets him to the top of our colorful list of Creepiest Neighbors of All Time, we have no concrete proof (as of yet) that he is, in fact, a serial killer.8
Okay. Although I will admit that Steps #1-3 haven't been extremely helpful, I promise that my last point will offer some fool-proof serial-killer-spotting advice.
The best way to determine once and for all that your neighbor is a serial killer is if you notice that....
4. On a fairly regular basis, he kills people. Although this point isn't generally as easy to verify as Point #1, it is the best indicator that your neighbor probably is, in fact, a serial killer. If you happen to come to the troubling realization that your neighbor is a serial killer (formerly known as a "mass murderer"), it is very important that you DO NOT PANIC.9 Remember that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There is help available.
In fact, I happen to have a list of some very specific protocols which you should follow.
COMING SOON: "How to Respond to the Realization that Your Neighbor May, in Fact, Be a Serial Killer (Formerly Known as a 'Mass Murderer')"10
Until next time, People of Earth, keep your eyes open... and be safe out there.
1. Primarily consisting of marathon readings of Ann Rule's true crime novels and occasionally watching Law and Order reruns.
2. I'm all about meeting only the deepest and most obvious social needs.
3. At least.... the ones who have been caught. MUAHAHAHAH----*Ahem.* Excuse me.
4. Yes, I mean you, downtown San Diego. And also you, Greater Seattle Area.
5. I am not making this up. For more on this, see "How to Live with an Equestrian."
6. And by "up my sleeve," I mean "in my brain." Because my brain apparently... wears shirts? (Mostly vintage tees, but sometimes, when feeling especially snarky, a crisp new polo shirt with an ironically-popped collar.)
7. We, in our vast creativity, have nicknamed him The Staring Neighbor.
8. Although he does kill off a sense of trust in our fellow man.
9. That will only provoke him.