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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 June 30, 2005 / 23 Sivan, 5765

The serial hyena would find life in prison too much to his liking — kill him!

By Bob Tyrrell


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | My opposition to the death penalty is weakening. I have opposed the death penalty after being persuaded that it contributes to the culture of death that leaves many aspects of our wondrously free and prosperous society quite grim. Nihilism informs our arts. It is a large element in popular culture. It makes fugitive appearances in our discussions of the beginnings and the ends of life. By opposing capital punishment, I have hoped to highlight the glory of life and the vast possibilities for human beings to grow and develop in a civilized way. Now that I have heard the testimony of Dennis Rader, the hyena who from the early 1970s killed at least 10 defenseless people by ambush in their homes, I am not so sure the death penalty always contributes to the culture of death. A noose for this stupid brute might actually be a celebration of life.

Moreover, a seasoned prosecutor of sex offenses made a surprising observation to me. When I said that for Rader to spend the rest of his life in prison was a severe, if wholly justified, punishment, my prosecutor friend quipped, "He might like it." She went on to say that sex offenders and homicidal sex offenders such as Rader have very perverted tastes. Some of those tastes can be fulfilled in prisons.

Certainly, Rader's brutal murders accompanied, he admits, by masturbation are repulsive and suggest that he is barely human. His testimony before a judge in a Wichita, Kansas, courtroom confirms as much. In a matter-of-fact tone of voice and with a slightly authoritative demeanor, he responded to the judge's questions and explained serial murders as though they were a slightly specialized activity, but otherwise perfectly normal. He told of how he "trolled" neighborhoods to find his victims. "Potential hits, in my world that's what I called them," he said as he scratched his forehead in a very odd hand action, the back of his thumb doing the work, his palm facing his audience. He is a weak-looking man, but he has large paws. "If one didn't work out, I just moved on to another."

I have never known quite what to make of the wise philosopher Hannah Arendt's term "banality of evil," which she applied to brutes such as the Nazi, Adolf Eichmann. It is a term that journalists are now applying to Rader's banal explication of his grisly acts. Arendt wrote insightfully on a wide range of topics, but on brutes who torture and kill, she was particularly compelling. She wrote, "The concentration camps, by making death itself anonymous, robbed death of its meaning as the end of a fulfilled life." In a way, Rader turned his victims' homes into little concentration camps. He robbed their lives of meaning. Perhaps by putting a noose around his head, meaning might be returned to his victims' lives.

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His testimony in pleading guilty to these murders was televised all over the country. I am not sure that televised testimony was a good idea. My prosecutor friend shares my premonitions. Television tends to glorify almost anything it broadcasts. I can imagine evil minds, sitting before their television sets envisaging Rader as a celebrity serial killer, a man who made history. There is such a thing, my prosecutor reminds me, as the "copycat criminal." Rader not only explicated the tactics of his pastime for the uninitiated, but he also got plenty of airtime to make his unspeakable offenses speakable.

On the other hand, Rader's appearance on television does unhorse one of the great myths held by many members of the intelligentsia, namely, that there is something fascinating about a murderer. For generations, certain easily bored writers have been finding "interesting" facets to crime and to criminals. The murderer was for them perhaps the most fascinating of criminals. I have always thought these writers were naive and frivolous for the most part, occasionally even evil themselves. Rader's appearance in that Wichita court ought to put an end to any fascination a writer might have with such a lout.

There was nothing fascinating about him. He was too obtuse to be fascinating and too dull. Finally, the horror of his deeds overwhelmed any inchoate fascination. Whether he is locked away for the rest of his years or hung by the neck, his name will soon be forgotten. If copycat criminals get an idea in their heads from watching Rader on television, it will not be because he had style or presence. It will only be because he was given a chance to speak the unspeakable.

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.

JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

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