Although, Americans love to hate serial killers, mass murderers, spree killers and the like, just hating them isn't going to make the problem disappear or go away. Certainly, no other nation generates these heinous and deeply troubled misfits as voluminously as the United States. Is there something to be said for the age old nature vs. nature argument? Moreover, what is it that compels us to generate these aforementioned "misfits" in such record numbers? Perhaps there is no better example to support my position that the story of Aileen Wuornos. It has been well documented.
Wuornos was executed by the state of Florida on October 9, 2002, after admitting to killing seven men. Although, claiming she had been raped in each instance, by her own admission she, "seriously hated all human life and would kill again," if given the opportunity. The so called Damsel of Death had begun insisting that Florida carry out its death sentence a year earlier.
Would the state of Florida have chosen to execute Aileen Wuornos, had her life unfolded in a different manner? My position is that they wouldn't have. These are the facts. You decide for yourself.
Wuornos was born on Leap Day, 1956. Her father was a convicted child molester, whom left Aileen's mother prior to Aileen's birth. Four years later and along with her brother, Aileen was abandoned by her mother and left in the care of her maternal grandparents. The couple legally adopted the children. Aileen argued vehemently that for years her grandfather physically and sexually abused her. What is certain is that he was a mean spirited alcoholic. While growing up in her grandparents' home, Wuornos claimed to have been active with multiple sexual partners, including her brother. There is at least some truth to her allegation, for she gave birth to a child at age fourteen. The child was given up for adoption. Wuornos said her grandfather kicked her out of the home a very short time later, after her grandmother died of liver failure. Some have suggested she ran away. Regardless, Wuornos was on her own, before her fifteenth birthday.
Throughout the 1970's Wuornos was arrested on a variety of charges, including prostitution, shoplifting and drunk driving. After much hitchhiking and many failed relationships, Wuornos landed in Florida. She was arrested in Edgewater, and subsequently convicted of armed robbery. Wuornos served time in a state prison, before being paroled in the mid-1980's. Frustrated with men, Wuornos struck up a same sex relationship with Tyria Moore. Moore's ability to earn an income was extremely marginal at best, and the two women lived on Wuornos's earnings as a prostitute.
In 1989, Wuornos began killing and robbing men, whom had picked her up along the interstates of central Florida. She was arrested in January of 1991, in connection with the killings. Moore fled to Pennsylvania. Police investigating the killings coerced Wuornos's lover into allowing them to record phone calls between the two women. Moore was able to talk Wuornos into taking responsibility for the killings.
Born again Christian Arlene Pralle legally adopted Wuornos, during the time the latter was awaiting trial. Nick Broomfield, in his documentary, The Selling of a Serial Killer, suggests that Pralle was driven as much by financial gain as she was sincerity. What is fact is that Pralle was not involved in Wuornos's life, during the last years that lead to her execution.
Wuornos's life was one of continual betrayal. Regardless of the relationships she might have had with the significant others in her life, they systematically chose to victimize her, for whatever reason. Hence, she would pass from this earth as one whom, "seriously hated all human life and would kill again," if given the opportunity.
Anyone guilty of multiple murder should be punished. This essay isn't intended to make excuses for, nor dismiss the actions of convicted murders. However, our society possesses vast domestic resources. Wouldn't the needs of countless Americans be better served, if we focused on holding parents and caretakers accountable for the minors they choose to bear, or bring into their homes?
Aileen's father absolved himself of any involvement in her life, prior to her birth. Aileen's mother chose likewise, when Aileen was only four years of age. The convicted killer's grandfather clearly was disdainful of the child he willingly chose to adopt. At the very least, he was verbally abusive. Given the groundwork that had been laid, is it really any surprise that Wournos made one regrettable relationship decision after another, as a mid to late teen and early adult? After all, apples don't fall too far from trees, do they?
Why don't our nation's children have some type of well established national advocacy group? Domestic pets have the SPCA. Doesn't this seem inexcusable? Given different circumstances, couldn't Aileen Wournos have made some small, yet meaningful contribution to society?
Like her or not, Hillary Clinton is right. It does take a village to raise a child. Are we truly, "one nation under God?" If so, what divine entity wouldn't place tremendous value on the lives of all children?
How many more American children have to grow up so full of animosity and resentment that they ultimately grow to, as Aileen Wournos did, seriously hate all human life to the point of wanting to kill again, if given the opportunity?