It was a big conversation in the lunchroom the other day, the book “50 Shades of Gray”, and somehow, I began to think about Ted Bundy…
When I was in law school, I did a research report on pornography, which led me to Ted Bundy. This was in 1981, long before ’50 Shades’ of anything. Now I knew at the time that pornography was bad, simply because – like the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court had earlier remarked – “we know it when we see it”. I was also opposed to pornography because, as a fanatic Feminist – I knew how much it devalued women in general. In fact, back then EVERYONE knew that. However, I had had no idea exactly how evil it was, or how corrosive it could be to a person and to a culture.
There is now a new generation of young adults in our land, and apparently none have heard the story of Ted Bundy. Perhaps it would be a good idea, and an opportune time, to share it.
Ted Bundy had grown up like any other boy in America, except that when he was still pretty young, he began getting ahold of pornography. Looking at the pictures, and reading the stories, excited him to the point where he began seeking women to satisfy himself. Since the supply of ‘easy women’ was much less back then, than it is now, he began being more aggressive in that pursuit. When he was with women, he also began physically harming them. This, of course, was long before “50 Shades of Gray” when people did not think that ‘hurting someone to satisfy yourself’ was simply another lifestyle choice. They called it something else. They called it evil.
Needless to say, Ted Bundy’s ‘urges’ got more and more out of control. The things he began doing to women were not things that women would simply ‘get over’. They were things that they would go to the police and get him arrested for. Did he stop? No, he just began killing them.
Ted Bundy was a brilliant, and handsome, young man – much like the character in “50 Shades of Gray”. He was in law school, and so argued his way out of pretty much everything he was accused of. He left Washington State, and relocated in Florida – but he did not leave his evil tendencies behind. They got even more out of control until the fateful night when he crept into a Sorority House at Florida State University, and abused and slaughtered the women while they slept in their beds. One of his last victims, before he was finally tracked down and arrested, was a very young girl. He raped her with a knife.
I remember giving my argument in law school as I presented this paper opposed to pornography. I mentioned Bundy’s last victim and one of the young men in my class pointed out that I had made a mistake. “What you mean,” he said, “was that he raped her ‘at knife-point’.”
“No,” I corrected him, “he raped her using a knife instead of his penis. She bled to death of the wounds.”
So much for the joys of bondage and S&M – admirers of “50 Shades of Gray” notwithstanding the fact.
Ted Bundy was eventually found guilty of multiple murders and placed on death row. A brilliant attorney – he argued his own case. He had many admirers who protested his innocence. Surely such a charming and handsome young man could not be the brutal savage the Prosecutors painted!
He continued to maintain his innocence to the end – almost.
For it was shortly before his execution, when he surprisingly asked to have an interview with Dr. James Dobson of the radio show “Focus on the Family”. Dr. Dobson, a well respected and well known Christian, was a very odd choice; but being a Christian, he agreed to meet with Bundy.
I think that even he was unprepared for what Bundy told him.
Bundy, finally, admitted to what he had done. Now that the end was near, he had had time to reflect on the monster he had become, and so he wanted to give a warning out to the world. The warning was this – it all began with pornography.
Bundy told of his years of seeking out pornography. He said that as his perversions grew, he would begin acting them out on women and leaving them hurting. Inevitably, he said, he would feel remorse afterward. And then…..
Then, he said, he would go get some more pornography, and in the stuff he was reading, people were doing even worst things. That’s what helped him get over the guilt. He figured that if people were writing about it – then obviously others must not feel it is so bad, and so he would get over that guilt hurdle, and go on to a bigger perversion…
The reason he was telling all this to Dr. Dobson, he relayed, was because when he was growing up – getting ahold of those kinds of materials was NOT easy. He would have to go into the foulest pits in the worst sections of town to find it. BUT, he now pointed out to Dobson – that stuff is available in regular stores! How easy it is for someone to just go, and get a hold of such poison...
He finished with a word of warning to Dobson. He told him that America – was now breeding people just like him – and nobody had any idea what evil we were doing.
Ted Bundy was executed in 1989.
This was long before the actors on the television show ‘Friends’ convinced a nation that sex without responsibility, or commitment, was ‘a good thing’. Our nation loves those actors today, their reruns continue to play to great laughter and joy - but I pray for them, because when they stand before God, they will have the lost and damaged souls of millions, perhaps billions, of once innocent young people to atone for… That’s a pretty heavy burden to drag to eternity, don’t you think?
Even so, the damage is done, and we are now a nation that has fallen so far from purity that a book about – pretty much the lifestyle of Ted Bundy – is ‘entertaining reading’ for practically everyone. No one seems to think it is evil, no one seems to think it is wrong, no one seems to be concerned about the sick images they are putting FOREVER into their brains.
Just another day in America, just another topic over lunch.
But there ARE those of us who remember a different America. In that America, if you ever did read such a book – the last thing in the world you would want is for someone to know about it!
Good people did not read pornography. Good people did not think pornography. Good people had high, and thick, walls to protect them, their families, and their culture from the evil of pornography. Good people knew it was bad – they ‘knew it when they saw it’, and they knew it did not lead to happiness – it led to death.
I once represented a woman who was divorcing her husband over pornography. He had been a regular ‘soccer dad’, coach to their 3 young children and upstanding man in town. And then they got a computer in the house, and he got ‘hooked’ on pornography. Worst still, he got hooked on the kind of pornography glorified in “50 Shades of Gray”. I find it kind of ironic that somehow everyone always looks good in these books and portrayals – but then again, they can – since it’s fiction and not reality.
Let me tell you what reality looks like. This father had moved out of the family home after meeting another S&M devotee ‘on line’. I had seen pictures of him before, when he had been in the family photo – a loving dad and husband.
I did not recognize the creature that walked into the courthouse conference room as the same man.
Do you know the images that are always trotted out at Halloween – the specters of evil; thin, hunched over and oozing blackness? THAT was what walked into the courthouse conference room. This once smiling, radiant man was thin as a rail. He had body piercings all over, evil tattoos covering his skin, sunken eyes and cheeks, a coldness to his demeanor. He walked in pain, and even when speaking, seemed far away in another world.
He had come to personify evil – since, of course, his lifestyle was evil.
THAT is the reality of "50 Shades of Gray".
I just thought it was about time that someone let the rest of the world know.
Ashley and Susan
Two women asking the world to not just hope, but to hope in Love.