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.
TODAY is All Soul's Day -the day we honor our beloved Dead by praying for them. I figured it was as good a time as any to repeat this story that happened to me...
At the time this story happened, Ashley was about 10 years old, Bobby was about 6, Katie was about 4 and Maryjacqueline was about 1. We had neighbors who lived across the street by the name of Laura and Joe Carlson. They had a daughter Hannah, who played with Ashley, and so we knew them fairly well. Laura’s parents were both retired and lived in the same town. Their grandchildren called them ‘Oma’ and ‘Opa’. Laura’s mother was born in Poland, and married Laura’s dad when he was a young soldier in WW2.
Oma was the oldest of about 13 children and probably around 16 years old when Hitler’s bombs fell on her city. In the resulting panic and confusion, the entire family was split up. Oma spent the rest of the war going from refugee camp to refugee camp looking for her siblings. By the end of the war she had found every one – including her mother and the baby – and she managed to keep the family together. She met Opa after the war, married and came to the US. Laura was their only child.
A few years before I met Laura, Oma had come down with breast cancer. She was close to death when her siblings in Poland pleaded with her to come back and visit them. Laura and she went to the doctor for permission for Oma to travel. The doctor refused to give his consent; but nonetheless, Oma was determined to go. The doctor told Laura that she better be prepared for her mother to return home in a wooden box.
Oma landed in Europe, and her siblings immediately bundled her up and took her to the miraculous waters of Lourdes, France. Oma continued to spend the next few months there – visiting with all of her many family members. At the end of her visits, she flew back home. Once home, she and Laura made the trek back to the doctor. He was obviously surprised to see her; and sent her for testing. Laura told me later that she would never forget his face when he came in with the test results. He was white as a ghost she said, as he laid the results out in front of them. For there was absolutely no sign of cancer anywhere in Oma’s body.
It had plain and simply disappeared. A miracle.
Well, a few years went by and now we were part of their lives. Oma and Opa loved being grandparents, and doted on their two grandchildren. Unfortunately, they had very little in the way of material things to give them, as they existed pretty much on social security. But love more than made up for material lack.
Laura’s husband Joe had an interesting business. He and his father owned a large car dealership and also engaged in offshore shipping. Bob and I were just a young Navy family – and had no idea what ‘offshore shipping’ was – but hey, nothing says you need to know everything! We would see expensive foreign cars and huge yachts on trailers appear overnight, and within a couple days, be gone again – just another day in the neighborhood. Laura had never worked outside the home, and had never gone to college. She was just a regular wife and mother who cared for her family.
Until the day of the accident.
On that day, Laura was driving her husband’s dealership car when another driver, who hit her, totaled it. Laura actually had to be cut out of the car to be rescued. Miraculously, she was not badly injured. The rescue squad took her to the hospital, and laid her on a gurney outside the emergency examining room.
It was there that she was arrested.
In the course of about 5 minutes, she discovered that her entire married life was a lie. For you see, the very fancy dealership car – from her husband’s business – that she had been driving, turned out to be stolen. Her husband’s ‘offshore shipping’ business was offshore all right. It was ‘offshore’ where stolen vehicles were taken outside to international waterways, stripped and disguised – and sent back in as ‘foreign imports’ for sale in her husband’s dealership.
Pretty much the bottom fell out of everything after that. Laura’s husband and father went on the lam, and she filed for divorce. It was then that she discovered that absolutely everything she owned – house, cars, possessions – were in her husband and her father-in-law’s names. Joe filed the legal paperwork necessary – and had his wife and children thrown into the street.
I remember the day we helped her and the kids get their own personal items – clothing, etc. – out of the house before the sheriff came to lock the door. We were all racing in and out of the house trying to extricate as much stuff as humanly possible. I had Maryjacqueline in a backpack, and was grabbing everything I could. Oma and Opa were there too – with ashen faces. They were trying to help their daughter and grandchildren retain as much of their things as they were able. What they must have thought of their son-in-law, I can only imagine. They never said a word.
Suddenly, as I passed Oma with another armful of stuff, I saw her put her load down and sink into a chair.
“I don’t feel well,” she said.
Something about the way she said it gave me a dreadful feeling. Sure enough, once she went back to the doctor, we heard the grim prognosis. The cancer was back, and it was everywhere.
So began the slow and sad deterioration of Oma.
Throughout the months that followed, everyone was grief-stricken. Everyone, that is, but Oma.
Yes, she was heart broken that she would not see her grandchildren grow up; but she continued to tell everyone over and over:
“God is taking me home for a reason. I have no money to help Laura and the children; there is nothing that we can do for them. I know that God will use me to help them – and that is why He is bringing me home. It’s the only thing that makes sense.”
Everyone was really too grief stricken to respond. As the months went by, Opa and Oma helped Laura find a nice rental for her family. They helped her look for, and get a good secretarial job. They walked with her through the divorce process, helping her in every way they could. They just couldn’t – as much as they wanted to – give her any financial support. They lived in a tiny mobile home themselves – they didn’t even have space for their daughter and grandchildren to live with them.
As Oma sickened, her work on a quilt for Hannah intensified. She was determined to give it to her as a lasting remembrance. She sewed many meaningful things into that quilt – things that she hoped would help Hannah remember her. She finally finished the quilt and lovingly gave it to Hannah. The next day, she took to bed – and within just a few days – was gone.
Laura afterwards told me of an amazing occurrence. As her mother slipped into a coma, she reverted back to speaking Polish. Neither Laura, nor her father, had any idea what she was saying. For a day or two, she kept gesturing and urgently speaking in Polish. They had no idea what she wanted. Suddenly, Oma’s sister arrived to see her. She walked into the room; and froze. Oma was doing her gesturing and urgent speaking.
“Heinz!” her sister whispered in awe, “she’s speaking to Heinz!”
It turned out that their brother Heinz had died years ago, and Oma was talking to him. She kept asking him to come closer, so that she could hold his hand.
Laura said it pretty much freaked everybody out.
Oma passed away shortly before we moved out of Florida. It was a year or so later that I got a phone call from Laura in our new home. Now it was her turn to speak urgently. Susan!” she exclaimed the minute I said hello, “do you remember what my mother said? What she said about ‘helping me out’ when she gets to heaven?”
I cautiously said yes; and then the story unfolded.
Apparently, Joe, her ex-husband, had finally gone off to jail a few months prior. It had been in the news all over the state. On the other side of Florida was a married couple that had gone to school with Joe when they were younger. They had no children; both worked, and were loaded with money. The husband showed the wife the story, and they both expressed surprise at what had become of their childhood classmate. Suddenly one of them noted that Joe had left a wife, and 2 young children, totally unsupported when he went to prison. They agreed that that was ‘so sad’; put the paper down and continued with their breakfast.
When they later called Laura, they explained that – since that moment – neither of them had gotten “a single minute’s peace.” They were both consumed with the thought that they just had to help Laura and the children financially. After all, they had the money, and what else were they doing with it? They were awakened with the idea at night, bombarded with the idea in the morning, interrupted with the idea at work. They simply, and plainly, could get no rest until they did something.
So they set up a bank deposit for Laura and the kids; and called her to let her know how much they had designated to go into it each month from then on out.
Laura was, obviously, speechless. But at least she was not also clueless. She had inside knowledge of exactly what was going on. And ‘what was going on’ was this:
“Sue, my mother is harassing the heck out of this poor couple – because that’s apparently what she went to heaven for.”
Who knew? Besides Oma, that is...
I think that we will eventually all know – that our work here is not finished – just because God brings us home to heaven. The ties are stronger than we know; the invisible cords are actually quite taut – and the joy – unspeakable...
This is the response I wrote to the college professor who wondered why people didn't take responsibility for Hannah Graham - who was tragically murdered after attending a college party, drinking too much, and losing her way home:
My 3 daughters attended Franciscan University of Steubenville Ohio. It is a Catholic college where students actually believe, and live out, their faith. The male students routinely tell their female classmates to NOT let themselves be treated like anything other than the beloved Daughters of God that they are. They open doors, they pull out chairs - they are RESPECTFUL. The 1st party my daughter went to caused her to call home the next day. She couldn’t believe it but the party was held off campus at someone’s house. Although there was available alcohol there, no one under age was drinking it because… well… it was against the law. At midnight, everyone called for silence at the party so that they could all…. Say a Hail Mary and thank God for another day.
When I tell people these, and other, stories they invariably laugh. They read in some sort of ‘female oppression’, or ‘brainwashed religion’. They say it could never happen, and that marks the end of their thought on the matter.
And THAT is how we have failed Hannah Graham.
We have ALLOWED OURSELVES TO BECOME a society that ridicules goodness – and yet are shocked to find that our children embrace evil at a rapid rate. We have ALLOWED OURSELVES TO BECOME a society that scorns modesty & virtue – and yet are shocked to find our young women treated, and then discarded, as nothing more than sexual objects. We have ALLOWED OURSELVES TO BECOME a society that marginalizes faith – and yet are shocked to discover that our young people are bereft without any of the strong moorings that used to get them safely through hard times.
I heard often throughout many of these replies that ‘well, we really CAN’T expect them NOT to go out and get drunk, etc.’ So my question is: “Why not?” Couldn’t I equally say we can’t expect young men NOT to prey on young girls? We can’t expect young people NOT to steal cars, lie, cheat and hurt each other? Why not? Having raised 4 children, I will tell you a secret – children grow up doing the things we give them excuses to do. It’s actually OUR JOB to tell them they absolutely, positively cannot do those things. That’s called parenting – you know, the hard kind – the kind where you care more about your children’s long term lives; then your own short term ‘peace and quiet’ and/or ‘likeability’. This is even more difficult, because then WE have to start living with those traits and virtues ourselves.
And so I have a way for us to begin saving all these young girls (and boys) who are in danger in our culture today. Begin to speak up - not only to your own children, but to other’s as well. That’s what people have done since the dawn of time – reclaim it, it worked. Expect virtue (from them AND yourself). Take them to church this weekend, and the next, and the next. Find other people of virtue, and begin making efforts to get together with them. Turn off the television – and TALK TO EACH OTHER at nighttime. In fact, get RID of the television – it is brainwashing them, and it is brainwashing you. It is making you actually think things like ‘we can’t expect goodness & virtue’. Really? Listen to yourself; be amazed you have sold out so easily! Set firm rules and even firmer consequences.
And stop – as of RIGHT NOW – making excuses as to why you ‘just can’t do it’. The time for excuses is over. The time for discipline and hard choices is now. It begins within – put down what you are doing, and make plans to begin with yourself. Then stick to them.
Several years ago, Franciscan University was indistinguishable from all other universities. The students, like students on all other campuses were ‘expected’ to be rebellious and – shock – they were! And then their new President, Father Michael Scanlon, decided that the adults could expect a lot more. They called their students back to their Faith, and pointed out that it entailed a higher way of living. They began that way right then. As they modeled, and expected, Love and Goodness, the students slowly did also.
And so it IS possible. Not easy – but possible.
And by doing so, you just might begin to turn this society back around, one child and one family at a time; and THAT, more than anything else, will save the next life.
Original Post by the Professor.
Ashley and Susan
Two women asking the world to not just hope, but to hope in Love.