Sweet sixteen not my theme: Reflections on a 1920s serial killer.
Disillusionment started around this time in my life. 16!
What inspired me were the mysteries of life. The dark places of life. I kept it to myself. I was young and wordless, quiet and impressionable. Times were dull and I was asleep to the world around me. I did not study or read much. I innocently walked home on my own from school. I had my close friends and life was easy. I had a boyfriend who watched over me. I thought he loved me. Well, he enjoyed my body.
Last night I watched a documentary on Carl Panzram. He is a serial killer. He wrote his memoir in prison and when I compare my life growing up to his, I become sick. He went to reform school and prison at a very young age. He was a cowboy-hobo. He did not live a glorious life. His was not an easy life. Mine was.
I am sure I went through the normal psychological changes of a youth becoming an adult. I was reasonably safe and made the transition through a few years, or a generation of the 50s through the 80s.
Carl Panzram was not so fortunate. He grew up in a different generation during the Great Depression. Yet his youthful rebellion as a boy pushed him into being brutalized by a system that creates killers.
I am not justifying the unspeakable acts he did as an adult; I am comparing my life to his. Maybe to my own two boys who I protect like a mama bear hawk. Some sort of paranoid mythological female mother figure. They are very fortunate indeed!!
Serial killers, gangsters and the cruelty they inflict on society is terrible. I am not afraid to look at them. I wish I could change how this shadowy part of our human nature manifests in our society. Sometimes at night I find it hard to breathe when I think of how many people are locked up, especially our youth.
One cannot fight the shadow with more shadow because it only makes a bigger shadow.
If I could go back to being sixteen I would inspire myself to wake up! I would study and apply myself to life. I would learn, learn, learn !
I would take back my body and go to college at a young age. I would study criminology, psychology and get my degrees. I have my regrets and so did Carl Panzram!!
Our penal system is wrong. I would try to change it from the inside out starting with our youth!!
I know that Carl Panzram made the same analogy in his memoir. Carl had the remarkable ability to reflect. A friendly prison guard inspired him to write his memoir. This guard was a rare bird because he treated criminals as human beings. Carl’s revealing memoir is one to ponder; a remarkable confession from a very angry soul.
“I don’t believe in man, God nor Devil. I hate the whole damned human race, including myself. I preyed upon the weak, the harmless and the unsuspecting. This lesson I was taught by others : Might makes right.”
― Carl Panzram
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