Tag Archives: Murderer

SERIAL KILLER, PAUL BERNARDO, SELF-PUBLISHES ON AMAZON

B10Paul Bernardo is Canada’s most notorious serial killer. In 1995, Bernardo was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of manslaughter. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a Dangerous Offender designation, giving him zero chance of parole. Bernardo also confessed to committing violent rapes—perhaps over thirty. Today, he’s in solitary confinement at Millhaven Institution, a maximum-security penitentiary near Toronto, Ontario. And this week, Paul Bernardo hit #1 on the Amazon BestSeller list by self-publishing an eBook spy-thriller titled A MAD World Order.

So HTF did this happen?

Before threatening to set Amazon on fire with what’s left of my hair, I decided to check out what Bernardo wrote. Here’s Amazon’s product description:

B11The top echelons of the Russian government lament for the glory days of their superpower status. Resorting to desperate and nefarious means, a secret cabal has strategized a plan to return Russia to a world power. By a fate not of his choosing, one man finds himself caught, and involved in the Russian plot.  Mason Steele with his best friend Kyle Boorem founded Social Mall. It is a 3-D social media website. It is targeted by the by the Russians for a hostile takeover to get the off-the-books financing for their operation, and the FSB uses the local Russian Mafia as its covert operatives.  NSA has picked up al-Qaeda chatter of an impending catastrophic strike against the United States. Given the size and sophistication, it is concluded small dirty-bombs are involved.  Mason prepares a plan to rescue his co-founder, revenge the attacks against them, and stop the theft of his company. Unrestrained by rules or laws, he takes the battle to the Russian Mafia in San Francisco and across the globe.

Yeah, whatever I thought. Different flavor on an old ice cream bucket. But I wonder if the guy can actually write? 

B17Now, I’m sure as hell not going to buy this monster’s work, but I did have a free “Look Inside” on the Amazon site. After skimming the first twenty pages, my impression was Hmmm. Crappy cover. Story kinda sucks. Not much of a hook. Slow… not sure how this is gonna keep anyone in it for the advertised 631 pages. But the editing’s pretty goodespecially for a self-pub. It’s fairly clean for punctuation. Grammar’s okay. Don’t see any obvious spelling mistakes. And the formatting is professional. Can’t see how anyone sitting alone in a jail cell did this, so there’s no doubt Bernardo had some experienced help putting this thing on the market. 

Now setting aside the legal, moral, and ethical issues of a human piece-of-shit like Paul Bernardo being allowed to publish from a jail cell, let me remind you what this animal did before becoming a BestSelling novelist.

B7Bernardo was the Scarborough Rapist who viciously attacked women in the Greater Toronto area in the early 1990’s. A pretty-boy who later score 35 out of 40 on the psychopathy checklist, he tangled up and married an equally evil Karla Homolka. The pair compounded each other’s sick fantasies which led to them drugging, raping, and killing Homolka’s younger sister.

14 year-old Leslie Mahaffy was their next victim. They abducted Leslie and took her to their house where they videotaped themselves raping and murdering her. Then they cut Leslie’s body apart with a circular saw before encasing her pieces in concrete and dumping them in a lake.

Kristen French, 15, was third. Bernardo and Homolka filmed Kristen’s terror over a three day period, then dumped Kristen’s naked body in a ditch.

Bernardo was caught through DNA. Before the video tapes were discovered, the prosecution cut Homolka a deal, letting her cop to a 12-year manslaughter sentence in exchange for testifying against her now-divorced husband. And that’s the sum of the Paul Bernardo story.

How—in a sane world—is cesspool scum like Bernardo allowed to still breathe, let alone be allowed to profit from his mind? His eBook lists at $5.97 USD so he pockets $4.18 per copy. How many copies is he selling? Well, as I write this, A MAD World Order is #1 on Amazon.ca in the Spy Thriller category and #45 on Amazon.com in the War Fiction category. To me, that says a lot of sold books and a lot of coin.

Bernardo screenshot

And it’s getting a ton of reviews—over 600 on Amazon’s Canadian site, so far. The vast majority are 1-Star hates, but some people are sticking up for the right of free speech and uncensorship.

Here’s a sample of what they’re saying: 

By Paula McLeod — Hello to the powers that be at Amazon… seriously what were you thinking??? I realize that as an American company that you have very little interest in what goes on north of the border. I also understand the extra work involved in checking up on a vendor prior to allowing them to flog their wares on your site is time consuming but come on…really??? In case you were not aware; there is the little thing called “Google”. How about it??? Do not allow this waste of a life to profit in any way after all of the horrific things that he has done. I do not make idle threats…I will not spend my hard earned money on products that are sold by a company that support a sadistic piece of trash, serial killer, serial rapist, dangerous offender. You must remove this immediately or I will cancel my account and never purchasing anything from your site again.
By Robert Truszkowski — It’s not so simple. Amazon publishes OJ Simpson’s “If I did it”, Charles Manson’s autobiography, Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”, and many other deplorable works, and/or works by deplorable people. We live in a society that is so conflicted. We want to be safe from hateful garbage, and we seem willing to fight in far off lands for freedom and democracy, but it’s a catch-22. Don’t want to read crumby fiction by a twisted freak? Don’t! But it’s a slippery slope once you start banning books.
By Sandy M. — WTH Amazon would even allow this b@stard to sell anything on their site, shows me that Amazon is very sick. Anyone that would support what that good for nothing a-hole has blood on their hands from the 3 girls he murdered after raping them repeatedly, as well as all the other women he raped but were fortunate to get away before he killed them too. Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka should not be breathing. DON’T BUY INTO THIS SICK B@STARD’S CRAP! Murderers and rapists should not be making money from anything!
By Sarahon — To all the upset with the following book…get over it. Yea he is in jail…yes he committed a crime..and now he is serving that time. For life. Yes he is going to make money..however he will never get to touch it because he is incarcerated..those not familiar with the wat it works..if you make revenue while in prison.. You can’t have it until your out. Not to mention the amount of money he would still owe for victims restitution. That money will never reach his hand. Further more at least he is not wasting tax dollars abusing the system. He is at least doing something. The book..amazing read. Loved to story. Very interesting and intrigued me. Buy the book based on the description.. Not the author. Lets help pay those victims family’s for what’s happened.
By Mica — Too bad there isn’t a minus star! Cannot believe Amazon/ca would publish a book by a convicted killer/rapist currently serving 25 years without parole and allowing him to pander to his self-grandizement. Did anyone bother to check out the name when he came into the system or does anyone work for Amazon old enough to remember the horror of what he and his then wife did? I remember. I remember the total state of disbelief most Canadians felt over what this perverted psycho did. I will seriously look at changing my shopping source for ebooks if this book remains on your available list.
By Amazon Customer — Kudos to Amazon! I am so HAPPY ,that Amazon decided to carry this book on their site, without prejudice. It is up to readers (buyers) to decide whether a certain book is appropriate or not. That is NOT the job of Amazon. Thank you Amazon for recognizing the difference. I will continue to buy items from Amazon because of this. Thank you Amazon for carrying Hitler’s Mein Kampf as well. By the way, I haven’t bought this book. I have not decided yet. I may or may not. That decision is still mine. Oh yes, I am Canadian.
By Amazon Customer — Amazon, you are taking too long. The damage is growing by the minute.
By Amazon Customer —Ignore the people who choose to hate. To deny someone access to selling their work just because of criminal convictions is criminal. Plain and simple. Amazon, all the power to you.
By Scott M. — Had it not been for all the bleeding hearts bringing attention to this book, I would have never known it existed nor would I care. Now that you all have, I think I’ll buy it as a collector item. Not because I really care about the content of the book, but as a reminder of the notorious, heinous crimes he committed and people like him still exist in our world. Yes, had we brought back capital punishment when we had the chance, this wouldn’t be an issue. The best way to boycott is not give it attention. Now every news media outlet is letting the world know. This could very well now be Amazons new best seller. Good job everyone.

B15Hey! Scott M. The voice of reason! (I know this guy from chats around the net. He’s a bright dude.) Scott’s 100% right about the capital punishment issue, but I’m not going to turn this into a death sentence debate. And I’m not going to turn this into a free speech debate either. To me, there’s something bigger that’s the real issue. That’s HTF was a convicted serial killer in isolation inside a maximum security, federal institution allowed access to outside help to self-publish? 

And there’s no doubt that Paul Bernardo had some help. I’m no stranger to self-publishing and I can tell you that his manuscript reeks of higher help.

So what’s Corrections Canada’s position on this? 

Here’s their official statement:

B19The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has been made aware of the (Bernardo’s) e-book that has been published and understands the content may be offensive to some. Offenders are not permitted to profit from recounting of their crimes, however, we are advised that this e-book is a fictional piece that does not relate to this offender’s specific crimes. Materials contained in this book may provide additional information relevant to decision-making regarding the offender. While inmates incarcerated in federal correctional facilities have limited access to computers, they do not have access to the internet or email. They are able to communicate with members of the public in writing and are entitled to privileged correspondence with their legal counsel. 

My understanding of A MAD World Order is that the content does not refer to Bernardo’s personal crimes and that’s fine. It’s a novel and many novels are graphically violent. (You should read mine.)

But come on, Corrections Canada. Limited access to computers? No access to the internet or email? Only communicate with outsiders by writing? Except with their lawyer? 

I’m calling bullshit.

008It’s taken me four years to become a relatively competent fiction writer and that involved thousands of internet hours in learning the craft of fiction writing and researching material. Hundreds more in drafting a manuscript in Word. Hundreds of emails in networking with editors, proofreaders, formatters, cover designers, marketers, and peer writers. And the time learning the computerization necessary to upload to Amazon…

Nope. Paul Bernardo had help. Lots of help. From the outside, which he didn’t get telepathically. Remember—this guy was already locked up before Amazon was formed.

Jeff Bezos didn’t visit Bernardo in jail to self-publish this novel.  Bernardo sent it to them, ready to go, and Amazon is perfectly within their rights to keep selling it for him. I hope Amazon acts morally and takes it down, but don’t bet on them trashing a BestSeller.

The real issue is the failure of the system to control incarcerated serial killers like Paul Bernardo.

Corrections Canada. Do your fuckin’ job!

HOW TO AVOID BEING MURDERED BY A SERIAL KILLER

Ever met a serial killer?

Can’t say I have – at least not that I know of.

Highway 16 in Northern BC, Canada

Highway 16 in Northern BC, Canada

But I’ve worked with other police officers who’ve dealt with them and I’ve investigated unsolved homicides that could be the work of a serial killer. (Google Highway Of Tears). I’ve also helped send killers to jail who were possibly caught just before their serial career could start.

So how would you recognize a serial killer if you met one?

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy

First of all, let’s define a serial killer. According to the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, it’s an individual who’s committed three or more homicides segregated by a block of time. A cooling-off period, so to speak. This separates true serial offenders like Ted Bundy, who committed a spaced-apart series of nation-wide killings, from localized spree or mass murderers like the Columbine shooters or bombers like Timothy McVeigh.

Now, let’s dispel a few myths.

Serial Killer 3Serial killers are not common. In fact, they’re exceptionally rare. Less than .01% of murders are classified as serial incidents. A 2012 study by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) lists the North American homicide rate as 3.9 per 100,000 in population, so doing the math from a combined populus of 464 million, you’ve got a .00039% chance of being a serial killer victim. It’s also estimated that no more than 300 serial killers are currently active in North America which puts them at .00064% of the population. So, you’ve got better odds of scoring big on the lottery than bumping into a Bundy.

The Green River Killer

The Green River Killer

Serial killers are not dysfunctional, transient loners. Gary Ridgway, Seattle’s Green River Killer, was married, lived in the same house for years, and held a steady job as an automotive painter. BTK murderer Dennis Rader was also married with children, a church leader, and slayed within a small radius of his home in Wichita, Kansas.

Willie Pickton

Willie Pickton

Serial killers are not all insane, nor are they evil geniuses. Vancouver’s Willie Pickton, ran unchecked for years, right under the nose of overlapping police jurisdictions who saw him as a simpleton. Pickton, who butchered 49 women and fed them to his pigs, was no Google Geek but he instinctively stick-handled a skillful interrogation by my colleague Don Adam, one of the RCMP’s best polygraphists.

Son of Sam

Son of Sam

Serial killers are not all about sex. It’s more a control thing. Satisfaction from the power of holding their victim’s life in their hands seems to be the primary motivator. It’s psychological, not material. David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam, and Harold Shipman, the British doctor, are prime examples of power freaks.

Paul Bernando

Paul Bernando

Serial killers are not natural deviants. They’re products of their development from birth to adulthood with a vast assortment of contributing factors. Socio-economic upbringing. Neglect. Sexual and physical abuse. Poor self-esteem and harsh peer influence. Clifford Olson, the Beast of BC who brutally hammer-murdered eleven children, became incorrigible early in his pathetic childhood and Paul Bernardo resulted from an affluent, but highly-dysfunctional, middle-class family. He came of age in his teens.

Karla Holmolka

Karla Holmolka

Serial killers have no gender or racial template. John Wayne Gacy was white. Wayne Williams was black. Richard Ramirez was Hispanic. Charles Ng was Chinese. They’re not all male, either. There’s Karla Holmolka, who assisted Bernardo in raping and murdering other women including her own sister, and Aileen Wuoronos, a particularly nasty piece of work who did in her johns.

Serial Killer 14Serial killers are not a 21st century, western phenomenon. They’ve been in all cultures and over all ages. Australia and the UK have an abnormally high rate of serial killers, while some of the really weird ones come from Belarus, South Africa, and Germany. Not classified as serial killers are genocide-orchestrating, evil-entities like Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot. Those guys got others to do their dirty work and are in a class of their own.

Zodiac's Note

Zodiac’s Note

Serial killers do not have a death wish, nor a longing to get caught. Most go to extremes to avoid detection, learning from mistakes, improving their craft, and rarely do they taunt their investigators like the Zodiac Killer of California did. He’s yet to be identified. Same with Jack the Ripper.

Here’s a few things we do know about serial killers.

They are not capable of rehabilitation. By the time they progress to this extremely abhorrent behavior, it’s too late. And who in their right mind would take a chance on releasing one? Life without parole or the death penalty are the only options.

Serial Killer 11Their psychology is complicated. Psychopathy is the common diagnosis, but their kinks in antisocial personality disorders seem to be as unique as their modus operandis. Commonly they’ve a lack of self-control, need immediate gratification, practice predatory behavior, and possess a complete lack of remorse. They can be charming, crafty, spectacularly manipulative, and are pathological liars – not the sort of folks you want inviting you over for dinner, especially a guy like Jeffrey Dahmer. And around puberty, most were cruel to animals, pyromaniacs, and chronic bed-wetters. This is known in forensic psychiatry as the triad.

There’s less and less of them all the time. That’s because of better technological and psychological detection methods resulting in their earlier removal from society. DNA and databanks have been a Godsend in solving multiple offences, especially clearing up cold-cases. There’re better analytical tools like the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Profiling System, ViCAP, the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, AFIS, the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, and IBIS, the Integrated Ballistic Identification System. Police resources are better trained and have sophisticated case management software, as well as improved inter-jurisdictional communication. And there’s also legislative initiates like Canada’s Dangerous Offenders Act which allows for indefinite incarceration regardless of maximum statutory sentencing requirements. 

We’re fascinated by serial killers.

Why?

Hannibal Lector

Hannibal Lector

Because they tell us about ourselves.

I believe they’re extenuation of folklore monsters that we heard about in kid stories. The bogeyman. The big bad wolf. Trolls under bridges and witches in forests. Jekyll & Hyde. Frankenstein. Dracula. Psycho. And who hasn’t freaked over Hannibal Lector ?

We’re terrified of monsters and horrified by what they can do to us. But deep-down we have an intense curiosity about what makes these monsters tick. It may be a fear that we, ourselves, could become a monster. Or that the stranger two doors down may already be one. Nature has hard-wired our brains to manage our safety through recognizing danger and alerting each other before it happens. We do this through storytelling and we’re all fascinated by good stories. Especially stories about the most dangerous of creatures – serial killers.

So how do you avoid being murdered by a serial killer?

Simple. Don’t do what their victims do.

Serial killers are creatures of habit and opportunity. They go for the easiest, most vulnerable, most disposable prey. Generally, those are women and youths of both sexes in the high-risk lifestyle demographics – sex trade workers, substance abusers, socio-economic outcasts, and free-spirits who travel alone.

The odds of your being murdered – never mind by a serial killer – are astronomically against you.

But you can still decrease those odds by not associating with a charming stranger. 

Royal Canadian Air Force Colonel and Serial Killer Russell Williams.

Royal Canadian Air Force Colonel and Serial Killer Russell Williams.

Knowing who to avoid takes sobriety, life-experience, common sense, and exercising caution when being alone.