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According to the attorneys of Nikolas Cruz, the mass shooter who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, he has been receiving fan mail, love letters, and sexually revealing photos from women across the country.
“Your eyes are beautiful and the freckles on your face make you so handsome,” said an 18-year-old from Texas in her letter. “I’m really skinny and have 34C sized breasts.”
Some of you might be wondering, "WHY IS THIS HAPPENING???"
In fact, many mass murderers and serial killers have received fan mail while in prison. Charles Manson is one of the most famous cases — he was engaged to one of his teen fans, and his former fiancée reportedly still "cares deeply" for him. There is even an entire fan community around serial killers, both fictional and real. And this fandom is largely female.
Again, why is this seemingly horrific thing happening? Why are so many women so attracted to murderers?
There's actually a word for people like this. Professor of forensic psychology at DeSales University and author of the book Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer Katherine Ramsland, PhD, says that these women may be experiencing "hybristophilia" — a term for someone who "gets sexually aroused over someone else committing an offensive or violent act."
Some experts on women who are attracted to real life killers believe that they're simply trying to gain fame for themselves. However, this doesn't explain the increased interest in fictional murderers. Author of Women Who Love Men Who Kill, Sheila Isenberg, points out that "the women I interviewed for my book had all been involved in early abusive relationships."
These women also expressed a desire to "change" killer men, believing that there is "a wounded child" within each serial killer who could be healed if only the women were nurturing enough.
This may seem absurd, but before you come down too hard on them, you might look at our media.
TV has gotten a little dark in recent years, with entire shows revolving around serial killers (and one cannibal) who are sympathetic, complex, and rather handsome. Fans of serial killers came before Dexter and Hannibal, but there’s little doubt that the fandom has connected and grown around these programs.
A lot of people have condemned this particular fandom, saying that the celebration and near worship of men who prey largely on women and are extremely violent contributes to societal violence against women; that making sympathetic characters out of these men could lead to the excusing of real-world murders.
When it comes to murderers who target marginalized groups such as Jewish kids — as Nikolas Cruz did — there's another layer of gross to women sending them sexy fan mail. These woman are, at best, not bothering to get themselves properly informed on the men they're slobbering over, and at worst, antisemitic.