Those of a cynical bent are forever suspicious of anyone who appears to be excessively “normal” — the types who seem to have just stepped out of a Rockwell painting. We are especially wary of politicians, almost all of whom (Tom Tancredo being a current dissenter) try way too hard to seem like the boy — and girl! — next door. As readers of this site are well aware, politics tends to attract loons and outright psychopaths, a tradition that seems alive and well as one contemplates the antic and sometimes otherwordly gazes of Edwards, Clinton, Romney, et al..
A master of the normal shtick was Dennis Rader, aka the BTK killer, who was able to avoid capture for 30 years because he blended in so well in his suburban Witchita neighborhood. How normal was he? He made his living writing tickets to homeowners who didn’t keep their lawns trimmed.
As it happens, I recently reviewed a new book on Rader. Here’s how it starts:
(Bloomberg) — A new book about Dennis Rader, aka the BTK killer, teaches a chilling lesson: That really ordinary guy living next door could be a serial killer. Rader, according to John Douglas’s “Inside the Mind of BTK,'’ “could out-normal even the most normal person,'’ which helps explain how he evaded capture for more than 30 years…Yet beneath that white-bread exterior lurked a monster. Rader is known to have killed 10 people between 1974 and 1991, beginning with a quadruple murder whose victims included an 11- year-old girl, with whom he left a DNA calling card. That practice would eventually help identify him.
Pretty gooey stuff, but interesting and perhaps helpful as the presidential race picks up steam. I can’t post the entire thing here, but you can read it at