The Mother Nest
The above link will whisk you to a bit of my own back-of-the-envelope research cobbled from two websites. I wanted to show a graphic of which U.S. states produced the most serial killers (or rather where they wound up), as a backdrop to go with a planned presentation on why Washington state and Florida in particular are so kick-ass in this regard. (The ultimate decision to separate the posts anticipates that the table will go over better in academia without my unusual commentary.) I’ve been hearing noises about Florida lately as being the ‘mother nest’, and also I’ve got this provincial Washingtonian chauvinistic streak, not wanting to cede anything to some urban legend upstart. The noises have been gathering about my home state probably since before you were born.
Really, I fully expected for Washington and Florida to finish one-two, and the fact that they don’t throws me in a bit of a tizzy. I will have to think on the fly– oh, no.
What the hell is going on in Missouri? Are they starting to look around at their neighbors and thinking that serial killing is a viable choice of career?
Okay, I’ll grant you, the Missouri sampling size is small…but samplings are small everywhere and considering isn’t bad. But the mother nest is most definitely not Florida, not by number of qualifiers anyhow. I’ll hold out on the issue of superstars within the field until I can find a source that doesn’t credit Henry Lucas with a minimum of 75 suspected homicides. The project would lose all credibility if I tried to chart by number of victims instead of number of perps, in the absence of a better source.
You have to take California, the other orange juice state, from the Most Populous class. The number one state in population by a wide margin also has the highest per capita rate of serial killers among the top twelve. My methodology may also have shortchanged them, in that their population has been booming, yet included in the study are killers who may have operated when California wasn’t the runaway population champ that it is now.
As for why California finishes so strong, I imagine traditional explanations fit well. Lots of dense population centers that are nonetheless moments to minutes away from vast undeveloped pockets, the combination most often cited to explain Washington state’s status as an ideal hunting ground. As I probably won’t find a better place to slip it in, here is the part of my book where I come closest to directly addressing the meaning of living in Washington state for a person such as myself:
The night I got back in Seattle was a very special one; it couldn’t help but be. At the transfer point of Fourth and Stewart I waited for the bus alongside a young woman whose skin was unimaginably soft– you could just tell– and with absolutely no tan whatsoever. Together with several other commuters, we amusedly watched a man who looked yet again one-tenth as put together as I. Huge beard, like the one guy in the Oakridge Boys, mondo backpack too, and this guy did something about as goofy as anything I ever attempted in this whole sordid story.
Looking like a displaced mountain man in this metropolis of Seattle, the man nonetheless found his mountain. He hiked up to the raised traffic island in the middle of the street and made camp beneath the block’s token man-planted tree. Between the fair maiden and this rugged individual, coupled with a topography which made such “roughing it” possible in the center of one of the most major transfer points in a city of half a million, I knew at that moment that I couldn’t have been anyplace else.
California is also a good fit for the theory, nay, fact, that serial killers gravitate toward geographical extremities to match their inner movement toward extremes. I can vouch for this one personally as a psychological dead ringer who ran off…(drum roll)…to Florida once upon a time:
Unbearable. Here again, I’d been living so near Pauli and her family, and this time when I left I couldn’t travel far enough away. Forget walking, forget Trailways; too slow. This time I would hop a jet and go as far away as I could while remaining in the lower forty-eight. This is how by next morning I would land in Miami, Florida.
But I may have neglected up until now the number one reason for California kicking ass, and you might find it hard to stomach but it ties with evolution. (I foresee myself making a case here at this pulpit little by little, that traditional evolution as an ongoing process applying to human beings along with all other animals, does in fact exist. That we came from monkeys and that some of us are headed someplace else, whether or not you permit us to get there.) In a nutshell, California has long been the scene culturally of the Next Big Thing, whatever form that takes.
(Though Seattle, WA now has Starbucks and grunge, and is nipping at your heels.)
Whaddaya think, would a two-headed Oregon Trail monster of Washington/Oregon reclaim the number one spot?
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