The Problem with Serial Killers: BTK (Dennis Rader)

Dennis Rader murdered 10 people in Sedgwick County, Kansas between 1974 and 1991.  He was given the name BTK because of his trademark MO which followed the cruel and simplistic process of Bind, Torture and Kill.

Rader was born in 1945 and, although this is a year before the Boomer Generation began, he made a typical boomer mistake that led to his incarceration: he didn’t know how to operate a computer.

Rader had been flaunting his superior intellect over the authorities pursuing him by sending letters to the police and to newspapers. However, as we all know, writing isn’t easy and involves things like words, grammar, spelling and pens. Much easier for the busy twentieth century serial killer, with the writing abilities of a Love Island contestant, is sending messages on floppy disc.

However, Rader wasn’t stupid and decided to ask the police first to ascertain if sending them a floppy disc would be safe for him, or if there was any danger of them tracing his identity/location from such a form of communication (or ‘commication’ to use Rader’s word).

The police responded to his question through a newspaper ad and told Rader it would be perfectly safe.

Rader, who could win a gold medal if stupidity or gullibility was an Olympic sport, believed them. On February 16, 2005, he sent a package containing a purple 1.44-Megabyte Memorex floppy disk to KSAS-TV in Wichita. He also included some trinkets to prove he was the genuine BTK.

According to an article in the Atlantic:

“The disk contained one valid file bearing the message “this is a test” and directing police to read one of the accompanying index cards with instructions for further communications. In the “properties” section of the document, however, police found that the file had last been saved by someone named Dennis. They also found that the disk had been used at the Christ Lutheran Church and the Park City library.

Landwehr (the Wichita detective responsible Rader’s capture) says Rader had taken pains to delete any identifying information from the disk. But he made the fatal mistake of taking the disk to his church to print out the file because the printer for his home computer wasn’t working.

“It’s pretty basic stuff,” Landwehr says about the reconstruction of the deleted information. “Anybody who knows anything about computers could figure it out.”

A simple Internet search turned up a Web site for the church, which identified Dennis Rader as president of the congregation.”

Which, again, takes us to the conclusion that Dennis Rader is as thick as shit in the neck of a bottle.

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