Candice DeLong on Rodney Alcala
What's the Matter with Rodney?
Where do I begin? Rodney Alcala, a thrice convicted rapist/kidnapper/serial killer, is a criminal profiler's dream — or nightmare — depending on your perspective. As I read several articles about Rodney and his many horrible crimes, it occurred to me that this guy, if nothing else, was at least guilty of channeling the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy. Both of these killers possess a rather high IQ, which sadly, they chose to squander on a life of self-indulgent, violent, sexual crimes. These men focused on attractive, (mostly) brunette young women and adolescent girls to unleash their unspeakable deeds, luring them to their deaths with disarming good looks and "charming ways." In the end, Alcala and Bundy both represented themselves at their own murder trials, and, thankfully, their representation was, to say the least, inadequate and they were both convicted by a jury and sentenced to death.
Both Bundy and Alcala had the brain power to do great and wonderful things with their lives, a gift most of us can only admire or envy. Yet they chose to go to the dark side, and between the two of them during their criminal careers, brutally killed many innocent women and children. What we all want to know is--WHY? My many years in clinical psychiatric nursing as well as an FBI profiler lead me to conclude that it's probably a result of two things: A combination of a bad DNA cocktail (85%) and bad parenting and childhood circumstances. In these two cases, it all came together to create a Personality Disorder only a mother could love: Narcissistic and Anti-social Personality Disorder. When these two "conditions" are seen in the same person it can be a lethal combination.
But let me be fair here, "Personality Disorders" of which I think Bundy and Alcala are both afflicted, are really a bitch, mostly for those of us who have to deal with those who have them. Only a handful of the hundreds of psychiatric disorders known to mankind are classified as such, and we should all be thankful for that! These people can be masters of chaos and despair for the rest of society. Most savvy clinicians are skilled at diagnosing these disorders, but know the futility of attempting to treat them. Sadly, many men (and yes, a few women) who have these personality disorders sometimes recognize that they have "something wrong" with them, but they avoid psychiatric treatment and choose to act out their violent, murderous fantasies. Why? Two reasons: 1) Psychotherapy and self-discipline can be "hard work," and 2) kidnapping, raping, torturing and killing is more fun for them! (That and they don't have to deal with health insurance companies-talk about your sociopaths!)
Anyway, for Bundy, it was all about power and control. He once told a journalist in an interview that after several rape/murders, "The sex became perfunctory. I felt like God. The power I had to let her live or take her life became the most important thing." Wow! Pretty heady stuff, Ted! As we now know, he chose to take their lives over thirty times. And yet, Ted Bundy, notorious, brutal, sex killer, lived (romantically) with a woman and her young, school-aged daughter without harming either of them in any way for the years he was with them. Hmmmm, there's that pesky, self-discipline thing again. As with the vast majority of serial killers, they are smart and disciplined enough not to choose a victim that would logically lead the police back to them. But eventually they screw up and their "god" complex leads them to be careless — thank God.
We can also be thankful that these two insisted on feeding their egos and entertaining us at the end of their judicial rope by representing themselves in court at their own capital murder trials. I would have sold my proverbial soul to the devil to see Ted Bundy wink at a female juror, or watch Rodney Alcala cross-examine himself on the witness stand, referring to himself as "Mr. Alcala," no less. That kind of outrageous, egotistical grandiosity is usually reserved for reigning tyrants and evil despots. And those guys aren't doing so well lately either.