Serial Killers and Free-Range Moms

Hi Readers! For Americans, this is a holiday weekend when we celebrate freedom, so here’s a nice little note that celebrates exactly that: Freedom…from fear. It comes to us from Hannah Zuniga in Reno, NV, who thanks both me and you! – L

DearFree-Range Kids: I’ve always had a macabre interest in serial killers. I read many books about them in high school and college and watched hours of true crime TV shows. When I became pregnant with my first I had to stop, but the damage was already done. I had nightmares and “daymares” about these terrible things happening to my unborn daughter. I’m glad I found your book. My reading (and TV viewing) habits made being a Free-Range parent a challenge, but the statistics you give as well as the assurances of the other parents on your blog have done a lot in calming my fears for my three kids. – H.Z.

I feel forgotten!!



19 Responses to Serial Killers and Free-Range Moms

  1. Renee Anne July 5, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    I can’t say I had a fascination with it in that I spent extra time studying it…but I will read the occasional story (like one that showed up on USA Today yesterday about one of the victims of John Wayne Gacey).

    I’m contending with living in an area that is unfamiliar to me…and how to let my child into that world instead of one I’m more familiar with. ::sigh::

  2. Kimberly July 5, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Serial killers don’t generally go after children if that helps anyone.

  3. anonymous this time July 5, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    Yeah, I guess I’ve flirted with that morbid fascination too. I was a young thing on my own when they discovered Jeff Dahmer. Hundreds of miles away, victim profile couldn’t be more different from my characteristics, and still, I suddenly felt more vulnerable, just knowing that human beings were capable of something like that, and could a demented killer be in my midst?

    I got over it. And I also know that I am just as likely, if not more so, to be a victim of kidnapping, rape, and murder than my kids, so if I have the courage to leave the house, I must have the courage to encourage them to do the same…

  4. Maggie July 5, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    Well, there’s a reason that serial killers are widely known, while say, people who kill people while driving drunk are not: There are a lot fewer serial killers.

  5. Warren July 5, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Other than avoiding putting yourself or your child in an obvious high risk situation, like a 2am stroll down a dark alley in a city you do not know, there is nothing more you can do. Unless you want to live in a self made prison.

    Violent crimes and bad things happen to good people. It is unfortunate, but a fact of life.

    The way I see it life is like standing in line at an olde tyme butcher shop. When you are born you take a ticket, and when they call your number, that’s it. Doesn’t matter what you are doing, you could be sleeping, working, skydiving, or whatever, when your number is called, it is called. Therefore there is absolutely no reason to not do anything. Enjoy your life. Do not let fear hold you back. And please do not let YOUR fear hamper your children.

  6. Alison July 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    I think that irrational fears are normal when you have a small baby. In fact, it can be a sign of PPD. When our daughter was born, I had many different types of fearful scenarios run through my mind. One involved a wolf getting into her room and eating her. We don’t live anywhere near where wolves would be.

  7. NCS July 5, 2013 at 7:10 pm #


    Now THAT fearful fantasy might very well be an unconscious memory from a former life of yours! I am serious. Check out if you would like to explore that!
    I personally believe that many so-called irrational fears are actually untapped past life memories.

  8. Donna July 5, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    I still find serial killers utterly fascinating. I probably should have been a forensic psychologist/sociologist who studies the criminal mind instead of an attorney.

    Never worried about those bizarre things happening to my child though. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a twinge of fear when my child goes off alone out of my sight, but completely macabre happenings never enter my mind.

  9. socalledauthor July 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    I’m the opposite. I’m more fascinated with everyday evils (good people doing bad things) than with the super-rare evil of a serial killer. As a reader of crime fiction, I find myself frequently disappointed with yet another serial killer stories. They are around every fictional corner in mysteries and crime stories, but in real life, they are few and far between.

    But, like I tell my son, things on TV (and in some of his books aren’t real.) Mainly, I’m talking about true fiction, but it also applies to the exaggeration– frequency or severity– that TV, including “real” TV would have us buy into. There are no “nupboards in the cupboards” (Dr. Suess) nor are their serial kills lurking around every block, waiting for their next victim.

  10. ifsogirl July 6, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    I work at an answering service and we answer for many different types of companies. We also answer for Dr’s Midwives, and some other emergency type calls. I got one the other day for a Dr’s office. When I asked what the call was for, the gentleman on the other end stated that he was a psych patient and he was feeling homicidal. As weird as it was, I never even checked ot see where that clinic was located, as mine and my children’s paths would most likely never cross paths with this man. It did make the night a little more colourfull at work though.

  11. Jessica July 6, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    TV-shows flirt heavily with herendous murders (read Criminal minds etc), making it all seem like a regular occurrence. For a time I worked with children who had very rare diseases. More often than not I had to remind myself that these children, as tragic as it often was, was the exception. I regularly checked incidence reports (as in how common or rather uncommon, the disorder was). Most children are born healthy. The same goes for crime. The likelihood of being murdered is tiny. Being murdered by a serial killer even less so.

  12. Rachel July 6, 2013 at 7:05 am #

    Before I got pregnant, I’d watch the first two seasons of Dexter. I knew the third involved Dexter’s girlfriend getting pregnant so I didn’t let myself watch it. I still haven’t.

    I also worked at a place where they could have whatever on TV during the weekend (news during the week.) I had to institute a “no dead/missing kids” rule about halfway through a Law & Order marathon.

  13. Jessica July 6, 2013 at 7:08 am #

    OK, that came out weird, not implying that murder is healthy, but rare.

  14. AB July 6, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    My overprotective grandmother used to scare me with stories about serial killers to keep me on a tight leash. However, the guy whose actions were the basis of the Buffalo Bill character in Silence of the Lambs murdered two women and was a grave robber. I was surprised when my pediatric counselor ( who I went to for anxiety due to over protection) told me that my grandmother’s warnings of crazy serial killers slaughtering chubby girls for their skin was an exaggeration. it was hard for me not to fear such things until I got the internet and researched about serial killers.

  15. oncefallendotcom July 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    The most disturbing fictional serial killer, even more disturbing than Hannibal the Cannibal Lecter, is DEXTER.

    I say this because when a sex offender is murdered by a vigilante, or when there are discussions about sex offenders, Dexter gets thrown out an awful lot.

    Patrick Drum, the man who murdered two registrants in Pt Angeles WA last summer, was considered a real life ‘Dexter.” Although, he claims the only inspiration from TV came from “To Catch a Predator.”

  16. Violet July 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    I represent death row inmates. Honestly, I worry more about my son getting arrested and abused by cops for marijuana or drinking. And he is only 13!!! Zero tolerance policies are much more dangerous than criminals.

  17. Captain America July 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Color me crazy, but I just don’t get into this kind of stuff at all.

    I would never read about serial killers. Just too macabre.

    I also never read about Adolph Hitler or Hitler-times Germany. Depressing stuff if you like democracy.

  18. Papilio July 8, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    @Captain America: Those two are not the same to me. I don’t see valuable lessons to be learned from reading about serial killers (except for the police etc). However, Adolf Hitler was democratically chosen by the German people – I do think it’s important to understand the how and why of nazi-Germany to prevent something like that from happening again.

  19. Natalie July 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    One can understand how someone kills for monetary gain or power. One can understand how someone kills for emotional reasons: revenge, anger, etc. but serial killers? Why do they kill? What motivates them? The answer isn’t obvious. People like to speculate as to how a seemingly ordinary person can be capable of such atrocities. For anyone interested, I recommend the movie “citizen X”. About a serial killer in communist Russia, and the attempt to catch him. True story and fantastic movie.

    And Hitler and other depressing times in history? If someone likes democracy they should read about events such as these, as Papillo mentioned. What’s the difference between a democracy and tyranny of the majority? Egypt is struggling with that concept right now.