As a true crime author I analyze, research and write about crime. By virtue of the title, I should be able to write about any type of crime and gain recognition, right? However, due to America’s infatuation with murder, most of my books and publishing center around, what we in Illinois regard as class X felons. I mean, I could probably write about Leroy the crackhead or dimebag Dave or the time Lil Jessie got caught with one rock, but who cares about that? No, our society has a love affair with the darkest crime of them all, the taking of another person’s life.
For every crime written about, research is done. In my book “The Darker Side of Evil,” I speak of society’s “throw away,” people. Throwaway people are the drug addicts, street walkers and homeless people that we see but don’t see every day. Most of us have at least one of these people in our family. The person we hope won’t show up to family gatherings; or if they do, you are prepared for them to stink or to beg, or both. The person in the family that no one knows where they are most of the time, that is until we get a call from another family member or law enforcement notifying the next of kin of the person’s untimely demise.
The city of Chicago is no stranger to the serial murderer. The Roseland area of Chicago has been experiencing the effects of living among a serial killer for the better part of 20 years now. In the late 90’s into 2000’s, Geoffrey T. Griffin took the lives of 7-8 women from the area. More recently, Michael Johnson, a 6 foot 4 220 lb. 27 year old was arrested and stands accused of murdering at least 4 women. In both cases it is highly suspected that these men have committed many more murders than what’s known.
As in most serial murders, the targets of each of these killers were street walkers. Had the media provided adequate coverage of these crimes, lives that were lost may have been saved? However, if we as a community exhibit a lackadaisical attitude toward the victims of these heinous crimes, so will the media. One reason the media provides minimal coverage, if any, in reference to these crimes is our disinterested attitudes concerning the victims. Feeding off of the standpoint of society and the community, the murderer themselves take on the mindset that they are doing the world a favor by ridding the community of these individuals. These women are daughters, sisters, many of them mothers. But most of all they are human beings. Regardless of what kind of lifestyle they have chosen for themselves. They have a right to live just as you and I have.
As communities, real communities we have to claim our own, no matter of their current plight. These murderers only exist and operate because we allow them to. It is our failure to watch out for the members of our neighborhoods. We are not to look down upon, but look across at the faces that make up our neighborhoods and when a member is no longer being seen in his or her normal areas, inquire about their wellbeing. Don’t get in their business, but take a moment to ask a known associate of theirs about their friend. History has shown that if we don’t claim our own, there is something waiting in the darkness that will.