Posted by: Daisy | April 23, 2009

The *insert weirdo* next door

Who do you know, and how well do you really know them?

These are questions running through my mind as I read about the Craigslist Killer in the online paper. If you haven’t heard, Philip Markoff, a medical student at Boston University is accused of killing Julissa Brisman who advertised her services on craigslist.  He’s also been accused of robbing another person also through craigslist and they believe there are more victims. Markoff is described as a good looking professional with his life seemingly all together, including a planned wedding later this year.

In the news, you’ll read of people who state that he’s such a nice guy, and that it can’t possibly be him.  Isn’t that what we always hear about the nasty perpetrators of crime?  Who knows if he’s guilty or not – there will bound to be more details and evidence gathered over the next while.  I just find it quite interesting that we don’t like to believe good looking guys with a dream life could possibly be nasty perpetrators of crime.

I think it physically and emotionally hurts us as individuals to read stories like this.  It makes us think about our circle of friends, neighbours, co-workers and acquaintances.  Is there another killer amongst our circle?  Who can we possibly trust?  We want to believe that murderers come from a long history of deviant behaviour and that they are easily branded as strange.  We want to be able to spot them from a mile away so we can avoid them because they can’t possibly be someone I know!  The scariest thing is that the really big crimes typically come from intelligent, got-it-together type folks – you know, the ones you’re probably friends with.

Do you remember Paul Bernardo?

I still remember the horrors of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka – the husband/wife team in St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada and their serial rape/murders.  They too, did not seem like the grotesque monsters on the outside that we expect to see when we hear or read of their stories.

Their horrid crimes occurred in the early 90’s and at the time, the internet and the world wide web were fairly new.  For their trials, there were court bans on the publication of information.  I remembered reading how even seasoned crime professionals were horrified by the details.  I also remember, like it only happened a short while ago, that in this new world wide web, someone had emailed me some of this banned information.  As I read some of the details, I remember my stomach physically churning – I could not read any more.

To this day, I can not drive by St. Catherines, or even think of the St. Catherines area without thinking of the horrors of this duo.  My heart goes out to the families of the victims Leslie Mahaffy, Kristen French and the others.  Although it’s been over 17 years, I am sure they are still grieving.

So, what do we do now?  We’ve got to stop assuming that good-looking people can not be murderers, and frumpy looking people can’t have a great career in music.  Let’s let go of our assumptions, and not be so quick to judge.  We need to open our eyes to the good, the bad and the ugly for what’s really inside. 

Are you worried someone you know might be hiding something?  The thought certainly crossed my mind for a brief moment.  Well, if your gut tells you they might.. they very well might.  Look for signs of regular mood swings, deception, and missing chunks of time unaccounted for.  Big, big scary evidence is if you find someone else’s stuff (you know, trinkets, jewellery and the like).  I’m sure they aren’t.  But if they are, you certainly don’t want to be sweeping it all under the rug, right?  I’ve done my mental list and I think I’m okay in my immediate circle.

– Daisy, who’s sounding very scary serious today.



  1. thanks for this, you have put into words something that i grapple with, how people are quick to make assumptions based on how someone looks ~ it has the tendancy to skewer perceptions when really you should be using your gut, your senses to the best of your ability rather than assuming based on looks.

    all through university, people assumed that i came from a wealthy family, that my life was easy even at work people assume that i come from a white middle class educated family. because of how i look, because of how my features come together, because i was considered attractive, because i look young for my age, i don’t know. the truth of the matter is i am not even ‘white’ as i am metis. the other truth is that i grew up poor, i was the first in my family to get a university degree, i paid for it myself, i dropped out of highschool and was a bit of a druggie burnout for many years before getting my act together … my life was far from easy and there was a lot of stuff that happened that doesn’t reflect on my face at all … so people assume and it kind of sucks actually. thankfully, i am not a crazed killer or anything like that … 🙂

    i remember the Paul Bernardo case … scary stuff. i am always amazed at how people think that if they live in a ‘good’ neighbourhood then stuff like that doesn’t happen even though we know that it does. my husband always says he would rather see the crap coming towards him so he can avoid it rather than have it lurk behind beige walls of normal. yup.

    Darlene, Yeah, funny how we like to peg people and make assumptions about them. Even now, I get assumptions made of me.. some are great (she looks like she’s in her 20’s), and yet sometimes, that assumption goes the other way, (she’s so young, she doesn’t have the experience in business), so I suppose it depends what the situation is. Thankfully, I suppose the people that matter will take the time to get to know me, and throw out at least some of those assumptions and learn the real truth. If they don’t, they’re probably not my kind of ‘person’ at this time anyway.

    And, crime is coming to the ‘nice neighbourhoods’ too – lots of grow houses now popping up everywhere – so get out, talk to your neighbours and smell the roses. – Daisy

  2. wow. sorry for writing so much, i got a bit carried away, tee hee

    Not at all, Darlene – you’ve got nothing to be sorry for. I always love your comments. – Daisy

  3. How very true this post is, we have had a few nutters in the UK and when people are interviewed they always say ‘ They were such nice quiet people’ The old saying is right ‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’

    Yeah, I’m sure if someone described another as “such nice quiet people”, I’d likely get prickly wondering what they’re hiding! – Daisy

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