America has a deep and pervasive history of racism. A blight that has persisted for centuries, it continues to seep into the justice system in both blatant and insidious ways. You don't have to look very far to see the disparity between how whites and minorities are treated in the criminal justice system - it seems almost daily there is a new outrageous case that defies belief.
Racial profiling, a tactic still employed by authorities to this day, is not only an unfair and discriminatory practice, but it's resulted in many killers (particularly serial killers, who are overwhelmingly white) being able to slip below the radar for sometimes decades at a time. It's like the old cliche of the neighbor saying about the mass murderer next door, "He seemed so normal" - white men tend to go unchecked for longer periods of time. This list explores some of these killers who were able to elude authorities for far too long, likely due to the color of their skin, or that of their victims. Let's take a look at horrific crimes people almost got away with thanks to white privilege.
- Photo: uploaded by megswimgirl
Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the most well-known serial killers in American history, his crimes so sensational that they made international headlines. Dahmer killed 17 males between 1978 and 1991, often dismembering his victims and keeping them for sexual and cannibalistic purposes. He was eventually captured in 1991 (he was killed in prison in 1994) but months before that he had a run-in with the police that should have raised more red flags than it did.
On May 27, 1991, neighbors called the police after seeing a naked and bleeding boy run from Dahmer's apartment. After interviewing Dahmer, the police accepted the story that he and the boy were lovers, and that he was just drunk and upset. They inexplicably returned the boy to the apartment where he would be murdered later that night. The Laotion boy, who was hysterical and bleeding from the anus, was 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone, and after him, Dahmer would claim four more victims.
The officers faced mere suspensions, even amidst public outcries of racism and homophobia in the Milwaukee Police Department.
- Photo: Missouri Department Of Corrections
Serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin had a simple motivation for his murderous spree: he was a vehement racist. Franklin claimed 18 lives during a reign of terror that went on for over a decade. A rabid white supremacist, Franklin loathed blacks, Jews, and other minorities, and consumed with hatred, he frequently sought blood.
Starting in 1977, Franklin robbed, murdered, and assaulted several Jewish and African American people. He was questioned in a few of the killings and even confessed to one, but was ultimately acquitted or let go by police. In 1980, Franklin shot and killed Darrell Lane, 14, and Dante Evans Brown, 13, in Cincinnati, OH. He laid under a railroad trestle waiting to murder the first black person he saw. As the victims were two young black men, the crime went under-investigated, and Franklin wouldn't be convicted for the crimes for 17 years.
It would be many years, in fact, before Franklin faced any sort of justice. He was finally executed in Missouri in 2013 for another murder conviction. In that particular crime, he had killed a Jewish man outside of a St. Louis synagogue - a sniper-style execution he carried out in the name of the purity of white race.
The Unintelligent Green River Killer Somehow Eluded Police For 30 Years Despite Being QuesitonedPhoto: King County Sheriff's Office / via Wikipedia Commons
Gary Leon Ridgway, also known as the "Green River Killer," is one of the most prolific serial murderers of all time. Killing at least 49 women in the state of Washington - though he admitted to as many as 80 - Ridgway's murderous rampage lasted for nearly 20 years before he was finally apprehended in 2001.
Ridgway was considered to be a man of weak intelligence - a rare quality for such a successful killer. He painted trucks for a living - a job he kept for 30 years - and was married three times. He was also a religious fanatic, often going door-to-door and reading from the Bible.
How exactly did a man with a penchant for picking up runaways and prostitutes, raping them, then strangling them before dumping them in the Green River elude authorities for so long? He was actually picked up in connection to one of his murders in 1984 and took a polygraph, which he failed, but was still let go. A religious, soft spoken white man, who could ever imagine him being a brutal, sadistic killer?
When it comes to murderers, Ted Bundy is probably the most famous killer of all time. He raped and murdered at least 36 women in several states - though some suspect that number is over 100 - and he is undoubtedly one of the most infamous criminals of the 20th century.
Bundy was a handsome, somewhat charming guy who used his non-threatening nature to lure his victims and avoid police. His girlfriend once noticed he kept a meat cleaver in the glove box of his VW bug, and ironically, he really enjoyed working for a suicide prevention hotline. He also volunteered for a young republicans organization, which earned him a recommendation from Washington's governor when he applied to law school.
It took a decade for Bundy to be convicted (after, mind you, two successful escapes from custody) and face any consequences for his brutal crimes. A good looking, white law student and Republican, it isn't hard to connect the dots on how he was able to roam freely in '70s America.