Monday, April 17, 2006

"And then I'll kill them, with that shopping cart that someone has left out in the parking lot...."

As many of you have probably already heard, a 26-year old Oklahoma man named Kevin Ray Underwood has recently been arrested for the murder of a small child. According to the sheriff of the small town where the crime took place, “this appears to have been part of a plan to kidnap a person, rape them, torture them, kill them, cut off their head, drain the body of blood, rape the corpse, eat the corpse then dispose of the organs and bones.”. Underwood, a stocker at a grocery store, also maintained a blog (check it before the authorities yank it off the web). The joke about cannibalism on the profile aside, it comes off as a pretty innocuous site. It takes prior knowledge of this man’s horrible acts to make it seem sinister, but–nevertheless–once you know the depths of his depravity you can detect subtle hints of it in his writings.

Basically, he comes of as the classic “unhinged loner” sort of guy. All it takes is a quick sampling of some of his longer posts over the last year and you’ll see that he’s a lonely, underemployed, awkward, fantasy-prone, sexually-frustrated man. He obsesses over a woman he apparently met in an internet chatroom and writes long tortured paragraphs about this “relationship” that never really happened. He develops a crush on a coworker who later is injured in a car wreck that also kills her boyfriend. This provokes Underwood into some serious stalker-esque behavior: he visits her in the hospital every day, guiltily hoping that it’s be his chance to date her once she recovers and then sinks even further into depression when she begins seeing someone else, even though he’s made no real overtures to her. He complains about the shitty place where he lives, and casually mentions that he’d like to kill the people who make noise outside his apartment (the title of this post). Several of his posts, in fact, meekly and obliquely threaten violence against others or discuss his "evilness", gentle hints at the rage underpinning his several years worth of internet whining (and, by the way, at least one of the news clippings he chose to share with his web diary several months ago forecasts his crime fairly well).

Bottomless self-pity, however, is the only thing he really excels at. Here’s some samples, all found during a 15-minute jaunt through his blog:

From a post discussing a disappointing chapter in his relationship with “Melissa”, his chat-room object of obsession:

I guess I'm just too nice, women all want to be friends with me. Even girls I don't like have told me what a nice guy I am, and, as if that wasn't bad enough, I've even been told that "I actually forget you're a guy, I don't even think of you as a guy, you're like one of the girls to me."

That fucking hurts.

And from later in that same post:

What really gets me about the whole "lets be friends" thing, is that they always say they don't want to date because "I don't want to ruin our special friendship." What they don't seem to understand is that that pretty much ruins the friendship as well, because it's pretty much impossible to stay friends with someone you are so in love with, but they don't want you. It hurts to talk to them, or hang out with them, because the whole time all you can think about is how badly you want them and can't have them.

And I do love Melissa, I love her more than anything. Maybe it's stupid, considering that we've only met once, for a few hours once, and she had a boyfriend at the time, so nothing happened. So you might think it's stupid to be so in love with someone you've hardly even met, but I don't think it is.

From the aforementioned post complaining about his loud neighbors:

I really need to get out of the house more. I was doing great there for a while, leaving, and going places, and actually enjoying being out in public, but ever since I started this new job, I've hardly left the house. It's not shyness or anything again really, it's just laziness. I don't feel like doing shit on my days off now. I hardly even go shopping anymore. I haven't had any milk or bagels in probably close to two months. I don't buy milk at the stores where I buy all my other groceries. I buy it at Braums, because it's the cheapest place around here on milk, and I just haven't felt like making the trip to an extra store just to get some milk and bagels. Even if I'm out already, and doing all my other shopping, I just don't feel like going to any more stores than I have to. I hardly even leave the house on my days off, I just sit here at the computer, or watching a DVD or something all day.

From the post where he discusses the crush on his co-worker:

I spent the next few months in a state of deep depression, and seriously thought about killing myself on several occasions, but never had the nerve to go through with it. Which made me feel even worse. I was such a coward. I was too afraid to talk to people, too afraid to ask girls out even after being in love with them for months. I was even too afraid to kill myself even though I wanted to.

Over time I started getting a little better, but I battled depression for a couple of years. I still have the social phobia, and very occasionally small bouts of depression, but I'm much better than I was then, at least when it comes to the depression.

But still, over the last year or so I find myself becoming more and more detached from the world. I almost never leave the apartment except to go to work or my parents' house, and when I do leave the apartment, I walk around like a zombie, with a blank expression on my face, not looking at anything or anyone. In fact, the last couple of months, I've noticed that my eyesight is going, probably because my eyes are getting weak. Whenever I'm out of the house, I never focus on anything, I stare blankly ahead, operating on a sort of fuzzy peripheral vision. The only things I ever really focus on and look at are books or computer screens for hours on end, which strains my eyes further. When I'm not safe in my apartment, I am silent and expressionless, looking at nothing. I have no personality. If someone says hi to me, I either ignore them, or grunt out a small "hi," or "ok," if they ask me how I'm doing. It gets worse every day, I withdraw farther and farther into myself with each passing week.

My spirit has been totally crushed. Anyone who looks into my eyes can see this.

I wish I could be like I used to be. I wish I could be like Melissa.

I wish I could be human.

Many people would read these things and feel bad for the person who wrote them. That is, of course, exactly what he was after. He wanted his readers, few as there probably were, to look at his drivel and consider him a wounded and noble soul making his way bravely through a bad life. A bad life that, of course, was the result of cruel circumstance, not his own failures and his own immaturity. It’s sickening to me, how he mewls for attention and sympathy while affording others only stilted walk-on roles in his theater of anguish. This isn’t severe shyness and it isn’t simple mental illness. Many people are mentally ill and many more people are shy and socially-awkward, but they don’t kill little kids. The selfishness that allowed him to prattle on endlessly about his pitiful struggles eventually became monstrous, it festered into something that allowed him to consider a 10-year-old girl’s life meaningless beside his emotional emptiness and the vicious fantasies it fed. This is a man, contemptible and childish, who wallowed in his pain for so long that pain became the only thing he was capable of bringing into the world.