Note: Since serial killing is not a victimless crime, the killing in this article will refer only to the murder of people who have lengthy conversations on their cell phones while at the cinema.
At first glance, it might seem like every person’s common dream of becoming a serial killer is harder than ever. In the past, when DNA evidence, cadaver-sniffing dogs and GPS were still a faraway dream, you could strangle people to your heart’s content and dispose of them forever simply by burying them in your backyard or making them into pie. Hell, if you were rich enough, you could just blame it on one of your servants. That kind of thing just doesn’t fly anymore, which is one of the reasons I won’t be eligible for parole until 2035.
Still, our newfangled modern would also provides advantages that make certain elements of serial killing easier than ever. For example…
1. TV Show Tutorial
These days, for every new advance in killer-catching technology, there are ten new television shows telling audiences how to get around it. They have names such as CSI, NCIS, Bones and ‘every show on the ID channel’, but really they should be called ‘What Not To Wear: Murder Edition.’ Episodes detail exactly what mistakes and snags an aspiring killer should avoid, such as not wearing gloves, talking to the cops, and accidentally sneezing on their victims. Today, you can do all your killing research at home in front of the television, with the added entertainment value of attractive young cops making snappy one-liners while investigating furries.
Wait, your average serial killer might retort while brandishing a sharp object and his strangling gloves. Most of those shows aren’t that accurate! This is true, but luckily for you, the inaccuracy usually consists of investigators being too competent, not the other way round. The shows take place in a universe where every murder is ridiculously hard to solve (The killer is never just the boyfriend, or the creepy obsessed neighbor who gives names to all of his guns), where every killer has an IQ of 160 and a penchant for playing mind games with cops, and where every government department in the land can afford room-sixed 3D surface computers.
So if you commit your crimes with the TV crime universe in mind, you will find yourself way out of the league of the donut-eating rube that turns up to examine the body of the cell-phone user you’ve just strangled in the IMAX bathroom.
And as if that’s not enough, the fake world of forensic science shows has provided us all with another get-out-of-kill-free card in the form of…
2. The CSI Effect
The CSI Effect is the theorized consequence of forensic science-based crime shows on the general population. Dazzled by the magical computers and super-intensive crime scene investigations, jury members have become increasingly reluctant to convict suspects on more traditional evidence. It’s no longer enough that prosecutors can give a motive and means and place the guy at the scene of the crime. They need to have found microscopic hairs on the victim’s skin that can only be traced back to an endangered species of wolf in Peru, where the suspect works as a wolfologist. They demand that at at least one point during the investigation, scientists zoomed in on the footage of a traffic helicopter camera by 2,000% to reveal a clear image of the suspect chasing after the victim with a knife. Otherwise, well, he’s probably innocent.
To use this effect to your advantage, it is best that you try to appear as little like a CSI villain as possible. Try to be the first person suspected of the crime, never attempt to outsmart the wisecracking cop, and don’t be Justin Bieber.
Gone are the days where you had to awkwardly dispose of your victims in the crawlspace at your local movie theater, or inside lye-filled barrels you keep in your shed. Nowadays, people have actually developed a machine that does it for you!
The technique is called aquamation, and it consists of putting dead bodies inside a machine like this:
No expensive lye is required either, just some potassium hydroxide and hot water. After a couple of hours, all that’s left is an ‘environmentally harmless’ syrup, after which the life essence of the person can be poured down the drain (kind of like what your 24-year-old unemployed son is doing right now, amirite? Eh?). At first, buying a machine like this might seem excessive. But think of it as an investment! Also, between killings, it looks like it might make a really good storage compartment for your skiing equiptment.
If you want to avoid suspicion about the huge body-dissolving tubes that keep being shipped to your house, you might consider getting yourself licensed as a funeral director. Or claim it’s for an art project. Hell, just blather on about the environment for long enough and someone will be sure to hand one over, blissfully free of the knowledge that you will really be using it to rid the cinema down the road of copious ‘environmental waste’.
4. Social Networking
Lack of privacy might make things harder for the average serial killer in today’s world, with its surveillance cameras and crazy X-ray scanner vans. Still, today’s technology can also work for you. For example: back in the day, you might actually have had to do some research to find out the name of that dude who was chatting to his girlfriend all through Iron Man 2, research that might have actual included reading stuff off physical paper and talking to people after leaving the house. These days, you can probably get enough information from his droning voice and the tinny voice of the girlfriend to look him up on his social network site (and trust me, it will be Myspace) where he has probably posted his full address. All you need is a fake account with a pretty picture, and it’s all there. Hell, he’ll probably invite you over.
The internet has made the Western world into a stalker’s paradise. Sure, some people are wiser these days, and don’t give their name, date of birth and social security number to every random person that asks them if they want to video chat. But since you’re dealing with the person next to you who is texting ‘omg who carrz lol’ through the climax of Inception, this probably won’t be a problem.
5. International Travel
Travel has always been a great boon to the opportunistic serial killer. In the past, if the police were hot on your tail you could simply flee to a place like Australia, or even to a third-world country, like France. You’d disappear into the local population, and unless a plucky globe-trotting British detective tracked you down, you could go on making people into pies to your heart’s content.
These days, it might seem at first that this is no longer the case. Au contraire, as the suffering population of France would say. International travel is quicker and cheaper than ever. Sure, everyone complains about airlines charging for luggage and selling you apples for $10 each on the flight, but they also forget that the average flight costs like ten bucks these days – great for the serial killer on a tight budget. Also, note that you will be able to get through any security theater issues just by making sure to buy the weapons and formaldehyde at your destination. After that, the world is your oyster. There are still dozens of third-world nations (like France) whose idea of detective work consists of seeing if the local astrologer had predicted whether there would be any murders that day. And today, you can buy guidebooks that will specifically lead you off the beaten path, as well as teach you enough of the local language and culture for you to easily hide out for a while until the last murder case goes cold.
Please note, however, that the rudeness of talking on one’s cell phone during a movie varies from culture to culture, and in some places, it is actually entirely acceptable. It is best to go to a few movies first and get a feel for local customs. If the entire cinema is noisily shouting their way through one-sided conversations, it’s more polite and culturally sensitive to simply leave, rather than attempting to nuke the whole site from orbit.
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