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Canadian nutjobs captivate columnist
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
Iím in grad school for a few reasons, and trying to adjust to being in school again. However, as much as Iíd like to bitch and moan about the WTF moments Iíve had sitting in class, Iíd rather talk about the fact that I get a chance to write an ďengaged research paperĒ (my professorís term) about one of my favorite crime cases from the last 25 years.
At the time it was unfolding, I didnít know anything about it. I was busy working my first job out of college, and thanks to the insane schedule, there were days where Iíd go to work, come home, and go to bed. I really donít remember much from age 25 to 28. But fittingly, I heard about one of Canadaís most notorious crime sprees while vacationing in the Great White North ten years ago. That would be the saga of the ďKen and BarbieĒ killers, a.k.a. Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo.
You usually donít associate crime with Canada, but I gotta hand it to them. For as bland, boring, harmless, and nice as Canadians might seem, Bernardo and Homolka certainly flipped that assumption on its head.
So who are these people? Bernardo came from a family where the dad molested his only daughter. Bernardoís mother had an affair with another man, got pregnant and one day, showed Paul a picture of his real father. Despite being fairly popular after he started working out and defending himself against other students who thought that he was soft because of his looks, Bernardo hated his mother, and took out his rage on his girlfriends. In his spare time, he raped women. Homolka was seemingly fairly normal, from a normal, middle class Canadian family, except she thought about suicide a lot, was interested in the occult, and suffered from depression.
One fateful night in October, 1987, the teenaged Homolka met the 23 year old Bernardo and within a couple hours, had sex in front of Homolkaís roommate and Bernardoís friend at the Howard Johnsonís where Homolka and her co-workers were attending a pet supplierís convention. Years went by, the sex got kinkier and when the smoke cleared, Homolka and Bernardo were responsible for the death of Homolkaís sister, Tammy, and two other teenage girls. They might never have gotten caught had Bernardo not beat the crap out of Homolka with a flashlight. Fed up with what Homolka described as regular physical, verbal and psychological abuse, she talked to the cops, managed to finagle what people described as the ďdeal with the devil,Ē and after twelve years in prison, walked out. Bernardo will most likely never be released. Homolka managed to get the bargain before very incriminating video tapes of Bernardo and Homolka violating her sister and the two other girls were discovered. Suddenly, the woman who claimed sheíd been beaten and coerced into doing these horrible things looked like she was having an awfully good time while doing it.
So far, Iíve struggled with my writing projects in grad school. I was so wired about writing about this subject, I started writing the paper before the assignment sheet was posted. Iím not sure why Iím so obsessed with a twenty-one year old case. I guess because it seemed at first like a fairy tale, before it went so horribly wrong. Plus, I seem to meet potentially dangerous men. Part of me feels sorry for Homolkaóshe met this guy with a good job, a college education, and he seemed charming and kind and handsome. Sure, he was interested in rather interesting forms of sexual intercourse, but I guess Homolka figured that it was just a small price to pay for snagging a great guy who was planning to be rich someday. I guess one of the horrifying things about this case is that Bernardo looked like a surfer, and knew what to say to people. As the Scarborough Rapist, a composite was released to the public, and at least two people who knew him said the sketch looked just like him. But the police couldnít quite believe this blonde, blue-eyed, Baywatch type could be capable of being a rapist. Thanks to police bungling, and the slow pace of DNA forensics testing, it would be years before a match was made. The timing was finally right. Bernardo had beaten his wife so badly, a hospital doctor would say it was the worst case of spousal abuse heíd ever seen. They were watching him, and when the testing proved positive, it was all over for Bernardo.
People all over the world hate the pair, even though they are no longer together. They are incensed that Homolka got such a sweet deal and is remarried, and has three children. They feel she is just as guilty as Bernardo, who according to major Canadian news outlets, is planning to get married to a brilliant college educated woman, but who has low self-esteem and hasnít had good luck with her relationships.
No, itís not me. But a part of me can understand how a teenage girl can fall under the spell of a guy who seemingly has it all. I can understand wanting to do just about anything in order to keep him, especially if youíve never met anyone in your life so perfect. What Homolka did was wrong. Especially serving up her youngest sister so Bernardo could deflower her. The Homolka-Bernardo case is horrific, and evil and mind-blowing. As someone who has gone along with certain things with certain men, I can understand why Homolka felt she had to do what she did. However, Iím so very glad that I never met anyone like Bernardo. Itís one thing when creeps (such as the self-admitted date rapist I met at the library a few weeks ago) are average looking, but when evil is dressed like a preppy white bread dude and looks like your dream man, how far will you go? Homolka went too far, but still got to walk. She was both unlucky, and incredibly lucky. She was both good then evil.
I have no doubt that if Bernardo and Homolka had never met, neither one of them would have ended up in prison. Well, maybe Bernardo would, but not for life. But fate put them both in the Howard Johnsonís hotel restaurant, and their lives changed forever. Oh, if I could only get this enthusiastic about the rest of the papers I have to write in grad school Ö