Anyone You Want Me to Be
This book lacks any photographs, which is unusual for any true-crime book. It uses Roman numerals for its chapters. The purpose of this book is to educate, and entertain, the reader. Its description of that video reads like a pornographic novel. It warns everyone of the dangers in the on-line world. This book is about a serial murderer who trolled the Web seeking willing victims. There were criminal acts in John Robinson's past before he started on murders. His embezzlements were discovered but did not result in jail time because of his restitutions. Most white-collar criminals are not violent. People trusted him; he could have been a politician. The authors say this is one example why career criminals can't be rehabilitated (p.13). Repeat offenders know how to present themselves (p.14).
JR was born in Cicero Ill in 1943. He became an Eagle Scout at 13, and senior patrol leader; he had a lot of talent. JR then entered the Quigley Preparatory Seminary, but was remembered for shrewdness not academic success. He then attended Morton Junior College, and then worked at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park Ill. He was accused of embezzlement, but was not prosecuted when he agreed to pay it back. JR then moved to Kansas City with his family (p.8).
One of JR's businesses was hydroponics, a way of growing vegetables indoors. (No weeds?) JR manipulated the Kansas City mayor by creating faked letters from real people; it was discovered (p.31). Page 23 says prisoners who become jailhouse ministers want to exert power and control over others. While bouncing between jobs (fired for embezzling) and scams, JR discovered the new world of personal computers (p.26). He also started a prostitution business, and continued to lead a busy double life. (The authors noted his many escapes, but never mention any links to organized crime.) He attracted the notice of the police and FBI, but nothing happened. (Jack Ruby?) In time, his past crimes caught up to him and he went to jail. JR received an education in computers while in prison. After his release he went back to his old pattern. Women would meet him, then disappear without a trace. The Internet gave him a superhighway to his goals.
The case against JR was tangled and multi-dimensional, involving multiple states and jurisdictions, with financial and computer issues (p.159). (JR may have survived so long because there were no insurance claims as in the case of H.H. Holmes.) Serial killers collect mementos of their victims, evidence that is used in court. JR was extensively surveilled before his arrest (p.163). The authors explain S&M as a way to escape adult responsibility by those who are emotionally vulnerable (p.164). (I once worked with a woman who joined EST so they could tell her what to do.) These seem to be lonely women who befriend strangers. Money and sex were the bait. Communities hate being fooled by those they liked and trusted, their feelings turn to anger and hate. (Does this explain the problem for OJ Simpson?) This can splatter innocent associates (p.194). People think a serial killer should look like a monster, but they look like anybody, even someone who wouldn't hurt a fly (p.211). JR was "a clever man with a remarkable ability to appear normal" (p.220).
To paraphrase that famous cartoon: "on the Internet nobody knows your are a serial murderer".