As Americans, we have become accustomed to living in a society that is perennially reinventing itself, inherently complex, and sometimes extreme in its actions. In truth, there is nothing simple about America, despite the fact that we typically describe ourselves in rather prosaic and seemingly straightforward terms. If it was the intention of our founding fathers more than two centuries ago to establish a caldron of ceaseless change and diversity, history has proven the success of their experiment. Today, we are a nation of citizens who rush toward the future with blind optimism and unquestioned determination, and we have adapted ourselves to the expectations of success and the pain of failure that such a compulsion implies.
The benchmarks of our national achievements are impressive in their meaning and scope. Our attainments have dramatically impacted the lives of American citizens, particularly in the last few decades of the twentieth century. We have evolved into a society that is unparalleled in its ability to gather knowledge and exchange data about the minutest details of everyday life. Our institutions and traditions of education, entertainment, and free enterprise are well established, eminently successful, and envied by many other nations. Without question, America has achieved an overwhelmingly prominent role in world affairs, and deservedly so. Our grand experiment in democracy has, by any reasonable standard, proven to be inspired and workable.
However, our national accomplishments have also been costly and at times debilitating. On a global scale, we have incessantly demanded a position of world leadership and, in so doing, we have committed ourselves to sacrifice too many of our children to achieve this goal. On the national front, we have often overlooked entire segments of our society in our incessant drive for economic fulfillment and physical comfort. In many, perhaps most, American communities, we have learned to accept undercurrents of separatism, bigotry, economic inequality, poverty, and crime as co-partners in our drive to achieve and maintain the American Dream. Too often, we have learned to tolerate extremism as the price of progress, so long as its impact somehow comported with our grander vision of a perfect society. Sadly, too many of us have been left behind and forgotten in this rush toward the horizon.
As Americans, we place a high value on progress, forward movement, clear direction, meaningful achievement, and ultimate success. We are not an exceptionally thoughtful or profoundly introspective people. Rather, we richly reward innovation and evolution, competition and advancement. We have become accustomed to expect the exceptional of our society and ourselves. Often, in our efforts to satisfy this thirst for progress, we have turned away from each other and sacrificed the deep interpersonal connections that were a cornerstone of our early efforts at democracy. In essence, we have distanced ourselves from our fellow citizens as we have pushed the evolution of our society beyond even our own expectations. As we enter the new millennium, we have become fundamentally disconnected from each other, and this separatism has spawned new and ominous challenges to the health of our nation.
Despite our vastly powerful economic climate and information exchange capabilities, we have lost much of our ability to work together toward a common goal. Even worse, we have become tolerant and passively accepting of activities that threaten the essential fabric of our society because we have proven ourselves too willing to sacrifice the one for the many. We have pushed the evolutionary process of our society beyond its natural limits and, as a consequence, we have accrued both unexpected benefits and unforeseen challenges that have impacted our citizens in unanticipated and sometimes harmful ways.
One of the darkest byproducts of our fascination with progress and its resultant depersonalization of American society is the subject of this book—the Millennium Murderer. In the past two decades, he has risen unannounced and, until recently, has remained largely unrecognized. However, this criminal has now taken his place as the most vicious internal threat that our society has faced in the last years of the twentieth century. The Millennium Murderer, whose numbers are growing and whose horrific crimes are largely directed at victims unknown to him, has taken our nation by siege and threatens to redefine our understanding of this most violent of crimes. More troubling, this murderer thrives in America and benefits by our unwillingness to recognize his presence or the potentially disastrous impact he may have on future generations.
In recent years, many Americans have become somewhat familiar with the gruesome exploits of American serial killers, mass murderers, and most recently, young schoolyard killers who target strangers as their victims of choice. Ironically, the crimes of the Millennium Murderer have already become a foundation piece for large and profitable segments of our entertainment industry. However, the frightening exploits of this new breed of killer have not been recognized for what they represent—a deeply troubling shift in what it means to take the life of another in our society. In effect, the crime of murder has been redefined in the waning years of the twentieth century. Today, this most vicious of crimes is often committed by a fearsome and as yet unacknowledged perpetrator, who has quietly made significant inroads into our national experience.
Over the past few decades, we have experienced relentless and often unanticipated waves of evolution that have impacted our society on a broad front and our lives at a deeply personal level. This is the price of progress in America. However, in the case of the Millennium Murderer, we have inadvertently managed to create a new kind of monster in our midst, and he has now turned his wrath against his creator. Now is the time to recognize him for the real threat that he presents to our national health. Now is the time to come to an understanding of what his horrific actions mean to each of us, and to the next generation.
Who is the Millennium Murderer and why does he so often attack strangers with such profound vehemence and vicious determination? Why, in the last few years of the twentieth century, has he suddenly made his appearance, and what does this mean to each of us? Why is it that our country continues to spawn new and horrific criminals who turn upon our society with such unspeakable brutality? Most importantly, why does the strongest, most progressive nation on this planet continue to be victimized from within by its own population, and what can we do about it?
This is the story of the Millennium Murderer—a profile of America’s most recent and perhaps greatest threat to our future. Its final chapter has yet to be written, and its authors are us.