Death penalty cases usually don't particularly get to me, or at least don't get to me more than one might naturally expect as a result of the the often-gruesome nature of the crime. But this one did.
Maybe it's because many of the deaths were here in San Diego (even though I hadn't heard of them before, since they were back in 1984), and, as a result, I recognized many places and street names. Which made the disturbing events much more real for me. Or maybe it's because of the nature and extent of the crimes: eight rapes and murders of in the span of three short weeks: a spree that you can't help but think must be the product of a total psychopath. Or maybe it's because many of the victims were young women who were raped or murdered in a setting that I know strikes fear in the hearts of many of our female students; by befriending -- or simply not being mean to -- a seemingly strangely interested suitor.
The fact that the existence of even one person like this -- and, of course, there are in fact many more -- drastically changes the lives and freedom of every young woman, who often have to live in rational, continuing fear for their potential safety, is incredibly depressing.
Which is all just to say that this one struck home for me in a way that few other criminal cases do.