“For Ted has gone through life terribly crippled, like a man who is deaf, or blind, or paralyzed. Ted has no conscience. “Conscience doth make cowards of us all,” but conscience is what gives us our humanity, the factor that separates us from animals. It allows us to love, to feel another’s pain, and to grow”. – Ann Rule, Author of The Stranger Beside Me.
I watched the Ted Bundy Tapes on Netflix before reading this book, and I don’t consider myself one of his crazy fan girls that would have gone to his trials. I am mostly just fascinated how a human being could have zero remorse, or any feelings whatsoever relating to all the innocent lives he took.
Aside from this book being about Ann Rule’s friendship with Theodore Robert Bundy, it’s safe to say it has a lot of other important themes too. For example, the ability of trust and the importance of it, and how easily we as humans can be blindsided because of it. Not only in relationships with people, but trust of a complete stranger. Additionally, she talks a lot about forgiveness and loyalty, especially through Ted’s point of view. And towards the end she discusses the death penalty (capital punishment), and how that was an important political issue during his trial in Florida.
She starts with a little bit of history about Ted’s childhood, adolescence, and his mother’s predicament, in that she had to give birth to Ted in a house for unmarried women (something along those lines). His mother had to move away and pretend that Ted was her little brother, thanks to the judgmental society of the 1940’s. Anyway, he was considered an outsider, and not one of the ‘popular’ kids. As an adult he soon made up for what he lacked as an adolescent, and became handsome and charming. He made friends easily and was actually a good listener and provided comfort, based on how Ann Rule described him. The point is, he became trustworthy, and I think he used this trait to his advantage, obviously! He had friends and family who trusted him, and he was easily trusted by strangers, to no fault of their own.
He also convinced his friends and lovers into somehow always forgiving him and made sure they stayed loyal to him despite his antics. He did not have remorse for what he did, yet he was afraid of losing those close to him. Just don’t kill people! I don’t understand! Okay, maybe he was crippled with the fact that he didn’t have a conscience, but still, c’mon Ted! If he would have used his trustworthiness and loyalty traits and actually talked to someone about his ‘dark’ side, he could have gotten help! (These are things I’d say to him if he was in front of me, I hope he doesn’t haunt me!)
And I’m going to be completely honest, he got what was coming to him. I remember doing a debate in my AP Government class in high school about Capital Punishment. I can’t remember what my view was in high school, but I for sure would have been all for it had it been MY sister, or MY daughter, or MY friend, or MY mother, etc that was a victim of Ted Bundy. If you take the lives of others that had a bright future ahead of them, someone who was someone else’s family or friend, and you have zero remorse, then GOODBYE FOREVER! I don’t care if you’re emotionally or psychologically crippled. He could have gotten help early on, but decided to go on a different path, like Judge Cowart told him at the end. I understand his mom’s plea during one of his court room sessions, but still, your son took away other parents’ beloved children, I’m really sorry Louise Bundy, Ted had to be punished for his terrible crimes! Clearly I’m not Christian enough to forgive a person like him.
I don’t know what I would do if I had someone I knew that was close to me and ended up in this type of situation. Ann Rule has a really big heart. She did her best to be his friend until nearly the end, and this mother fucker had the audacity to ask her for money for another ‘real classy lady’ named Carol Boone, his wife. Ted, you lost your freedom because of YOU, stop crying about it and blaming others! Again, things I wish I could tell him.
Overall, I learned to seriously pepper spray a mother fucker first, and apologize later! And also, fuck politeness! Thanks Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff for always reminding your listeners about this.
There’s more I want to say about this book. But I think I’d probably start to ramble. Even after so many years, Ann Rule never forgot about Ted. He was basically the main reason her career took off, which conflicted her in many ways. She sacrificed a lot of her time to aid the the future of criminal profiling.
I definitely recommend this book if you’re a true crime buff. And I recommend the Ted Bundy Tapes Netflix documentary as well!
What would you have done if Ted Bundy had been one of your ‘friends’?!