Tuesday, December 1, 2020

My Washington Times 'On Crime' Column On Legendary FBI Profiler John Douglas And His Book "The Killer's Shadow'

The Washington Times ran my On Crime column on legendary FBI profiler John Douglas and his book The Killer’s Shadow. 

Retired FBI agent and legendary criminal profiler John Douglas has once again written a book that recounts his time profiling, analyzing and hunting violent serial killers. 

This book, “The Killer’s Shadow: The FBI’s Hunt for a White Supremacist Serial Killer,” covers one murderer that stands out from the many killers that John Douglas encountered during his FBI career in the Behavioral Science Unit. 

John Douglas, a pioneer in criminal profiling, assisted police in the hunt for some of the most notorious criminals of our time. He has interviewed and studied dozens of serial killers, such as Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, Richard Speck, John Wayne Gacy, “Son of Sam” David Berkowitz and James Earl Ray. His studies help us understand their motives and methods. 

John Douglas was the model for the FBI agent Jack Crawford character in “The Silence of the Lambs,” the FBI agent Holden Ford character in Netflix’s “Mindhunters” series, and other films and TV series about serial killers and criminal profilers. 

In “The Killer’s Shadow,” John Douglas writes about how he used profiling, psychology and proactive investigative techniques to help capture Joseph Paul Franklin. John Douglas and his co-author, Mark Olshaker, recount Mr. Douglas’ profile of Franklin and how he helped the investigators hunting Franklin. 

Joseph Paul Franklin was a White nationalist serial killer and a violent psychopath who murdered his way across the country during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The avowed racist was an expert marksman and sniper who targeted interracial couples, Blacks and Jews. He was also an arsonist and bomber. Franklin also claimed to have shot and paralyzed Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt and seriously wounded civil rights leader Vernon Jordan. 

Franklin was a loner who joined and then left the Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan as he thought they were too tame and populated by drunks, do-nothings and braggarts. He also suspected the groups were infiltrated heavily by the FBI. Franklin instead struck it alone, robbing banks across the country to support his murder spree. 

... I reached out to John Douglas and asked him about Franklin. Mr. Douglas said that Franklin’s motivation was pure racial hatred. 

“We saw issues, problems and abuse. Franklin’s mother abused him, and his father really abused him. He was not allowed to socialize. He dropped out of school, started looking at Aryan Nation Brotherhood and Klu Klux Clan pamphlets,” Mr. Douglas explained. “He had this hatred towards interracial couples, Jews, and Blacks and his goal was to create a race war. He hoped others would follow in his footsteps”. 

You can read the rest of the column below or via the below link:


Note: My long-form Q&A with John Douglas (seen in the above photo)will appear soon in Counterterrorism magazine. I’ll post the interview when the magazine comes out. 

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