Conservative closet-case killer as arbiter of "family values"

One of the Shakers commented earlier today on the vileness of the phrase "family values," which reminded me of a show I watched last night on A&E, The Secret Life of a Serial Killer--one of their ubiquitous crime/investigation programs, gravely narrated by Bill Kurtis. Although I'm generally fascinated by these kinds of shows, I had a particular interest in this one, as it was about a case in Indiana during the mid-90s that didn't get a lot of media attention because the victims were gay men. (And what attention it did get in the major press was pretty infuriating, as the victims were described as "living on the margins of society" and all sorts of nonsense; the Indy gay press did a much better job with it.)

Anyhow, the killer was this total freak called Herb Baumeister, who fled to Canada and offed himself before he could be arrested. There were a lot of weird things going on with this guy, but on the surface, he was "normal"--he had a wife and three kids, owned a chain of stores, supported charities, went to church, etc.

His wife was interviewed for the program, and a couple of things struck me. In spite of her husband having been revealed as a closet homosexual and serial killer, she was still, disturbingly, waxing rhapsodic about the wonder days of yore when they met in college and fell in love. She spoke at length about how, during that time (the late 60s), everyone on campus just laid around doing drugs and talking about stuff, but she and Herb were Young Republicans, although "in those days, you didn’t come out as a Republican." And she also went on about how they weren't one of those couples who goes on romantic getaways and ignores their kids--they had "family love."



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