31 March 2011
Charles Starkweather: America’s First Teenage Spree Killer
As the calm, smooth, nineteen-year-old rebel, Charles Raymond Starkweather, drove his battered down, 1941 Ford through the streets of Nebraska, he never imagined that the decision he was about to take would begin to classify him as America’s worst nightmare from 1957 to 1959. When the young CharlesStarkweather took the decision of going on a killing spree, it influenced his life forever, as it brought immense consequences, and marked him in history as America’s first teenage spree killer.
As he drove with one hand on the wheel, and the other holding a Camel cigarette; he thought about his past life up until that moment. He was born on November 24, 1938 in Lincoln, Nebraska. He knew thathis father, Guy Starkweather, was a good and hardworking man. Born on 1910, he was a carpenter and a general-purpose handyman. When he thought about his mother, Helen Starkweather, he would think of that small, frizzy red-haired woman that always had the strength to keep their family of nine people together, especially in their difficult conditions. (Wishart 462) Then, Starkweather thought aboutthe living conditions in his family. Although they were poor and sparsely educated, he knew that his family was extremely strong and diligent. He and his siblings never went without food or shelter; also he never experienced any type of deprivation or abuse. Charles Starkweather had a huge grin on his face as he realized that; indeed, his early childhood was pleasant, filled with happymemories of his family. Suddenly, he abruptly stopped his car on the middle of the road; he was full of extreme hatred and anger as he thought of his brutal and horrifying school experiences. Just to think that he was bullied and abused by children of his age due to his speech impediment and bowed legs filled him with frustration. He also knew that school was not for him, since he was a slow leaner,and not to mention, suffered of severe myopia. Eventually, he relaxed, breathed deeply in and out, turned on his car, and kept driving. As he thought about his school years and the name Bob Von Busch appeared on his mind, he was grateful, since he was his best and only friend since the ninth grade; also he was the only person that truly understood him. Their obsession with the most famous actorof the time, James Dean, was one of the most important aspects of their lives. They had seen all his movies, including Rebel Without a Cause, and tried to imitate all of his mannerisms, clothes, and hairstyles; even his tight jeans and cowboy boots. He knew that he was a teenage rebel, self-made in the mold of his movie-idol, James Dean. But, he also knew that as his life progressed and movedforward, he continued to experience a great amount of disillusion and self-esteem downfalls. As a school drop-out at the young age of sixteen, he found a truly horrible job at the Western Newspaper Union Warehouse, and was kicked-out of his home after causing a car accident. Charles needed to start thinking of a way to escape from all his problems and frustrations, and somehow find a way toprogress in life.
It was midnight; Charles Starkweather went past a near beer joint, where he had just stopped to get some liquid courage for what he was about to do. Yet, he couldn’t help but smile with joy as he thought about the love of his life: Caril Ann Fugate. When he met her at the age of fourteen, it was love at first sight for him. She had a stepfather called Marion Bartlett, and amother called Velda Bartlett; unfortunately her parents never actually approved of him. She also had a half sister of two and a half years old called Betty Bartlett. Starkweather thought of his pretty girl, with dark brown hair and a ready smile. Not to mention that, similar to Charles, she too had a wide streak of rebellion and a mercurial temper. She was also a slow learner, having failed a...