Ted Bundy. I wasn’t even alive at the time of his death in 1989, yet alone at the time of his brutal murders. Ted Bundy is a faraway name. He’s become such an enigma in American society. TO me, he doesn’t feel real.
But he was.
There’s something scary about being a 19-year-old college student with dark brown hair today. Watching documentaries about Ted, watching how he hunted his victims, all who looked, to some extent, like me; that’s something that still haunts me today.
There’s a certain guilt about being alive today when 36 young women, probably more, are not. I sometimes sit awake at night and wonder about what separates me from them. Truthfully, and it’s hard for me to admit, the only thing that saved me was time. I wasn’t born until 1999, a full 10 years after Bundy was already dead. We weren’t living in the same world at the same time.
It’s hard for me to think about myself in the 70s, but it’s a place I find my mind wandering too often. I wonder what my life would be like. I wonder how it must feel to have to always look over my shoulder. I wonder how life would’ve been for my parents if I was killed. I wonder about the guilt they would carry, how they would go on.
Those are the things I wonder about now.
I don’t wonder about him. I don’t wonder about what he would be like if he was still alive. I don’t wonder about all the girls he took away from their families. I don’t wonder about it at all. In part because it’s too painful, but also because I have to detach from it. I have to realize deep in my heart that no one was responsible for Ted Bundy’s actions besides Ted Bundy. If we continue to allow it, we will never truly break free from his grip.
I would give anything in the world to not know Ted’s name. I would give anything in the world to not be able to recognize his eyes in a crowd. I would give anything to not have to know true evil at such a young age.
I may not be a part of his web of lies, deceit, and heartache, but I was a part of his story. I think we all were, in a way. We aren’t immune to him now that he’s gone. I don’t think we ever were.
I don’t think, truthfully, that we will ever be safe again.