By Autumn Massie (Michigan)
Have you ever heard of Aileen Wuornos? If you haven’t, she was a serial killer that murdered 7 men at point-blank range between 1989 and 1990, as a hitchhiking hooker. She claimed it was in self-defense during her first trial, but as her death penalties kept multiplying, she changed her story. In her first trial, while she was being questioned, she described in detail how she was brutally raped and had to defend herself to stay alive. After she had received many death sentences she gave up on trying to save herself from the ultimate execution and told her interviewers, she made the stories up and killed them for their money. A few months before her execution, she thought her interviewer wasn’t recording, but he was. She admitted that she did in fact kill the 7 men in self-defense. Besides the point, she was still giving lethal injection in 2002.
Is it okay to kill someone if it is self-defense? I believe that it is. If you are about to be killed or harmed or even raped and you have some way to protect yourself, even if that way is harming the other person, do it. Some might say, “If you are getting harmed, you don’t have to kill the other person, you could just punch them or something.” Others might believe that either way she killed someone, whether it was self-defense or not, she belongs in jail. People who think like that have most likely never been in a situation where someone is trying to kill or rape you. Your brain goes into its flight or fight response. You can either try to run away from the problem or if that isn’t an option, you have to fight for your life and I believe that was what Aileen did.
Practically her whole life, Aileen went through psychological trauma, which may have caused her to change her story and say the murders were not in self-defense. Her mother had left her when she was born and her father killed himself while he was in jail for kidnapping. She lived with her abusive grandfather, until she was 13 and had a baby with the town pedophile and lived in the woods with a friend. She had given the child up for adoption. At 16 she became a hitchhiking hooker and moved to Florida, and started carrying a gun for safety until one day she needed it. Some say that nearing her execution in 2002, she became insane. In the documentary, the day before her execution she discusses that she believes the jail officers and cops were out to get her. “Like I said remember to let them know that I know that the cops knew who I was after Richard Mallory died. I left prints everywhere and they covered it up and let me kill the rest of those guys to turn me into a serial killer.” Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer. All of these factors could have led to her changing her story many times or for her to become mentally ill towards the end of her life.
Her mother had a theory that Aileen had always been mentally ill and she took out her illness in killing the men. Aileen was born in a frank breech position, where the behind of a baby’s comes out of the birth canal first and can hurt the baby’s head or damage their brain. It is a very dangerous position for both the mother and child. Another interesting thing that happened before her lethal injection was that the state of Florida wanted her to have a mental exam before she was killed. She passed it within 15 minutes, but in all of the videos in the documentary anyone could tell her mental health was deteriorating at a rapid speed and she was becoming more and more paranoid of the people in charge of the jail she resided at. “They had the intercom on in the room and they kept lying that it wasn’t on and they were using sonic pressure on my head since 1997.” Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer.
Whether she killed them in self-defense or not, no one may ever know. If someone were to kill in self-defense, I don’t think they should be charged with a crime, because they were only trying to protect themselves. Put yourself in her situation, what would you do?