Originally Posted by QuantumIguana
Dahmer didn't kill women, he was convicted of murdering 17 men and boys. He wasn't executed either, he was sentenced to life in prison, where he was murdered. In any case, I'm skpetical of the capacity for self-assessment of someone as maladjusted as a Dahmer.
Accept my apologies, I made a mistake. (This is the second time recently I have confused these two men, but both predate me and their details remain a bit jumbled for me.)
The man I was thinking of was Ted Bundy. I saw some clips once of an interview he gave to James Dobson--a less-than-reliable "Christian psychologist." But in reviewing his article on Wikipedia, it appears that most people consider Bundy's claims in this interview to be generally false and another attempt at blame-shifting. So, I retract that.
Regardless of my error on that anecdote, I still hold that people are affected by what they consume. I'm not even saying that what they consume is to blame--people are to blame for what they do. I'm just saying that people are affected by what they view, listen to, read, etc.
Some simple examples: the affect that Uncle Tom's Cabin
had on the debate over slavery. The burden for protecting written literature that Farenheit 451
seems to inspire in many. The impact of Dickens' books on the reform of England's social programs. And so on and so forth.
Just limiting it to books here, something that we love about literature is that it actually can impact people. Hopefully for the better. But if for the better, can't it also impact them for the worse? If a book can incline us to care about people, can't a book also incline us to dehumanize people?
I think a concern is that if someone soaks themselves in books that glorify men/women who treat other men/women as sexual objects who exist only for the protagonist's sexual satisfaction, that reader may be inclined to begin thinking of other people as objects to be used for their own sexual satisfaction. Or if someone soaks in books that glorify abuse of children, they may be inclined to consider such abuse a good thing.
The books aren't to blame--the people who hurt others are to blame--but it's important to consider how what we consume affects us. I frequently ask myself as I read, "Does this help me love my family more? Does this help me be a better citizen? Does this help me understand my neighbor better?" Etc.