Beating the Zodiac Killer 1

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					In the late 1960's the Zodiac crept forth from the darkness and began
killing people all over Northern California. Every time the police
thought they had a pattern, he would change tactics taunting the San
Francisco Police department the whole time through coded letters.
His name was mysterious and he claimed to be
killing so he would have slaves in the next life.The region was in a
state of fear, as Zodiac
seemed to murder at will and threaten to place
bombs and kill schoolchildren. As suddenly as he
appeared, he disappeared only leaving a few
letters, and a list of possible suspects. While
the debate still rages who the Zodiac is there
are lessons to be learned not just for police
officers, but for the average citizen. With the
right training, the victims of these brutal
slayings could have overtaken this killer an
survived. By examining each attack, future
attacks can be prevented whether it is dealing
with a serial killer or common thug.The terror began on December 20 1968
as the
Zodiac appeared from the night and gunned down,
David Arthur Faraday, 17, and Betty Lou Jensen,
16, as they sat in Faraday's brown Rambler around
11:10pm that night. The Zodiac took full
advantage of the couple who were on the secluded
lover's lane. The Zodiac drove up next to the
couple exited and began firing his .22 caliber
weapon (it is still unknown if it was pistol or
rifle) into the car. The couple was killed while trying to run.
In a matter of minutes the whole attack was over,
and although a local resident called the police,
Zodiac disappeared into the night.Another couple that was in the same
area that
night had a near miss with Zodiac earlier that
evening. They felt threatened as the Zodiac
stalked them from his car and quickly left the
area. The Zodiac chased them but soon gave up and
returned to the lover's lane to look for an
easier victim. The next Zodiac killing would come
six months later, shortly after 12:00 a.m. on
Saturday, July 5, 1969, Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin,
22, and Michael Renault Mageau, 19, were shot
while sitting in Ferin's car on a date. As
before, the couple was caught off guard and only
by luck did Mageau survive to give a description
of the Zodiac.On September 27 1969, the Zodiac attacked Bryan
Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard who were picnicking
on the shores of Lake Berryessa in Twin Oak Ridge
State park. The Zodiac had already taken credit
for the previous killings by calling the police
and sending his now famous letters containing
cryptograms. People had become so terrified of
the Zodiac three area papers gave the killer the
front page rather then risk his wrath. Perhaps
the Zodiac was feeling the police pressure,
because for the Lake Berryessa attack he dawned a
executioner's hood that displayed his symbol.Once the Zodiac was close to
them, he demanded
money and the car keys. The couple corroborated
and even let the Zodiac tie them up. But the
Zodiac had no intention of leaving them alive. He
stabbed both victims and
believed they were both dead, then left and
called the police to claim credit for the attack.
Hartnell survived the attack and gave his
description of the hooded attacker to the police
adding another strange detail to the case.The next series of killings
broke the profile when
the Zodiac attacked single women and even
killed a cab driver to prove he could strike
anywhere. In each case involving single women, he
did damage to their cars and then appeared with
an offer of help and lured the women away. Only
one woman escaped with her young daughter by
jumping out of the killer's car. Another woman
was not so fortunate and died at the hands of the Zodiac. There were
seven confirmed murders in all
with many police officers suspecting others
and the Zodiac claiming as many as
thirty-seven murders.Looking at the Zodiac case enforces what we
already know. Killers and thieves look for
situations where they have the advantage. They
strike when people are at their most vulnerable.
If the Zodiac could not find a situation, he
created one.However, most of these situations could have been
thwarted if people had just followed some common
sense. Nobody, man or woman, should go off with
someone they don't know. Or assume that a
criminal or terrorist will keep their word not to
harm anyone.Real self-defense is more than knowing how to
physically react when attacked. It also has to do
with preemptive preparation to make sure that the
attack does not happen in the first place. It
really is as simple as being careful about where
you travel, staying in well lit areas, and
training in self-defense.Listen, in the Zodiac case the victims were not
to blame, but simple actions and baseline
self-defense training would have made a dramatic

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