Why My Theory About Kratz Is Not As Absurd As You Think
There is a sort of pleasure in doing all this trying to figure out what happened to Teresa Halbach, and who murdered her. I don’t know. Murder is a prominent human preoccupation. There is something which causes an ape to fear a snake. It is proven that they become hysterical when one gets close even if they’ve never seen one before, and a lot of people are like this too because we’re also apes.. Wiring. It’s buried in the ape brain somewhere as it is in ours just like they also have a deep seated fear of other apes, and the ape mind, our mind, is always scrutinizing other apes for potential signs of impending violence. However cosseted we may be in the modern world, nature is a fundamentally violent place. Our interest in murder squares us to this even if if usually comes into our lives in the form of a highly stylized representation such as a play, or a movie, or video game.
Maybe it is that the appeal rests in having the need to have this complex harnessing stimulated now and then in a sanitized environment. Maybe this is why we spend so much time watching re enactments of homicide and the circumstances attending and leading up to it. This way, you get to experience some small piece of its terror while still remaining mostly safe. It’s a little like getting to experience what it would be like to be dead without actually having to die. Who wouldn’t want to do that?
Maybe you have your own theory if you’ve thought about it. Have you ever thought about it, by the way? Do you even recognize yourself as having an interest in the topic? Or do you take it for granted by now? You could be forgiven if you do since our society is saturated in this obsession. And then there is this observation of Sigmund Freud to consider:
Life is impoverished, it loses in interest, when the highest stake in the game of living, life itself, may not be risked. It becomes as shallow and empty as, let us say, an American flirtation.
I don’t know how many American flirtations Freud had, but I can attest they’re not always so shallow and empty. But he does nevertheless make a point. Death is the spice of life in a way.
But it’s rich, and it’s vast, and there’s something there for everyone. For me it’s about the mind of the villain, the man or woman who has obscured his or her true identity behind a meticulously constructed facade. It’s always fascinating to see the mask pryed off or to just consider why it’s there in the first place..
The mask is not just the stock prop of dramaturgy, let’s say, or literary treatment. It’s a very real thing used by very real killers, and in ways that are no more subtle than the mask worn by Jason in Friday The 13th.
Consider John Wayne Gacy, the famous American serial killer who preyed upon young children. This man wore the literal mask of a clown and was known around the neighborhood as a harmless buffoon, a jolly, kid-loving parental figure who could be reliably called upon to show up at the birthday parties of kids in the neighborhood to perform tricks, and blow balloons, and, well, clown around. It wasn’t just that it happened that he liked being a clown AND a murderer of children. One identity was constructed for the furtherance of the wicked objectives lurking behind the truer identity. When it comes to evil, I would argue that it is the construction of, and donning such a mask which ups the ante. For one thing, it usually indicates that an organized mind is at work, and it lays the groundwork not for a single episode of evil, or, at best a handful, but an entire premeditated career spanning decades.
Ted Bundy, to cite another familiar example also well knew how to make and wear a mask. On the surface he was an intelligent, charming, articulate, well-scrubbed, boy-next-door type who had put his ambitions toward earning a law degree. If there is a form in our mind’s eye that is the kind of monster capable of the unspeakable atrocities Ted Bundy took part in, Bundy took care to recognize that, and to appear to be the exact opposite of that so he didn’t attract attention unnecessarily.
Over at Reddit, the place where all matters related to Steven AVery, Kathleen Zellner, and the merits of Making A Murderer, or the lack thereof can be hashed out, there are two main camps: The one which believes in Steven Avery’s innocence, and the one which does not. I’ve hung out mostly in the innocence camp. But today, I decided to venture over to the other camp, called the Guilters, to have a look around.
I was inspired by Shaun Attwood who had been there the day before. Shaun is a supporter of Avery’s innocence like myself, and I’d heard he did an AMA, (Reddit parlance for Ask Me Anything) in Guilter territory. I probably don’t need to explain to most people reading this, but for those who might not know, an AMA is an opportunity for figures who are notable for some reason to answer the questions of anyone on the internet who shows up to ask them.
Shaun is somewhat notable in this particular sphere for several reasons. He’s respected as a good writer and has more than a passing familiarity with criminal justice in the United States having served a term of several years in an Arizona prison for dealing fairly large quantities of drugs. He was into the party/raver scene in the 90s. He wrote a book about this experience which is actually really good and goes into vivid descriptions of what life is like in the jail of “America’s Toughest Sheriff”, Joe Arpaio. Shaun has been following the Avery case since nearly the beginning, and has stated his concern for criminal justice reform. He staged a protest against the wrongful imprisonment of Brendan Dassey in July or August 2016 dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit in front of the American embassy in London. The AMA was about his book, or at least became about his book once it got underway.
I’d written off the Guilters as a bunch of angry shills and generally had been in the habit of ignoring them completely, but I had heard rumors that Shaun had withered before an onslaught of their questions during his AMA. The guilters were able to successfully challenge the veracity of many of the claims and facts in his book, and it seemed like he got bounced around a little as the Guilters took their turns.. Attwood isn’t a dummy, so I was a little shocked that he hadn’t acquitted himself better. Well, it turns out the Guilters were loaded for bear when Shaun showed up.
I read through a lot of it, and saw that the Guilters had really done their homework. Many had demonstrated a command of the facts, and a depth of understanding of the case that I found to be impressive. Most importantly, they were actually pretty civil.
Civility is important to me, especially on the internet because without it, a very rapid race to the bottom can ensue, and I never find this productive. Feeling somewhat encouraged by what I’d seen by the way they handled Shaun, I decided to ask a question on their forum to see where it might lead. My question was this: Whys Is Ryan Hillegas Not A Viable Suspect for SAIG? And to clarify, SAIG is the not so subtle name of the group and stands for Steven Avery Is Guilty.
There were a lot of questions they had, and I spent the afternoon responding as quickly as I was able to. It was a good exchange and went a lot smoother than I had expected. We even kept it pretty civil so I was grateful for that. There were a few jabs, here and there, but nothing too annoying or offensive.
All was going well until I was asked by one of them who I thought planted the blood evidence in the RAV4. That is what effectively ended the conversation because my view, that it was Ken Kratz, was something they all found to be completely preposterous and so they made no scruple of saying so (albeit while still maintaining a basic level of decorum).
I told them I understood, not that I necessarily thought that any were too worried about offending me by dismissing a key plank in my evolving view of the case. I tried to convey that it was something that I don’t think went over very well over at Tick Tock Manitowoc among my coreligionists in the temple of Truthers where it is held that Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are innocent. Though it is commonly believed that that evidence was planted, I’ve never heard the theory that it was Ken Kratz who was directly involved.
So, for those on either side willing to hear me out, I would like to explain why it is not as far fetched as it might seem, and I would like to begin by taking a deep dive into what we all must acknowledge to be true about the character of Ken Kratz..
Ken Kratz has passed that critical threshold of evil by creating two distinct identities, and the masks that correspond to each. It is really this which I find most disturbing about him, and why I think he’s capable of deeds far more wicked than is commonly supposed even though, as it stands, people sense that he exudes evil.
Now, I should make it very clear from the outset that I do not think Ken Kratz is a murderer. I do not think that he harmed Teresa Halbach or anyone else, necessarily, in any way.
But I do think he is very manipulative, very intelligent, and therefore very dangerous. People who study predators know that they are always looking for weaknesses, ways they can carry out their deeds among a vulnerable population outside the glare of scrutiny. It helps if they are able to take on the outward appearance of a figure to whom an individual in society would readily offer trust: a coach, doctor, priest, have all been used to great success in the past by sexual predators.
Kratz achieved this in the less common role, for a sexual predator, as a prosecutor, but he chose well because there are no laws in Wisconsin that prohibit a prosecutor from trading his office’s willingness to move forward with a case for a coerced sexual act. After the downfall of Kratz, there probably still aren’t any laws which address this although there should be Too bad politicians in so many places are trying to figure out ways to make life more difficult for the poor, or concerning themselves with bathroom door signage instead of this trying to figure out ways to prevent this sort of thing. I digress.
A distinction is called for here. There are men of low character who are willing to use leverage to get sex from women. The casting couch is the classic example, but an unethical casting director isn’t being paid by society to protect women who have become the objects of domestic abuse. Not getting a role for a part if one refuses such solicitations does not impinge upon one’s welfare and safety the same way that not receiving adequate and due recognition from a prosecutor when physical abuse has occurred and remedy is sought. One can be a major disappointment, but life goes on. But in the case of abuse, sometimes life does not go on.
Kratz made it clear to his victims that he would withhold the protection that his office had to offer if he did not receive the sexual gratification he sought. This means one important thing: despite his mask of concern, in reality he was callous to their welfare and safety. The victims who came to him for help were just vulnerable individuals who Kratz used to re-victimize.
IF it ended there it would be bad enough, but Kratz went one diabolical step further by involving himself in victim advocacy that he hoped would outwardly make him appear to be the ultimate protector of victims. In this role, he actually chaired Wisconsin’s Victims Rights Council, and in the United States, to be the lead chair in such a group gives you a very high-profile. The reason this is so is because crime victims have a lot of self-advocacy which that have been able to successfully roll up into political clout.
But for Kratz, his involvement in the Victim’s Rights Council was always a sham. In the minds of people who take on the responsibility of guarding the hen house in order to devour the chickens, the appeal derives secondarily from basic appetites, and primarily from the thrill of getting away with fooling people with their superior wyles. Is a man who has gone to the trouble of chairing the most prominent victim’s advocacy group in the entire state so he can enjoy exactly this kind of thrill, the very same kind of man who would derive a similar sort of pleasure by prosecuting a man who he had planted evidence to frame? If we cannot deny exactly what he did in the first instance, and we cannot, shouldn’t he arrive at the top of the suspect list in the second?
When the sexual misadventures of Ken Kratz finally did come out, and when he finally stood to face the consequences for his abuses of power, he made it a point to remind everyone of all that he had done for victims. It appears that he had deluded himself into thinking that his position in that group would extend the obfuscation which existed over the nature of his character.
When I tell people that I think it was Kratz who came up with the idea of planting evidence; that the evidence against Steven Avery was being held in Calumet County, and that Kratz had unrestricted access to the evidence room as the person in highest authority in the Calumet County’s DA office; when I try to carefully explain those things which I’ve explained here which cannot be denied, I am met with ridicule and disbelief. Even after all that has happened, Kratz is still wearing the mask, and people are still having trouble seeing through it. Sociopaths are charmers, and they’re secutive. There’s a reason they’re effective.
I do not have a video of Kratz planting evidence, obviously. I wish I did though, because if the truth is that he did plant, I don’t expect many people to believe that. It’s too far-fetched. The idea that there is an evil mastermind pulling the puppet strings also seems fantastical, so I know there is an uphill battle. But the evidence of Kratz’s character does exist, and it cannot be denied by anyone. To interpret the aftermath of what happened in Manitowoc County on October 31st, 2005 demands that we acknowledge who Kratz is, and what he is truly capable of.