The Monster within Jeffrey Dahmer (SPOILERS)

If you are squeamish, this article (and the Netflix series) are definitely not for you.

We’ve all heard of different serial killers and the things they did. Jeffrey Dahmer is one that forever chills us and makes us think how exactly sick a person could really be. If you have yet to learn about him, you’re about to.

Netflix has produced a popular series about Dahmer, who was a serial killer during 1978-1991. He would drug his victims, which were men–specifically black men, and would then drill a hole in their heads to make them “zombies.” It never worked, and they ended up dying. He would also sexually assault them AFTER they were dead, and then eat them. He even had a vault of acid he would put some of the bodies in, in order for the flesh and tissue to decompose off the bones.

What would make a person like this? What happened in their past to cause this behavior? There are a bunch of possibilities that could be true. Where did Dahmer start his obsession with organs? Dahmer and his dad would dissect animals, and that is when it clicked for Dahmer that he liked it. He even took a frog home from his science class to dissect it on his own time. As you can guess, Dahmer didn’t have many friends. When Dahmer had the family house to himself, he ended up inviting a hitchhiker over and tried to make a sexual advance toward him. When the person resisted and refused to do anything, Dahmer got mad and accidently killed him. That was his first kill. He didn’t do it for a while after that. But if forever changed him.

The Blue and White, had a chance to interview some students to see what they think of Jeffrey Dahmer and the Netflix series dedicated to his horrific acts. Shania White, a freshman, says, “Jeffrey was messed up from the beginning, and it’s always how your childhood goes that makes up the rest of your life. So for him to play with dead animals’ organs as a little kid, I’d say that would mess up someone pretty good.” Others we interviewed also believe this, though some stated that just dissecting animals can’t trigger a serial killer. “It’s other factors like how he felt when he saw the organs,” says Brooklyn Scott, a senior at Apopka. In the documentary we later find out that Dahmer was actually sexually attracted to the organs and how shiny they were.

We can’t write an article about Dahmer without mentioning the infamous Tony. Tony was a deaf, black man who Dahmer killed. Dahmer seemed to have abandonment issues because his mother left him on his own when he was a teenager. He seemed to feel a real connection with Tony, and was actually going to keep him around. Tony was teaching him sign language, and (as the series depicts) they would laugh at the smallest things. However, they never had a sexual relationship. One day, Tony needed to leave to go to work and get more of his belongings to bring to Dahmer’s house. As viewers, we thought that Tony was going to get out, and he did…or so we thought. He ended up coming back because he left his keys, and when he did, Dahmer killed him. Apparently, Dahmer thought Tony was never coming back. Shania says, “I just feel so bad for Tony’s family; they had such high hopes for him and his dreams. Tony didn’t deserve what happened to him; none of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims did, but especially not Tony. I mean he was deaf for crying out loud!”

A critical individual in the Dahmer story is the neighbor who lived by him while he was killing the men. Glenda Cleveland constantly called the police and complained to her landlord about the smell coming from Dahmer’s apartment. Dahmer always just said he had some “meat go bad.” Eventually, she started making calls to the police because she would hear muffled screaming or banging, and the notorious drill Dahmer used on his victims. The police never really investigated; that’s exactly why Dahmer was able to kill for as long as he did. She soon ran into one of his victims trying to escape and got the police involved. When the police arrived, they were noticeably uncomfortable because Dahmer was gay and so was the victim, or that’s what Dahmer claimed.

How Netflix's Jeffrey Dahmer series is landing with the Milwaukee communities he hurt most.

When they allowed Dhamer to take the boy back up to the apartment, they asked to take a “look” around. They didn’t actually take a good look, because Dahmer had told them they might find “gay” stuff around. They ended up leaving the boy in Dahmer’s possession, even though the boy was bleeding from his head from where Dahmer had drilled, attempting to turn him into a “zombie.” That’s why the boy couldn’t really explain the situation for himself. Of course, Glenda was furious about this because they just gave a 14 year old boy back to a grown man. Brooklyn says, “It was disgusting how the police acted, and it only ended up costing more pain to everyone. If they had just taken one extra step into that apartment, they would’ve seen so much more. The neighbor [Glenda] did everything she could; it was just the justice system being corrupt and not caring as much as they should. I think there was nothing else for her to do. If she had gone any further, she may have been killed herself.” 

According to the series, Dahmer, in an attempt to get back at Glenda for trying to rat him out, offered her a sandwich. Not just any sandwich, but a sandwich with the meat of one of his victims. She refused, of course, and instantly became more uncomfortable and afraid of Dahmer. Brooklyn expressed how she felt about that by saying, “I wouldn’t even have let him into my house, let alone give me a sandwich. Especially out of that nasty smelling apartment. She definitely did the right thing. If she had eaten that sandwich, she would have been even more traumatized then she already was after everything.”

Dhamer did end up getting caught and sent to jail. In jail, he was killed by another inmate. Supposedly, a guard had left him unsupervised on purpose to allow him to kill Dahmer. Scientists wanted to look at Dahmer’s brain to evaluate if it was any different and to see what might have been the trigger of his actions, but his father refused because he wanted to respect Dahmer’s wish of being cremated. However, Dahmer’s mom wanted them to look at the brain. They ended up going to court, and the court ruled in favor of the father.

Jeffrey Dahmer committed atrocities, and his victims’ families are forever scarred. Some people believe that the Netflix series gives us an important look into the mind of a killer. Others believe that the series glorifies his crimes and reopens old wounds. Regardless of which side of the argument you support, Dahmer’s infamy continues to generate both interest and disgust.