Worst Father of the Year: Dan Turner or Lionel Dahmer?

Remember Jeffrey Dahmer?

Jeffrey Dahmer (right) and his father.  Jeffrey's father stood by him until the end.
Jeffrey Dahmer (right) and his father. Jeffrey's father stood by him until the end.

He's that guy that killed 17 people back in the 1980s. He's the guy that kept heads and penises in his fridge and made an altar out of the skeletons of his victims. He's the guy that kept acid vats in his bedroom so he'd have somewhere to put the leftover body parts, like arms and legs.

And when he wasn't posing his dead victims' bodies for bizarre polaroids, he was eating them. But not with a nice chianti.

As a parent, I really wouldn't want to know that my kid was drugging men at local bars for the purpose of tricking them back to his apartment. I wouldn't want to know that he had been drilling holes in young men's heads to lobotomize them. I wouldn't want to know he was eating people or storing cut off penises and heads in his fridge (gotta keep 'em fresh!). I'm not really sure how I would react to that news, although I'm about 99% sure my first reaction would be utter disbelief.

I mean, how do you wrap your head around the idea that your sweet baby boy is now a serial killer? How do you cope with the knowledge that, as a child, he was going off behind your back and killing animals in the woods? How do you deal with the knowledge that he murdered his first victim in your kitchen when you were out of town for the weekend?




I don't know that I would be able to believe it. At least not at first.

So ... Brock's in County ...

Brock Turner's booking photo.  Not so clean cut after all.
Brock Turner's booking photo. Not so clean cut after all. | Source

... and knowing what I do about county jail, this kid is gonna be just fine for the measly three months he has to serve. Let that sink in: Three Months.

A three month sentence for a kid that's old enough to be in the military; i.e., old enough to go kill people in Afghanistan or Iraq, but apparently Brock isn't mature enough to do hard time. At least, that's what his father wants you to believe.

Nope, the other guys in county aren't going to hurt him; they're just in there for DUIs or unpaid parking tickets. No one is going to risk being put away for the rest of their life for this piece of garbage.

Unless there's some guy in there about to serve a guaranteed life sentence because he committed his third strike, Brock is going to be safe, Safe, and SAFE during his time in county. Safe because he committed rape.

And let's be clear: The only reason Brock Turner didn't vaginally rape his victim with his penis is because he was too drunk to get it up. So, being a Stanford man, he did what any other intoxicated rapist would do in that situation. He raped her with his fingers and dry humped her in a pathetic attempt to commit a far more heinous crime than the one he was already committing. Yes, he dry humped her behind a dumpster in a vain attempt to get an erection.

So let's just go there: At least Jeffrey Dahmer didn't have performance issues, Brock.

You Thought We Were Victim Shaming

If Brock Turner proves anything, it's that any man is capable of raping a woman.

Regardless of how you define White Privilege, Brock Turner is the epitome of it. So white he can't be out in the sun. Skinny. Baby-faced. Freckles. And the swim team. At Stanford.

For all you men who are going to be prematurely offended: Stop before you start, because stats clearly confirm that there are a lot of men out there raping a lot of women. There are also a lot of men out there raping a lot of other men. Considering that we are living in the 21st century, there is a still a ridiculous amount of raping going on, and the vast majority are still being committed by men.

You all think that when we tell women to use common sense and not leave the house dressed like Tim Curry's character in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, it's because we think that if she gets raped, it means she deserved it? That she was Temptation incarnate, and he just couldn't help himself?

No. It's because we think that all men are capable of being low down dirty rapists. We think that any and all men could commit this heinous act under the right circumstances, and they could do it to anyone. Children. The elderly. Persons in a vegetative state.

Yeah, that's what we mean when we tell women to dress conservatively and not get wasted at frat parties.

Have you ever thought about why men get so offended by the idea that women look at most men like they're potential rapists? Or why fathers threaten bodily harm before that first date with their daughters? Men will gladly own up to the possibility of men - the possibility that they themselves - could turn into murderers or thieves in the heat of the moment ... but don't say they're capable of rape! Inexplicably, men will admit that, in a fit of rage, they would slit someone's throat or blast their face off with a handgun, but don't you dare say that in the heat of the moment - in a moment of unbridled sexual passion - that those same men would ever be capable of something as awful as rape.

Dan and Carleen Turner, father and mother of a rapist.  Apologists.  Bad Parents.
Dan and Carleen Turner, father and mother of a rapist. Apologists. Bad Parents.

Dan and Carleen Turner Don't Deserve to Lick Lionel Dahmer's Boots

So back to Jeffrey Dahmer's father, Lionel Dahmer.

By all accounts, Jeffrey' s upbringing was entirely normal. His mom was a little crazy and his dad was a little absent. But there was nothing in Jeffrey's childhood that could explain how he turned into ... Jeffrey Dahmer. No sexual abuse. No beatings. Certainly nothing that would make people say, "Yup! THAT would turn someone into a serial killer!" (And then there's Charles Manson's childhood; no surprise he turned out like he did.)

At first, Lionel believed his son was innocent. What parent wouldn't want to believe that? Who would believe anyone is capable of the crimes Jeffrey committed?

Within a couple of days, there was no denying that Jeffrey committed every horrific act of which he was accused; he dominated the news for weeks. Body parts found in his apartment. Photographs. Lionel couldn't possibly deny that his son was one of the most gruesomely creative serial killers in American history. So he didn't even try to deny it.

And that's where Dan Turner gets it wrong.

Brock's crime was no longer "alleged" when Dan Turner wrote that letter. Brock had already been found guilty in court. Witnesses had testified. Witnesses that prevented him from doing anything worse to his victim because they pulled him off her.

Before sentencing, knowing his son was guilty of raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, Dan Turner penned a letter to the judge. He begged the judge to give his son probation rather than the prison sentence he deserves. He begged the judge to give his son probation for "2o minutes of action," because why should those 20 minutes ruin Brock's life?

Lionel Dahmer never wrote such a letter. He did, however, write a book in which he took responsibility for ignoring what he called "warning signs" (although who could imagine those crimes). He took responsibility for not being there for Jeffrey. He took responsibility for leaving him with his mentally ill mother. Okay ... he blamed Jeffrey's mother a little, too. But mostly, Lionel Dahmer said that if he had it to do over, he would have been a better - a different - father to Jeffrey.

Lionel Dahmer often visited his son in prison. He loved his son, despite the atrocities he committed. But he never tried to excuse them. He never said his son didn't deserve his punishment.

Dan Turner could learn something from Lionel Dahmer, and hopefully Dan's moment of clarity will arrive before, rather than after, his son't next horrific criminal act.

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Comments 2 comments

Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 4 months ago from Oklahoma

Very interesting perspective.

Victoria Kaufmann profile image

Victoria Kaufmann 4 months ago from New Jersey

Well written article. Honestly though, I for one can understand why that father wrote that letter.

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