Can You Beat the Zodiac Killer?

The Zodiac Killer Movie has come out this week. And although Hollywood does a decent job at serial killer movies, I thought I'd give you the backstory of one of the most notorious serial killers that has never been caught.

In the summer of 1969, the San Francisco Bay Area was swept by a wave of panic as a serial killer stalked its residents. The killer called himself the "Zodiac" and he manipulated the news media and law enforcement agencies with menacing phone calls and taunting letters that created a sense of helplessness, fascination and fear among the population.

There are lessons to be learned for the average citizen. With the right training and awareness, the victims of these brutal slayings could have overtaken this killer and survived. By examining each attack, future attacks can be prevented, whether it is dealing with a serial killer or a common thug.

The first killing was on October 30, 1966 - Cheri Jo Bates - an 18 yr old college freshman was attacked on her way home from the college library.

On December 20, 1968 the Zodiac guns down David Arthur Faraday, 17, and Betty Lou Jensen, 16, as they sat in Faraday's Rambler around 11:10pm that night. In a matter of minutes, the whole attack was over.

Another couple was in the same area that night and had a near miss with the Zodiac earlier. They felt threatened as the Zodiac stalked them from his car and quickly left the area. The Zodiac chased them but quickly gave up returning to lover's lane seeking easier victims.

September 27, 1969, the Zodiac attacks Bryan Harnell and Cecilia Shepard who were picknicking on the shores of Lake Berryessa in Twin Oak Ridge State Park. He demands money and car keys. The couple cooperated and even let the Zodiac tie them up. He stabbed both victims multiple times.

The next series of killings break the profile as the Zodiac attacks single women and kills a cab driver to prove he could strike anywhere. In each case, 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.

Reviewing the Zodiac cases re-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.

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 do not 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. 90% of your training should be pre-emptive - that is, making sure that the attack doesn't happen in the first place.

To learn more about crime, criminal mindset and how to utilize pre-emptive measures, visit us at Understanding Crime.


**Angie M. Tarighi is the CEO/Founder of Women's Self-Defense Institute and EasySafety4U.com providing self defense training, education awareness & personal protection products empowering women to fight back against crime.