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Fawning over 'hot' felons: Why such women are schnooks

CrimeHomicidePhilosophyCharles MansonElliot RodgerBoston Marathon
Women swooning at Jeremy Meek's mugshot? It's hardly the first time
Dzhokar Tsarnaev's photo, all Bambi eyes and curly hair, generated legions of fangirls

Those eyes! Those cheekbones! Those full lips, looking so sad!

Sorry, ladies, but Jeremy Meeks is not available. Not just because he’s married but because he’s locked up in jail facing felony weapons charges, and that means he may be heading to prison — again.

Not even his seriously bad-dude teardrop tattoo has been enough to put off tens of thousands of women who have “liked” the striking online mugshot of the 30-year-old career criminal arrested in Stockton on felony weapons and gang charges.

The viral photograph and its “hot convict” meme are storming through the Internet, but it’s hardly the first time that women have fallen for a pretty face, even when it’s a felonious one.

Why?

The Menendez brothers, who killed their parents, had fans. Charles Manson, probably the vilest of all, has a coterie whose members weren’t even born when his “family” began its killing spree. Men and women online ranked Isla Vista mass murderer Elliot Rodger from “good looking” to “kinda hot.” Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s photo, all Bambi eyes and curly hair, generated legions of fangirls who declared that no one so cute could possibly be guilty and wore his face on their T-shirts.

Women sent Richard Ramirez, the ghastly Night Stalker and a professed satanist, scores of fan letters behind bars; the writer of one of them married him. And serial killer Ted Bundy, electrocuted after committing perhaps dozens of horrific murders of young women, made other young women swoon. And he too married one of his fans, in a mutual declaration during a court proceeding.

Pop psychology is just that — popular — but I suspect there’s a common thread of vulnerability that women perceive in these men: They think they can help. The Shangri-Las put some real pop into this psychology with “The Leader of the Pack”:

“They told me he was bad 

But I knew he was sad 

That's why I fell for

The leader of the pack.”

Bundy’s frequent M.O. for luring women was to wear a fake cast on his arm or use crutches he didn't need. The Minnesota woman who married Erik Menendez in prison said she had seen him on TV and “I could see the pain in his eyes. I felt sorry for him.”

At the end of “A Place in the Sun,” the 1951 movie based on the novel “An American Tragedy,” Elizabeth Taylor, standing at killer Montgomery Clift’s death-row cell, tells him, “All the same, I’ll go on loving you for as long as I live.”

This is more than the adolescent rush of flirting with the bad boy (or bad girl) like the nice girl's brief romance with Marlon Brando in “The Wild One.” That just means women can be optimists. But this other behavior just makes women look like schnooks.

Follow Patt Morrison on Twitter @pattmlatimes

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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