As Douglas asks, what is the acceptable failure right if we don't keep someone locked up, and they kill or rape again? Or are we a country that lets people that WE KNOW will rape, molest, stalk or kill again back out on the streets for new victims?
Absent a particularly compelling reason, I don't see myself picking up another one of his offerings any time soon.
Douglas makes it clear through his writing that victims cannot always rely on the good sense of law enforcement - in fact, he attributes the syndrome of repeat offenders to the lenience of the American court system and the lack of expedient capital punishment. And so, Douglas devotes the bulk of Obsession to detailing the basics of self-protection through personality profiling. Though a rape, or attack, or even murder is never the fault of the victim (a point which Douglas makes extremely clear, in so many words), it is every person's responsibility to learn how to best prevent such an attack. Through tragic anecdotal (and much-publicized cases), Douglas delves into the particulars of a variety of situations, using such tactics to startle a reader into seeing how the criminal mind can work.
After my own experiences working with a number of similar offenders in a prison psychiatric hospital, and after seeing the impact of stalking and sexual assault on two family members (who, thankfully, survived those traumatic encounters), I can't agree strongly enough.
He emphasized the subtle, less well known emotions that victims of these crimes go through--he took time to explain why Laura was right to feel harassed when her stalker consistently brought her baked goods, even though at a first glance, those around her and the general public would be tempted to call this type of persistent predator "sweet." And that's another thing that makes Douglas so fascinating to read. By introducing the reader to these cases, Douglas is also able to discuss the monumental efforts their families have gone through in creating and advocating for victims rights, a topic he spent considerable time on compared to previous books and was informative and delightful to read about. Like many Douglas books, he spends a fair amount of time encouraging readers to stay safe, how to help others, and how to get involved in preventing future crime, as well as making practical, informed suggestions on how individuals, communities, and the government at large may enact meaningful change. John Douglas' books are fantastic because they don't read like nonfiction; they pull the reader in.
Only a few complaints: sometimes the storytelling became a bit jumbled (mentioning stories that had yet to be told and would not be for a few chapters) and several details that bothered me because of my "obsession": i.e., Ann Rule worked with Ted Bundy in a crisis call center, not a rape crisis call center.
Towards the end, Douglas provides source material for potential victims on how to recognize possible stalking behavior and how to obtain assistance from police, law or social services.
During his twenty-five year career with the FBIs Behavioral Science Unit, a name he later changed to The Investigative Science Unit (Douglas & Olshaker, 1995). John Douglas became the leading expert on criminal personality profiling and the pioneer of modern criminal investigative analysis. These are just a few of the cases that John Douglas aided in throughout his twenty-five year career as a profiler with the Behavioral Science Unit, which he later renamed the Investigative Science Unit (Douglas & Olshaker, 1995).