I Listened to a Neo-Nazi Talk and Here's What Happened

I Listened To A Former Neo-Nazi Speak, And Here's What Happened

I was scared to be in the same room as someone who, about 20 years ago, would've been happy to see me dead because of my religion. But then, I heard his story.

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Today was far from an ordinary school day. Instead of spending the first two hours of my day at classes, I was invited to attend an Anti-Defamation League breakfast. A group of us students were surrounded by politicians, educators, authorities, and other leaders, as we listened to Christian Picciolini speak.

Christian Picciolini is a former Neo-Nazi.

Many people in the audience, myself included, were Jews. Other people in the audience were people of color or a part of a different minority group that Picciolini had spent almost a decade of his life despising.

At first, I was scared to be in the same room as someone who, about 20 years ago, would've been happy to see me dead because of my religion. But then, I heard his story.

Christian Picciolini is the child of two immigrants, and he grew up in Illinois. His father owned a hair salon, and his mother owned a restaurant, so Christian was left alone for much of his childhood. Christian felt abandoned and out of place, so he started to act up to take out his anger.

When Christian was 14 he was in an alley, when Clark Martell, the former leader of the Chicago Area Skinheads, approached him. Christian was just a vulnerable, angry child, and Martell took advantage of that. Martell promised Christian the one thing he craved the most; to belong. In the alley that day, Martell told Christian how he should be proud to be an Italian man, and how certain groups were trying to take that away from him. Martell instilled fear in Christian, and today, Christian strongly believes that it's fear that draws people to the white supremacist movement, not ideology.

Music was a very important part of Christian's life, as he was a part of one band called White American Youth, and a second band called The Final Solution. Christian also owned a record store, and this ended up changing his life. Christian originally focused on selling white-power music, but he realized in order to make a living he would have to sell other kinds of music.

This drew in a diverse group of customers, including people who were Jewish, African-American, or gay. Every customer knew who he was and what he was doing, but they still came in, and they showed him compassion. For the first time, Christian was having meaningful conversations with people who he had never even considered as human. Christian realized he had things in common with these people, and, slowly, he re-learned love.

Since then, Christian has been able to use his experiences to relate to white supremacists and get over 100 of them to disengage from the movement.

I was left speechless. I never thought that I would leave the morning feeling so inspired by someone who I would once think of as a monster. There is a road from hate to love, and it can be a difficult one for many to chose to take… but it's there, and it's possible to take. We cannot be blinded by the hate in our world, but instead, hold onto that hope that love overcomes all.

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After 'Extremely Wicked' And 'The Stranger Beside Me,' We Now Understand The Criminal Mind Of Ted Bundy

1 hour and 50 minutes, plus 550 pages later.

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Netflix recently released a movie in May called "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile" (2019), based on the life of Ted Bundy from his girlfriend's viewpoint.

In 1980, an author and former Seattle police officer, Ann Rule, published a book about her experience and personal, close friendship with Ted Bundy, called "The Stranger Beside Me."

These two sources together create an explosion of important information we either skim over or ignore about Ted Bundy. Watching this movie and reading this book can really open your eyes to who Ted Bundy really was. Yeah, there are the confession tapes on Netflix, too, but these other things can really tie it all into one big masterpiece of destruction.

I swear, it will blow your mind in different ways you never thought possible.

In the movie, "Extremely Wicked", Zac Efron stars as the infamous Ted Bundy, America's most notorious serial killer. He portrayed the murderer who kidnapped, killed, and raped 30 women or more. Personally, he made a great Ted Bundy, mannerisms and all. Lily Collins stars as Ted's girlfriend who was easily manipulated by Ted and believed that he was innocent for years.

The movie is told in the order that Liz, Ted's girlfriend, remembers.

In the book, "The Stranger Beside Me", Ann Rule writes about Ted Bundy, who used to be her old friend. They met while working at a crisis center in the state of Washington and were close ever since. Like Liz, Ann believed he was innocent and that he was incapable of these horrific crimes.

Ted Bundy had made both Liz and Ann fools. He easily manipulated and lied to both women about many things for years, his murders being "one" of them.

Okay, so we all know that Ted Bundy was absolutely guilty as hell and totally murdered those women. 30 women or more. He literally confessed to that, but researchers and authorities believe that number to be way higher.

But... you must know that the movie and the book tell two different stories that lead to the same ending. That's why it's so intriguing.

At one point, I couldn't stop watching the movie. Then, I bought Ann Rule's book and was completely attached to it. I couldn't put it down.

For me, Ted Bundy is interesting to me. Unlike most young girls today, I don't have a thing for him nor do I think he's cute or hot. I know that he used his charm and looks to lure women into his murderous trap. That's why it's so hard to understand why this movie and book created a new generation of women "falling in love" with Ted Bundy.

GROSS: He sodomized women with objects. He bludgeoned women with objects or his own hands. He was a necrophile. Look those up if you have not a clue of what they mean. That could change your mind about your own feelings for Ted Bundy.

After "Extremely Wicked" and "The Stranger Beside Me", I now understand the criminal mind of Ted Bundy. He was insane, but he was also smart, put together, educated, charming, and lots more. That's why I'm so interested in why his brain was the way it was.

The criminal mind is an interesting topic for me anyway, but for Ted Bundy, it was amazing to learn about.

I highly recommend both the movie and the book I quickly read in two weeks! If you want answers, they are there.

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