Social Circle: Would you go on the Jeffrey Dahmer walking tour?
Welcome to a weekly segment called "Social Circle." It's truly a group effort between readers, social networkers and the OnMilwaukee.com editors. Every Monday, we ask a question via Facebook and Twitter and then post the responses from our Facebook "likers" and Twitter followers in this column. Well-known Milwaukee movers and shakers will contribute, too.
The Jeffrey Dahmer walking tours started this past Saturday and were met with curious ticket buyers and deeply offended protesters.
The hour-long tour takes place in Walker's Point, mostly on 2nd Street, and stops at buildings which once housed gay bars where Dahmer met seven of the 17 men he brutally murdered. The tour includes the victims' names, details of the sexual activity they had with Dahmer, how they were killed and what Dahmer did with their bodies post-mortem.
Some people believe the tours are too soon and too gruesome, sensationalizing and making money on an event that still creates pain for victims' friends and families. Other folks believe enough time has passed – Dahmer was arrested in 1991 – and that the tours are legitimate because they offer a slice of Milwaukee history.
Others just think the tour's a rip-off at $30 a ticket. (Groupon did offer two for $25 last week, but then pulled the deal because of complaints).
"The events themselves were gruesome by nature. We strictly provide information without sensationalizing the subject matter. The tours do not lead people to empathize with Dahmer as a troubled soul, nor do we glorify or condone his acts," says Amanda Morden, spokesperson for tour organizing group Bam Marketing and Media.
Here's what the Social Circle has to say about the Dahmer tours and share your thoughts via the Talkback feature.
Suze Cameron: "If Walker can't create jobs, maybe Dahmer can."
Laury Corrao: "I wouldn't go on this tour. However, I don't really think this is any different from touring the concentration camps in Germany or the Jack the Ripper tour (in London). People have a fascination for the macabre aspect of societies' depraved. Odd, but true. Unfortunately he resided in this community and people are curious. The only way to prevent such tours or museums is to burn them down. There isn't an Ed Gein tour...."
Kristopher Crow: "It seems like fun. I'd go.
Michelle Gilbert: "Absolutely not! It's horrible, morbid and disrespectful to the families and friends that lived through it."
Natali Heuss: "I was shocked that someone would be so disrespectful. Their claim that they are trying to bring it out in the open and not hide history is a flimsy attempt at a safety net for people getting upset with their capitalizing on tragedy. And that's what they are doing. I would not go on one. I was young when it happened but remember it all too well."
Wendy Kogler: "Probably not. But I have been on haunted tours in Savannah, Ga., which included awfully scary stories. There are plenty of those marketed all over."
Jennifer Goldberg Krouse: "First, I think it is disrespectful and morbid. That said, this particular tour sounds pretty lame. Ninety minutes of walking around looking at closed businesses and empty lots. No way."
Kathie Stempski Mervyn: "If Ed Gein didn't live in the middle of nowhere, I'd bet there would be tours. I don't think I'd do the Dahmer tour, just because to me, it's not that big a deal. He stopped at my house the day before he was arrested and played on the front lawn with my new puppy. Should I be included in the tour? By the way, I did not know him."
Sheila Neumann: "My old stomping grounds, hmm ... Little too 'American Horror Story' for my taste."
Kimberly Rykowski Pedersen: "I think it's a huge slap in the face for the families of the victims."
Mitchell Wakefield: "Hell, no. Very insensitive. And who are these people? Sounds like anyone can organize a tour, walk up and down 2nd Street and read the police reports. And then charge $30? Not only a disgrace but a ripoff in the truest sense."
Jerry Yanasak: "Dahmer tour? Why? This is an easy way to practice 'letting go.'"
Patty Zastrow-Jankowski: "The interest is definitely there. As soon as you tell somebody you're from Milwaukee ... people are curious. Years before this tour came out me and a friend at work were talking about giving a tour. He used to be a meter reader for the electric company and used to see Jeff Dahmer in the Grand Avenue. We both remember seeing him on the bus. As far as going on the tour, I think I'd consider it. And I have the utmost respect for the victims."
Im not sure why the genius at Skakers doesnt step up and take credit for his poor taste....perhaps more time should be spent on his own concerns instead of praying on these victims and their families.
I would not go...but it does not surprise me that there are people who would find this interesting. Going to view the site of the death camps in Germany is very different than walking the streets of Milwaukee to see places Dahmer visited and collected victims.
No, I would not go on the tour. Also, if the tour can not find a charity to donate their funds to, may be they should donate the funds to the Milwaukee G/L Community Trust Tund who works with and supports the LGBT community.
It was a horror story then and it's a horror story now.
When in London my wife and I went on a Jack the Ripper walking tour. We didn't feel weird about that because it happened such a long time ago that the Ripper seems more like fiction rather than fact. The tour was packed. So I get why people might do the same thing with Dahmer, but to me, I wouldn't go. The reason, stupid as it may be, is that Dahmer just happened and the consequences of his actions are real whereas the Ripper's don't see to be anymore
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