One of the most striking things about that list from two posts ago of the top 25 most prolific serial killers is that four of them were nurses. Nurses -- and doctors -- are trusted precisely because of the uniform they wear. So any nurse with mayhem in mind can do a lot of damage before being caught.
Some of these nurses should probably have ranked higher on the list, as well. For instance, Charles Cullen, ranked #24 with 37 victims, is thought to be responsible for as many as 300 deaths. That makes Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy look like pikers. (The reason Cullen doesn't rank higher is because the list used only the proven number of victims.)
The even more striking statistic is that three out of four of the top serial killer nurses were men, during a period when men comprised only 5% of all nurses. (The percent of nurses who are male rose gradually from 2.7% in 1970 to 9.6% in 2013.)
Orville Lynn Majors (pictured twice below), #25 on the list, had his heyday from 1993 to 1995. He may have murdered as many as 130 elderly patients:
(He bears a slight resemblance to "Buffalo Bill," the character in Silence of the Lambs:)
Charles Cullen (pictured below) was active from 1988 to 2003:
Donald Harvey, ranked #2 among American serial killers, confessed to killing 87 people. He was active from 1970 to 1987:
All three of these men are still alive, unlike their many elderly victims. (It's easier to get away with multiple killings if you work with the elderly, as their deaths will arouse less suspicion.)
The only woman who made the top 25, Jane Toppan, was active from 1885 to 1901. So serial killing, once again, is mostly a man's world. This doesn't mean that the vast majority of the tens of thousands of male nurses, of course, aren't perfectly upstanding people. But the disparity is still striking.
Not that anyone would object if you pointed that disparity out. Today's politically correct world is all about favoritism, and since women are favored over men, pointing out that even among nurses, serial killers are more likely to be male is perfectly acceptable.
To point out the even more obvious fact that most serial killers in general are male would also ruffle no feathers. Yet pointing out other equally factual disparities involving gender or race somehow seems to evoke shrieks of protest.
Suppose that men's rights advocates behaved like feminists, and imagine you had the following conversation with one:
You: Did you know that three quarters of the most prolific serial killer nurses have been male, yet males are only 5% of all nurses?
Men's Rights Advocate: Well, you know, the vast majority of male nurses are law-abiding, and do their jobs very caringly.
You: Yeah, yeah, I know. But still, that's a pretty striking statistic, don't you think?
Men's Rights Advocate: I find it really offensive that you would point that out.
You: Why? It's just an interesting fact, that's all.
Men's Rights Advocate: It's really sexist that you would try to tar all men that way.
You: But all I'm saying is…
Men's Rights Advocate: You're a hateful, bigoted person!
Sounds awfully silly, right? Yet other, touchier topics evoke such reactions constantly. So most people -- unlike me -- know better than to point such skewed statistics out.
Anyway, if I run across a male nurse, I certainly won't shun him. But a thought or two will cross my mind.