Teaching Students About Robert Hansen
Robert Hansen, otherwise known as the “Butcher Baker,” was a notorious American serial killer who terrorized the state of Alaska during the 1970s and early 1980s. His story is one of brutal violence and cunning manipulation, making it a chilling example for students to learn about criminal psychology and the importance of vigilant law enforcement. This article will outline some key talking points and lesson ideas when teaching students about Robert Hansen.
Born in 1939, Robert Hansen grew up in Iowa, where his troubled childhood led him down a dark path. He turned to crime very early on, committing arson, theft, and involuntary manslaughter before heading to Alaska. There, he adopted a dual persona – outwardly a respectable bakery owner while secretly engaging in his heinous acts during his spare time.
In order to help students grasp the severity of his crimes, it’s crucial to present them with an overview of how many people he targeted. Hansen is believed to have kidnapped, raped, tortured, and killed at least 17 women over the span of 12 years. Many of his victims were dancers or sex workers whom he abducted from Anchorage’s city streets.
Motive and Modus Operandi
Robert Hansen has been described as a deadly predator who enjoyed the thrill of hunting women both emotionally and literally. It is integral for students to understand that he played manipulative mind games with his victims and subjected them to unimaginable cruelty before killing them with guns or knives.
The most chilling aspect of Hansen’s modus operandi involved using his private plane to fly handcuffed victims out into remote parts of the Alaskan wilderness. There, he would set them free before hunting them down like animals – an aspect that provides students a clear insight into his twisted psyche.
Apprehension and Conviction
In June 1983, a survivor managed to escape from Hansen’s clutches and led police to him. After investigating his home and discovering evidence of his crimes, the “Butcher Baker” was finally apprehended. In 1984, he was sentenced to 461 years in jail without the possibility of parole.
Imparting the Lessons
When teaching about Robert Hansen, educators should focus on the following key points:
1. The dangers of manipulation: By exploring how Hansen used his superficial charm and seemingly ordinary demeanor as a bakery owner to deceive others, students can learn valuable lessons about trust, judgement, and social cues.
2. The importance of vigilance: Discuss how law enforcement agencies eventually caught Hansen and highlight the vital role that citizens play in assisting authorities.
3. Recognition and prevention: Use the case study as an opportunity to teach students about warning signs and risk factors commonly associated with serial killers.
4. Criminal Psychology: Dive into the motivations behind Hansen’s crimes by discussing his pathological need for power and control.