North of border, a grisly story of mass murder is unfolding. In Toronto, police and shaken residents are dealing with an apparent serial killer who roamed in their midst, an apparently pleasant gardener, landscaper, and flower arranger by day and a violent, allegedly homicidal sadist by night.
The accused, Bruce McArthur, has been charged with the murders of five men. Police are investigating properties where McArthur evidently buried the dismembered remains of his victims in the planters, lawns, and gardens he tended for unsuspecting clients — a story line that is similar to the plot of Stephen King’s short story The Lawnmower Man. Police believe that McArthur roamed the gay district in Toronto, looking for submissive men who would help him act out violent sexual fantasies — fantasies that apparently sometimes ended in grisly death. There is growing concern, too, that the investigation will uncover many more victims.
And by the way, McArthur also once served as the Santa Claus at a Toronto-area mall. I wonder if the parents who learn of that creepy fact will ever put their kids on the lap of a mall Santa again?
As seems to so often be the case, his neighbors and his clients describe McArthur as a jovial, helpful person who liked to bake and design flower arrangements. They didn’t suspect his apparent double life or dark side. It really makes you wonder how many murderous people are out there in the world, acting out their disturbed impulses — and also makes you feel lucky that you haven’t encountered them at the wrong time on a darkened street.