I’m a bit of a crime buff. My favorite TV show is Law and Order SVU and I also sometimes watch true crime shows. During my brief time living in Queens in 2013, I heard some about about the Long Island Serial Killer and have on and off followed the case since.
Lately I’ve been watching the A&E documentaryThe Killing Seasonin which two filmmakers initially investigate the Long Island killings and then branch out to investigate other murders of sex workers in cities across the country.
It’s compelling, although it feels overstaged, but I found myself cursing the screen as the filmmakers investigate truck stops and truckers, as their investigation revealed the Highway Initiative and the theory of long-haul serial killers.
The filmmakers interview a trucker. He gestures to the woman. ”If you were out here you’d be in trouble. You’re dressed for sex.” (She’s wearing a long, loose dress). He continues “You could be killed, you could be gang-raped. It’s crazy out here.”
I can’t with this BS. I am a woman, and not a hideous-looking one at that, who has walked around truck stops all over the country alone because I’m certainly not going to make my husband chaperone me as I go to do laundry or get something to eat. I’ve walked alone after midnight, I’ve walked alone in shorts and a tank top. The number of times I’ve been menaced or even harassed? Zero. I’ve sat among a group of men in the common room as I’ve worked on my laptop and they watched football. I’ve never heard negative talk about women. And a percentage of trucker drivers ARE women. If male truckers were really raping and killing every woman who crossed their field of vision, there wouldn’t be any women in the profession.
Also, the filmmakers claimed they hitchhiked around the country in the cabs of truckers. There’s footage of the, climbing into various trucks. More BS. There’s a little thing called insurance. Truck drivers have to pay for insurance on anyone they take in their truck. If a driver has unauthorized passengers in their truck, they could lose their job. Who would take that risk for a pair of filmmakers who want to paint them and their industry in a bad light?
My verdict? Lots of staged footage. These filmmakers are not above doing a little creative staging to make things more dramatic. And the hard-working men of an already misunderstood profession become more misunderstood.
And I admit I brought into the stereotypes when Younes first got interested in trucking. I feared he would be surrounded by bad influences urging him to cheat or do drugs. Joining Trucking Truth squashed that fear. These men and women just want a good-paying job where they can support their family without having to go back to school and accumulate a bunch of student loan debt. Then, when I decided to travel with Younes, I looked forward to sightseeing all the natural wonders of the country on his time off. Nope. Truckers work HARD. There’s the endless hours of driving, but there’s also the paperwork, the dealing with shippers and receivers, the truck inspections, the huge list of chores that need to be done when the wheels aren’t turning and the driver isn’t getting paid. There’s no time to sightsee. There’s no time to solicit sex workers and/or kill them. There’s barely time to eat and shower!
After the filmmakers had interviewed truckers, they were drawn back east because of a case where a sex worker had killed a client who was trying to murder her. The guy was suspected of killing women in other states. But was this “long haul” suspected serial killer a truck driver? Nope. He was just a transient monster.