John Douglas is a murder whisperer, and David Fincher is a very smart man

As mass-market paperbacks go, John Douglas’ Mind Hunter is a joy to behold. The cover features a soft-focus photo of Douglas, a benign middle-aged white man wearing a trench coat with a popped collar. Half of Douglas’ face is overlaid with thin red concentric circles that emanate from the red eyeball of what might be… a dog? Unclear. Bought used, my copy also has a much-broken spine and yellowing pages. It looks like it came from a supermarket aisle reached via time machine. 

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I always feel like, somebody’s watching me


For the vast majority of my adolescence, it would be safe to say that I didn’t care about the news. It’s hard to when you’re a kidβ€”news is just a lot of grown-ups talking about things that seem boring, or complicated, or at the very least not nearly as exciting as Legos. If I’m being honest, it probably wasn’t until college that I really thought, “Huh. Things are going on in the world and I should probably know about them.”

As a result of my youthful Lego predilectionsβ€”and longstanding struggle to remember things learned in history classβ€”there are enormous gaps in my knowledge of What Hath Happened Before. And yet I, like everyone else, reacted to news of the NSA’s spying operations with a definitive lack of surprise. “Of course the government is spying on us,” I thought to myself while reading Edward Snowden profiles and snickering at the name Booz Allen. “I just assumed they always were.”

I wasn’t alone in this reactionβ€”whether you think Snowden is a hero or villain, outrage over the actual content of his leaks has been relatively mutedβ€”and so I thought it might be interesting to fill in some of the missing details. How long have these programs been a thing? Who started them? Why? Should I really be all that worried?

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