Planned Dahmer tours proving controversial

MILWAUKEE -- A new tour in the city of Milwaukee plans to tell the story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and his many victims, and some are not happy about this tour, saying it's in bad taste. Tour organizers say they're just responding to the curiosity surrounding Dahmer.

The tour kicks off on South Second Street this weekend.

The story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is a dark page in Milwaukee's history, a page many would like to erase. Now, Dahmer and his 17 victims are the focus of a $30 one-mile walking tour that will launch Saturday on South Second Street. The tour begins at the former Club 219. "We are actually looking at different areas on the tour, where he has actually picked up seven of his 17 victims," Amanda Morden with BAM Marketing and Media said.

Milwaukee-based BAM Marketing and Media is organizing the tour, and a ticket deal on Groupon has already sold out. However, the firm says they've experienced a strong backlash against this plan. "There is outcry as to whether we're handling this sensitively or not. The material itself is obviously gruesome by nature, but we do not sensationalize or condone the acts that took place," Morden said.

The doctor who examined Dahmer and testified at his trial says the tour is "in poor taste," and could cause post-traumatic stress for the victims' families. "This could bring about the terrible memories and the traumatic experiences. I don't think it's good for the families," Dr. George Palermo said.

VISIT Milwaukee has no plans to promote the tour. "It's part of our history, and that's probably where it should be left. I don't think Dahmer defines who Milwaukee is and where we're going," Jeannine Sherman with VISIT Milwaukee said.

People who work and live on South Second Street are just hearing about the tour. "It doesn't bother me, but we won't be going on the tour," Ben Gruettner said. "Personally, I think it's kind of morbid, but hey, I'm not going to tell people what to do," Mark Manuel said.

Dahmer Tours hasn't reached out to any of the victims' families. They say they're responding to the curiosity that's already out there. "This is information you can get in a book. You can get it in a documentary, and this is just a different format," Morden said.

The tour will be a one-mile walking loop through the neighborhood. Organizers plan to hold three tours every Saturday, and say they are finding customers, while also finding those who are angry and wish this bit of Milwaukee history would stay in the past.