Something triggered the Zodiac Killer to begin a victim count on November 8th 1969, when he chronologically laid out the months of his murders in the following fashion: Des July Aug Sept Oct = 7". The Zodiac Killer, annoyed by the lack of front page coverage after his three murders and three cryptograms back in August, switched to murder by knife at Lake Berryessa after reading the extensive front page coverage of the August 3rd 1969 Snoozy & Furlong stabbings in the San Francisco Chronicle. His declarative statement of "by knife" on the car door at Lake Berryessa, a defiant response to this lack of front page coverage. The Zodiac Killer was effectively stating "do I now get front page coverage". The San Francisco Chronicle made the connection Zodiac had hoped for, by eventually linking him to the Snoozy & Furlong murders. By confronting Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard at Lake Berryessa with a bladed instrument, he was prompting the newspapers to forge a link between the September 27th 1969 and August 3rd 1969 attacks.
On October 19th 1969, the San Francisco Examiner sent a message to the Zodiac Killer, stating "Five people are dead. Let there be no more killings. Police say you are intelligent. If you are, then listen to reason. You are being hunted everywhere in the state, and nation. You are alone in this world. You can share your secrets with no one. No friend can help you. You are as much a victim of your crimes as those whose lives you snuffed out. You cannot walk the streets a free man. There is no safety for you, anywhere. And you will be caught, there is no doubt. You face life as a hunted, tormented animal - unless you help yourself. We ask that you give yourself up to the Examiner. We offer you no protection, and no sympathy. But we do offer you fair treatment, the assurance of medical help and the full benefits of your legal rights. And we offer to tell your story. Why have you killed? How has life wronged you? Call the City Editor of the Examiner any time, day or night. The telephone number is (415) 781 24 24. Call collect. Your call will not be traced".
The San Francisco Examiner article continued by adopting the isolationist language of "You are being hunted everywhere in the state, and nation. You are alone in this world. You can share your secrets with no one. No friend can help you". This statement may have also struck a nerve with the Zodiac Killer, who replied in the Dripping Pen card with "I get awfully lonely when I am ignored, so lonely I could do my thing." The Examiner article continued: "There is no safety for you, anywhere. And you will be caught, there is no doubt". On November 9th 1969 in the Bus Bomb letter, the Zodiac Killer reiterated the words "The police shall never catch me, because I have been too clever for them", also reminiscent of the wording used by the sadistic caller to Daniel Williams during this period, by way of “I’m too smart for them" when referring to the police over the phone. It is also unsurprising that the Zodiac Killer would respond to "And you will be caught, there is no doubt", with "There's no doubt I will do my Thing!" on November 21st 1969, while providing yet another code.
Thrice the San Francisco Examiner mentioned the word "help" in respect to the Zodiac Killer, so did he ultimately respond in mocking fashion four times via Melvin Belli? The Zodiac Killer adopted a pleading tone in the December 20th 1969 letter, stating "The one thing I ask of you is this, please help me", along with "I cannot reach out for help because of this thing in me wont let me". the brief "Please help me", and "Please help me I can not remain in control for much longer". The Zodiac Killer also continued the theme of a "thing" in three of the four communications.
Is this a case of "seek and you will find" with respect to the newspapers and language used by the killer, or did he feed off the newspapers and deliberately engineer his communications as a direct response to the articles he read? I will let you decide