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Serial Killers Essay

1505 words - 7 pages

Serial Killers

What is a serial killer? “A serial killer is a person who usually murders 3 or more people over a period of more than 30 days with a "cooling off" period between each murder, whose motivation for killing is largely based on psychological gratification.” (Wikipedia, 2009) The serial killer and the mass murderer are very different. Some would confuse the two. The definition of a mass murderer according to Wikipedia is “Mass murder (in military contexts, sometimes interchangeable with mass destruction) is the act of murdering a large number of people, typically at the same time or over a relatively short period of time.”(2009) An example of a mass murderer would be to ...view middle of the document...

One cannot tell a serial killer by simply looking at them! “The motives of serial killers are generally placed into four categories: “visionary”, “mission-orientated”, “hedonistic”, and “power/control”; however, there is often considerable overlap of these categories.” (Absolute Astronomy, 2009) I will break down what these categories mean, so that we can understand what they are about. “Visionary serial killers suffer from psychotic breaks from reality, sometimes believing they are another person or compelled to murder by other entities such as the devil or God.”(Wikipedia, 2009) David Berkowitz would be known as a visionary serial killer. “He claimed a demon transmitted orders through his neighbor’s dog instructing him to murder.” (Wikipedia, 2009) This is an example I chose to use, because he went through a neighbor’s dog, something many of us have next door. Many humans have a hard time wrapping their brains around this, but the reality is, this does exist in some people. “Mission orientated killers justify their acts on the basis that they are getting rid of a certain type of person, such as homosexuals, prostitutes, blacks or Catholics, whom they find undesirable; however, they are not psychotic.” (Wikipedia, 2009) The “Unabomber” would be classified in this category, because he targets Universities, and airlines. I will now explain about the Hedonistic serial killer. “This type of serial killer seeks thrills and derives pleasure from killing, seeing people as objects for their enjoyment.” (Wikipedia, 2009) The Power-Control serial killer states that, “There main objective for killing is to gain, and exert power over their victim.” Ted Bundy would be classified as a Power-Control serial killer.
A serial killer will usually stick with the same kind of victim for each kill. For example, prostitutes, children, women with certain hair colors, elderly people. Of course this will vary considerably. Serial killers are normally fantasizing about their dreams from childhood or teenage years until they reach adult age, and act upon their fantasies. A number of serial killers are disappointed by their murder and therefore, will murder again to achieve satisfaction. Normally the killings are separate (serial), meaning only one at time. These killings will often escalade over time. Certain serial killers have killed more than one victim at a time, although this is rare.
Predicting who will become a serial killer is hard. John M. McDonald started the “McDonald Triad”. “The Macdonald Triad is a set of three behavioral characteristics which are associated with sociopath behavior.” (Wikipedia, 2009) The three “factors consisted of chronic bedwetting, fire setting, and the torture of small animals.” (Wikipedia, 2009) The “McDonald Triad” is not believed to be a cause of violence, but only a set of symptoms people can look for. “Further studies have suggested that these behaviors are often a product of parental neglect, cruelty or trauma,...

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