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> Serial Killers, What are your thoughts?
Righteous
post May 5 2004, 05:13 AM
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I'm a psychology major. Whithin my major, I'm specializing in abnormal psychology, specifically serial killers. I've been reading up on a lot of notorious serial murderers on my favorite site The Crime Library and it got me thinking about things. What do you guys think causes people to become serial killers? What must society do with these individuals? What can we do to prevent people from becoming murderous?

The first one is easy. If your Freudian (like me) then you believe that these problems are sexually based. One's Oedipus complex can cause him/her to have unresolved feelings of anger and sex. That is why the VAST majority of serial killers are males with issues with their parents.

John Wayne Gacy never got on with his father and had a serious, almost incestuous, relationship with his mother and serious problems with his sexual identity. He would rape teenage boys and young men, kill them then bury them under his house. He did this over a hundred times I believe.

The Zodiac Killer was different. He felt a severe rejection from women (maybe even his mother) and therefore, to feel "big," if you will, decided to kill people "for fun" and allude the cops which he has successfully for over thirty years.

Charles Manson was severely rejected by both of his parents. He found his personal strength from manipulating others to kill for him. For him and many other serial killers it's about power over their victims in some form or fasion.

I'm really at a loss as to what must be done about serial killers. I figure the best we can do to keep people is to raise kids to the best of our ability. I also think having the pill around is a good idea too. Is there anyone here who can level with me on this? Murderers in general are an anomaly but serial killers are a complete mystery in and of themselves and is something we must address.


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Overfriendly_Kit...
post May 8 2004, 05:00 PM
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I feel that it is possibly a mistake to lump all serial killers together like this.

Yes, some may share certain characteristics that would point to a link of some sort... but the handful of mass killers who have been successfully captured alive and successfully psychologically assessed is relatively few; and within that collection there have been very few killers that have shared anything but the very broadest similarities regarding their childhoods (parental rejection as has been quoted above). This is not to say that childhood isn't a factor, but that the very problem of serial murder is that there are no easy to identify key features that significantly stand out in each and every case that could be used to identify the threat posed.

Although great significance has been placed on psychology, it is only a single imperfect science that may or may not point to the root causes or even motivations behind mass murder. There are many other factors that should also be taken into account.

Jeff Dalmer's problems may well have stemed form psychiatric (not psychological) problems. As a child he suffered lesions on the frontal lobes in his brain after a car crash. The frontal lobes are the part of the brain responsible for self control and supression of certain extreme emotions. Investigators into Jeffs murders have suggested that it was this factor rather than his upbringing that may be the key in understanding why he killed those people. Similarly Fred West had received serious head injuries in his youth, and his wife had viacriously received electoshock therapy whilst she was still in her mother's womb... the effects manifesting themselves through abnormal behaviour right throughout her childhood.

Then there is the idea of genetic predisposition. It is a possibility, though I would suggest it is highly unlikely that this will ever be proven given the nature of the serial killer (very few and far between) and the inability to successfully capture enough of them to study effectively. I have to admit to being one of the types who having studied Genetic Sciences (albeit briefly as part of a pre Uni course) do not feel that everything can be pinned down to the DNA sequence somewhere along the line of the human genome. However, there might be a key gene that (either on it's own, or in combination with other factors) leads to serial murder.

I would suggest the problem with this theory is the variety of reasons, targets and ways in which serial killers actually kill. A sexually motivated murder is unlikely to be linked (by virtue of a shared DNA strand, gene or even combination of genes) to a murder where sex and sexuality are not involved.

If we are to answer the question what makes a serial killer we need to take into account all of the possibilities, and we mustn't focus on one element as being the single factor, until it can be conclusivley proven.

The next question: what must society do with these individuals. There are three things I feel should be done:

1) Hunt them down and neutralise the threat they pose (by successfully arresting and prosecuting them OR killing them as an absolute last resort where capture is impossible)

2) Fully investigate captured killers to help develop a better understanding of what they do, how and why (the question first asked) so as to capture others like them, if this is aplicable.

3) Imprison them, protecting society from the threat they pose, until they no longer pose any threat (either through successful rehabilitation, or incapacity through old age).

Finally there is the last question of what to do to stop murder. If we could honestly stop people from being murderous (or from adopting any other socially undesirable activity) then we would do so by first understanding everything about murder and mass murder. Then society would have to devise a means of curing these people. Finally society would have to enforce this... which might be possible in a handful of cases; but logistically impossible to enforce over a wide enough area to actually have any genuine impact, without adopting the kind of invasive police state that even then might catch only a handful of those responsible.


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Posts in this topic
- Righteous   Serial Killers   May 5 2004, 05:13 AM
- - The Lorax   I also believe a lot of serial killers were ...   May 5 2004, 05:36 AM
- - porcelainwarrior   I also believe that the behaviours of many prolifi...   May 5 2004, 08:27 AM
- - The Lorax   Porcelianwarrior is right--no matter how many step...   May 5 2004, 04:28 PM
- - Righteous   Don't assume that serial killers aren't so...   May 5 2004, 06:56 PM
- - Patient #212   Alluding to the Oedipal Complex: I don't know ...   May 5 2004, 07:57 PM
- - Ocean!   That's my favorite site, too. I just finished ...   May 5 2004, 10:22 PM
- - Righteous   QUOTE (Patient #212 @ May 5 2004, 02:56 PM)Wh...   May 5 2004, 10:53 PM
- - The Lorax   I never said i thought Serial Killers were a good ...   May 6 2004, 12:39 AM
- - Sir Maxerpopple   QUOTE I never said i thought Serial Killers were a...   May 6 2004, 12:45 AM
- - Righteous   Maybe we should sic Max's toy robots on them...   May 6 2004, 01:33 AM
- - Patient #212   Fair enough, Righteous... I'm not a psychologi...   May 6 2004, 01:48 AM
- - porcelainwarrior   In response to Patient #212...I don't know exa...   May 6 2004, 02:15 PM
- - Righteous   QUOTE (Patient #212 @ May 5 2004, 08:47 PM)I ...   May 6 2004, 07:53 PM
- - candice   QUOTE (Righteous @ May 4 2004, 09:12 PM)The f...   May 7 2004, 04:13 PM
- - Righteous   Candice, if you go deep into Freudian psychology, ...   May 7 2004, 04:40 PM
- - The Lorax   QUOTE (Righteous @ May 7 2004, 09:39 AM)wanti...   May 7 2004, 04:42 PM
- - gothictheysay   ... It seems the equation here is somewhat equal ...   May 7 2004, 07:50 PM
- - Patient #212   Yes, Candice, I had thought that Freud's theor...   May 7 2004, 08:18 PM
- - Sir Maxerpopple   QUOTE (Righteous @ May 5 2004, 09:32 PM) May...   May 8 2004, 02:58 AM
- - gothictheysay   QUOTE Maybe we should sic Max's toy robots on ...   May 8 2004, 03:25 AM
- - Overfriendly_Kitten   I feel that it is possibly a mistake to lump all s...   May 8 2004, 05:00 PM
- - Patient #212   QUOTE (gothictheysay @ May 7 2004, 11:24 PM)H...   May 8 2004, 07:39 PM
- - Righteous   QUOTE And what's the difference between a seri...   May 10 2004, 05:19 AM
- - Edward_lover1200   *looks around thread so happy to be among my own k...   May 20 2004, 11:52 AM
- - {Gothic Angel}   (*Does the happy dance for EL1200* Welcome back, h...   May 20 2004, 12:12 PM
- - Pixiegoth   QUOTE ({Gothic Angel} @ May 20 2004, 12:11 PM...   May 20 2004, 03:16 PM
- - jenofthejen   I think that most serial killers or, 'lust...   Jun 15 2004, 05:07 PM


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