The idea of serial killers and the role they play in our lives has fascinated people since the cases of Jack the Ripper and H.H. Holmes, although serial murderers existed before them. The infamous and mysterious complexities of these cases have puzzled and terrified people for over a century. Perhaps due to the deviant and taboo nature of serial killings, people in our society and others have tried to attribute many reasons for why they occur. In this search for answers, one major scope has been widely left out of the research: the sociological imagination. It is through this method of understanding that I will attempt to explain the development of serial killers and apply theories that explain the frequency of serial killings in our society. It is important to remember that serial murder is a form of patterned violence. Serial murders as defined by the FBI are, “a series of three or more killings, not less than one of which was committed within the United States, having common characteristics such as to suggest the reasonable possibility that the crimes were committed by the same actor or actors” (FBI). There is also typically a “cooling off” period between murders. This is a period of time in which the perpetrator of the murders takes up a period of rest between killings. Some suspect this period to be an emotional break before their next outburst and the next murder (FBI). The lack of control of these emotional outbursts by serial killers could be attributed to a lack
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Serial killers, we have all heard of them and most of us are petrified of them. They commit horrendous crimes that many people cannot even begin to wrap their head around. Unfortunately, for those of us who are afraid of them it is likely we have encountered at least one if not multiple in our lifetime. That last sentence really puts the “be nice to everyone” quote into perspective, doesn’t it? It is not known how many serial killers are actually walking around among us however most studies conducted reviled we may not want the answer. Chances are the number is higher than we would have thought and definitely higher than we had hoped. Although I highly doubt we will ever get an actual number. It is not likely that a survey will be given to see how many serial killers are actually walking free. Even if this hypothetical survey was given I do not think an actual serial killer is going to put a checkmark in the are you a serial killer box. Although if they did mark the box they would save a lot of lives. Answering yes to such a question would land them in a psych ward. We may not know how to identify a serial killer simply by looking them up and down but we do have theories that help predict why they choose to commit unspeakable crimes. One of these theories that will be discussed is the biosocial theory. Throughout the report, the biosocial theory of crime will be thoroughly explained and applied to this topic to better understand serial killers. Anyone who has some time to
Serial murder is one of the most baffling crimes that occur in the U.S. and all over the world. Knight (2006) defines serial murder as the killing of three or more people over a period of more than 30 days, with a significant cooling-off period. The cooling off period may be weeks, months or even years long. Researchers have proposed various psychological, biological and sociological theories that offer a partial understanding of the nature of serial murder. Some propose that the basis for criminal behavior is a predisposition to violence as well as a mix between environment, personality traits and biological factors. Serial killers are predominantly male. Only 3 percent of serial murders are committed by women (U.S. News and World Report,
Murder, willingly taking another human's life, is considered a heinous crime in the United States, and from the sociological perspective, breaks an important more. Serial Murder, therefore, is a sociologically deviant phenomenon where a person kills two or more people in distinct events, and an FBI overview of serial killers states “No single cause, trait, or even a group of traits can differentiate or identify serial killers … from other types of violent offenders” (FBI). We can, however, use sociological perspectives to identify potential factors in these cases. As a boy, Jeffrey Dahmer was described as being a loner and a poor student- and had been sexually abused by a neighbor. He is homosexual, and all of his victims were males- which
Serial murder crime though rare, is not a a new phenomenon. This crime has been committed for centuries and will continue to be a crime that is committed throughout the world. It is unfortunate and scary that this is probably one of the most serious of crimes that cannot be prevented. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, serial murderers commit their crimes because they want to. Rehabilitation is not obtainable for serial killers due to their inability for remorse and empathy, or to see people as people and not objects(Knight 2006). This research paper will focus primarily on serial murder within the U.S. First and foremost, a legal definition provided by the U.S. Department of Justice will be presented to set forth the discussion of this research paper. As follows will be a detailed discussion explaining serial killer typologies with the use of examples of known serial killers in the U.S. Types of serial killers are: power oriented, mission oriented, visionary, and hedonistic, each typology will be clearly defined and explained. Some serial killers can have a mixture of each typology’s characteristic. Serial killers that will be discussed and used as examples to represent the content of this research paper will be, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Robert Berdella, Jeffery Dahmer, and lastly the most prolific serial killer in American history, Gary Ridgeway. Problems with studying serial killing, are that because of rarity and access. Most of what we think
A serial killer is traditional defined as the separate killings of three or more people by an individual over a certain period of time, usually with breaks between the murders. (Angela Pilson, p. 2, 2011) This definition has been accepted by both the police and academics and therefore provides a useful frame of reference (Kevin Haggerty, p.1, 2009). The paper will seek to provide the readers with an explanation of how serial killers came to be and how they are portrayed in the media.
Serial killers are everywhere. Though eminent during the 1980s, there are now less in the real world and more scattered throughout popular culture. These killers have turned into cultural icons, constantly being referenced throughout favorite television shows and movies. Regardless, the average person is ignorant to this fact; this is just the problem. People are quick to blame these movies and television shows, saying that the vehement and at times macabre scenarios depicted are why we even have dangerous people on this earth. By contrast, this argument, that the increased exposure of violence in pop culture is contributing to real life serial killers, is absurd, and it is actually popular culture being born and influenced by these diabolical kings.
Throughout history, serial killers and murderers have received a significant number of news articles dedicated to them and have attracted audiences all around the world; however, the question that nobody can seem to answer is, “Why?” What causes people to grow up with the desire to kill and what can we do to prevent others from becoming serial killers in the future? “All serial killers are murderers, but not all murderers are serial killers,” as stated on The Undergraduate Times. A serial murder is defined by Encyclopedia Britannica as “the unlawful homicide of at least two people, carried out in a series over a period of time,” while mass murder is the
Serial killers can be defined as a person who kills multiple people over a long period of time. American media spreads stereotypical information about serial killers. The media portrays serial killers as either a monster or a charming guy next door (Forsyth 868). Serial killers cannot be fitted into the medias cookie-cutter definition. Everyone has experienced unique events throughout their life that shapes their personality and serial killers are not an exception. Ronald Dominique, a serial killer suffered a traumatic event while in jail; he was raped, and this event triggered his serial killings. “Serial murderers like those who kill only once, fit into no single profile; and create too wide a burden to be explained with one idea. They do seem to have one similar characteristic –that is; to blend into society and appear normal” (Forsyth 872).
The stereotype that exists for individuals who commit serial murder is one that mainly includes males of a specific race. However, it is now known that white males are not the only individuals who commit serial murder. Men and women from all racial and ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic statuses have been found to be serial murderers. Although this information has been presented to society, the cultural schema of the white male serial killer is still prevalent. The assumptions that involve serial murderers often include two aspects, the serial murderer is male and the serial murder is a type of “lust murder”, often involving sexual crimes by a sadist (Keeney and Heide, 1995). Keeney and Heide (1994) define serial murder to be the
Brogaard, Berit. "The Making of a Serial Killer." Psychology Today. Sussex Directories, Inc., 7 Dec. 2012. Web. 03 May 2014.
Throughout time there has always been mentally disturbed people, but the problem is that they are on the streets and not in a psych ward. As you read this paper you will learn about some of the most infamous serial killers of the 20th century and the horrific atrocities they committed. We will go inside the mind of a serial killer and discover what drives them to kill people and also why some serial killers love to devour their victims, keep their limbs and even continue to preform sexual acts with them even after there are already dead.
Although the prevalence of the serial killer is ultimately unknown, many researchers agree about “one-half of 1%” of homicides are determined to be the product of serial killers (Homant & Kennedy, 2014). In order to prevent future victims, improve the ability of law enforcement to detect and apprehend, potentially incorporate treatment for current serial killers, and increase the ability to detect potential future serial killers it is important to identify characteristics that may cause one to become a serial killer. The question researchers have strived to answer is are serial killers born or are there explicit factors that contribute to someone ultimately becoming a serial killer? Researchers have potentially exposed several factors that potentially contribute to one becoming a serial killer. These conditions are notably greater in prevalence in known serial killers compared to the general population. These factors consist of family dynamics/parental characteristics, experienced child abuse (physical, sexual, and neglect), and psychological disorders.
Serial killer, psychopath’s and murders, what makes them tick? Is it a mental disorder or are they a victim of their own circumstance? Is it a nurture or nature approach? Are we shaping these people with a corrupt and judgmental society? Can we change the outcome of someone becoming a cold and calculating murderer? The only way to know is to look at the blueprints of a serial killer and analyze the details and possibilities.
The phenomenon of serial killers has attracted immense attention from the public, to the media, and has even crawled its way into Hollywood. Unfortunately because of their glorified fame, many myths about serial murderers have surfaced. It is important that the facts are known instead of incorrect information that backslides the understanding of the problem itself. The following list is that of the more popular myths about serial murderers and the facts that correct these myths.
The legal definition of a serial murder, as defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)(Morton & Hilts, Eds., 2006), in 2005 is, “[t]he unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s), in separate events" (p. 9). However, numerous people debate over the definition, including this researcher, because it lacks a cool-down period in between murders, which numerous professionals believe is necessary for serial killer status. The cool-down period is a short to extended amount of time between murders. This is what differentiates them from other killers such as mass murderers and spree killers. Despite this disagreement, serial killers remain a rare phenomenon. The FBI (2006) states, serial murder accounts for under one percent of the killings a year. Nevertheless, throughout the years, countless people have