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Serial killers

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Serial killers --


A serial killer is a person whom everybody knows as a friend, a lover or even a father but no one knows about his killer instinct until it's to late. Serial killers have plagued this country and others for many years. They are hard to find and virtually undetectable until they start murdering the innocent.

Serial killers are usually young, white males who are quite intelligent and often come from broken homes. They may have been abused either physically or sexually during childhood and they have serious personality defects, such as low self-esteem and a lifelong sense of loneliness. Although no two serial killers are alike, they all fit this description somewhat. In the sixth edition of Crime and Criminality by Sue Titus Reid, a serial killer is defined as a person who commits more than one murder but at different times (Reid, p. 134).

Serial killers have been around for decades but According To Jack Levin, 'seven of the ten largest mass killings in American history have taken place in the last decade (Douglas, p. 137). One of the most popular and well-known serial killers in history was Ted Bundy. He was convicted of killing three women but is suspected of killing thirty-six other women (Douglas, p. 137).

So what makes a serial killer? Levin points out that contrary to popular belief, serial killers don't just 'snap? or ?go crazy? (Douglas, p. 137). Many of the serial killers have been the victims of childhood abuse. Jack Levin stated ?Research shows many serial killers suffered abuse, incest or neglect as children and develop poor self images? (Douglas, p. 137). Serial killers often have a childhood marked by the absence of any nurturing relationship. ?They often come from families where the parents were absent or ineffective, where authority was not defined, and where they could engage in destructive behavior undeterred-violent play, cruelty to animals, and incidents of arson being some of the childhood behavior patterns noted among many serial killers? (Clark, p. 206).

A serial killer's murdering spree is methodical and extremely well planned, and the motive usually is to get even (Douglas, p. 137). A serial killer often plans his crimes extremely carefully. He looks for a certain type of victim based on lifestyle, age, appearance or occupation (Clark, p. 206). As a way of gaining the victim's confidence and avoiding the use of force to abduct the victim, the serial killer may use a pseudorelationship (Clark, p. 206). After he gets the victim's trust he persuades them to do things that they normally wouldn't do with a stranger and that is when he strikes. Psychologists classify a serial murder as sociopath because they continue to murder over a period frequently shows sociopath tendencies (Clark, p. 206).

Two FBI agents conducted a study of serial killers over an eight-year period and came up with two distinct types of personalities, the organized and the disorganized serial killer (Clark, p. 206). An organized killer will most likely be a highly intelligent, skilled, socially competent individual who plans his crimes carefully (Clark, p. 206). Most of the men during this eight-year study had an average IQ of 115, with some ranging as high as 145 (Casey, p. 80).

Disorganized serial killers are almost a complete opposite of organized serial killers. ?They are of average or below average intelligence and are socially and sexually incompetent? (Clark, p. 206). They are often the youngest or younger children in the family. They were abused or very sternly disciplined during their childhood. The disorganized murders are usually in an anxious state during the crime. They rarely use alcohol or drugs before or during an offense and are experienced minimal stress beforehand. They live alone, usually near the crime scene. They do not follow news accounts of the crime and do not move around in an effort to escape detention (Markowitz, p. 3). The disorganized killer is often spontaneous and his murders are often unplanned. ?These types of killers are usually caught more quickly because they leave behind the most evidence often including the murder weapon? (Markowitz, p. 3).

Research shows that nearly all of the serial killers targeted women and the murders tended to have a sexual aspect to them. Most serial killers have overactive fantasy lives and their deeds fuel their fantasies. ?If no suitable ?victim of opportunity? is found during a serial killer's hunt, the killer might return to the scenes of previous abductions, murders or disposal sites, seeking fuel for their fantasies? (Stalking evil, p. 85). The murder in itself is relatively quick and the killer may use excessive assault to the face to try to depersonalize himself with the victim. The victim is often blindfolded or restrained. There is usually a series of assaultive acts against the victim resulting in death. After their death, the victim's body is hidden, the evidence carefully disposed of, and the killer may carry the murder weapon with him to use again in other murders. ?Disembowlment or mutilation of the face, genitals or breasts are often hallmarks of disorganized killer, who leaves a sloppy crime scene with blood and flesh scattered about? (Stalking evil, p. 85).

A serial killer may take 'souvenirs? of 'trophies? to keep the high of the kill for a prolonged period or until their next kill. These trophies may consist of victim's underpants, jewelry, credit cards or even body parts. The more sadistic of the killers who may use a video camera to tape their victims so that they can relay them to relive the crime over and over again in their minds.

?The anger of a serial killer usually surfaces when the killer is in his mid to late 20's and the first murder is usually the result of a ?precipitating stressor? some event that pushes him over the edge? (Clark, p. 206). Mass killers tend to be white, middle class, middle aged males. After they kill their first victim, they may experience some remorse but after they kill again their remorse dwindles and they enjoy the kill and the high that goes along with it.

Once the murder hunt begins, it never ends until the killer is caught, letting him operate for years without being detected. No one knows what causes these men to kill, they don't know themselves. Jack Levin notes 'the mass killer may be depresses, disillusioned, despondent, or desperate, during the kill but afterwards act like nothing has ever happened? (Douglas, p. 137).

A serial killer may have a fascination with law enforcement. Some serial killers will get involved in an investigation by going to bars where cops gather to try to overhear the cases details, some may monitor the investigation of their own crimes and some give bogus to throw off police (Clark, p. 206). When they are part of their own investigation, it allows them to keep extending control over their deed. Jack Levin stated ?Afterwards knowing they?ve gotten away with the crime and they?ve left no evidence-that's like earning their Bachelor of Science degree? (Douglas, p. 137). Serial murderers have a great need for dominance and control, which they satisfy by taking the last breath from their victims. Very few will use a gun because they want physical contact with the victim. Serial killers know what they?re doing is wrong; they simply do not care (Douglas, p. 137). Levin is quoted ...

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