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An Insight To Serial Killers And Their Motives

2000 words - 8 pages

Three decades ago a very disturbing problem came to light in the United States, the serial killer. Over the past three decades studies have shown that three fourths of all serial killers have been in the USA. There have been conflicting reports as to the extent of serial murder. The FBI claimed in the 1980’s that at any particular time there were roughly 35 active serial killers in the United States, meaning that the serial killers in question have committed their first murders but have not yet been apprehended or stopped by other means. This frightening fact and the killers and their crimes have intrigued Americans for about thirty years now. While no one but the killer themselves really knows what drives them to kill, their selection of victims, or even the heinous ways they often commit their murders, it seems to intrigue people to try to solve this unanswerable puzzle. Serial killers seem to lack a sense of right and wrong and have no compassion for human life. This makes them monsters in societies eyes, and having one on the loose in your town is like having a real life boogeyman on the loose.The term serial killer is widely believed to have been coined either by FBI agent Robert Ressler or by Dr. Robert Kepple in the 1970s (the credit for the term is disputed). The term serial killer entered into recognized American vocabulary mainly because of the well-publicized crimes of Ted Bundy (for whom the term was first used) and David Berkowitz ("Son of Sam") in the middle years of that decade. The term allows criminologists to distinguish those who kill several people over a long period of time from those who kill several people during a single event. A third type of multiple killer is a spree killer. According to the FBI handbook serial killers are people who kill on at least five separate occasions, taking breaks in between each killing, usually committing one murder at a time. In between their crimes, they appear to be quite normal. Hervey Cleckley and Robert Hare who are both psychiatrist specializing in abnormal behavior and criminal psychology have called this state in between killing the “mask of sanity”. All murders must be completed or attempted in the same or similar fashion or the victims must all have something in common. A mass murderer, on the other hand, is an individual who commits multiple murders in a single event or in one place. A spree killer commits multiple murders in different locations over a period of time that may vary from a few hours to several days. Unlike serial killers they do not take long breaks and resume their everyday lives in between slayings.In the past thirty years there have been enough known serial killers to identify certain traits that they seem to have in common. Typically serial killers have been white, middle class males, between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. Their main motives are usually sex (even though the physical act may or may not take place), power, manipulation, domination,...

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