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Serial Killers The Reasons Behind Their Crimes

2640 words - 11 pages

When we think of serial killers the majority of us are often filled with repugnance and fear. I realized this after a poll I had conducted on how people view them today: 68% see them as evil, disturbed and crazy; 14% see them as intelligent, witty, and manipulative; 10% see them as sad, lost and confused; and only 8% hold a different opinion than the three (WOWYW, 2007). After receiving my data from this survey I discovered how quick people are to judge and despise them without allowing a moment to question, "Why are they this way?"Society has developed many misconceptions about what it is that drives a serial killer to kill. They also ignore the fact that through their crimes and the killer's themselves we've gained the opportunity to learn about them. It's easier now to help prevent these kinds of people from developing and to be able to better recognize them because of those who have already killed. We also forget the key to protect you from these types of people is to educate yourself more about them.The most vital thing to comprehend before trying to enter the psyche of a serial killer is to understand what serial murder is itself. Dr.Robert D. Keppel realized after interviewing Ted Bundy that the first fact of serial murder is that these crimes exist most clearly in the mind of the serial killer himself (Michaud & Ayneswarth, 2000, p.V). In other words, we can only come to understand the minds of these people to the extent that they'll allow us to, and only they will ever truly know the meaning behind their crimes.The FBI has created what you could almost call a "requirement list" to what makes you a serial killer. They define serial murder as: a minimum of three to four victims, with a "cooling off" period in between; the victim is usually a stranger making the murders unconnected and random; the murders usually reflect a need to sadistically dominate the victim; the motive is psychological, not material; the victim may have a "symbolic" value for the killer; they must have particular method to their killing; and the killer will often choose a victim who is vulnerable (Crime Library, 2007, sect.1).Jack A. Apsche states a more precise contour of a serial killer by presenting certain characteristics that have been statistically proven. He found that according to criminologist Eric Hickey that "88% of serial killers are male, 85% are Caucasian, and the average age when they claim their first victim is usually around 28.5. In terms of victim selection, 62% of the killers target strangers exclusively, and another 22% kill at least one stranger. Finally, 71% of the killers operate in specific location or area, rather than traveling wide distances to commit their crimes" (Apsche, 1993, p.16). Most people would think that someone who is capable of murder like this would stand out; they'd be strange and anti-social, and particularly aggressive, wouldn't they? Ironically enough NO, the people you should be most suspicious of are the ones you...

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