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The Biology Of A Serial Killer

2665 words - 11 pages

The year is 1967 and Theodore Bundy, an average American college student has fallen in love with Stephanie, a dark haired co-ed of the same state university. He convinces her to go on a few dates, but she quickly loses interest, later citing his lack of ambition. The rejection on his heels, Bundy shifts gears and spends the next six years of his life transforming himself into the law student of her dreams. When they meet again Bundy holds the upper hand and Stephanie falls in love. A short time after the small wedding ceremony Bundy abandons Stephanie during a ski vacation and she never hears from him again.(2)

In the context of this short historical blip from the life of America's most "normal" serial killer the ensuing killing and mutilation spree may be explained in any number of ways. Biologically we could look for an imbalance in neurotransmitter firing or an oversized development in the frontal lobe of his brain. Sociologically we could point to society's need to produce deviants in order to see itself more clearly. A psychoanalyst might notice that Stephanie and most of his victims bore a strange resemblance to Bundy's mother, of whose identity he was deceived until late in adolescence.

Each of these explanations provides its own compelling paradigm for looking at 'abnormal' behavior, then leaves great gaps in the understanding of our own 'normally' irregular behavior. We will forever be attracted to deviance models as a way of examining that which we are not, but 'normal' human behavior is also sporadic. More vigorous models are needed to take in the inconsistency, pick out the places where patterns begin to emerge, and go there to seek a more profound summary of observations.

With the help of these models we will find a place among us for naturally occurring Ted Bundy's, but more importantly is the perspective we gain in looking towards our own variable behavior against the backdrop of millions of years of evolution. At the end we will have few definitive answers, but many notable implications for the way that we perceive our world on many different levels.

For a jumping off point we start with the smallest example of randomness found in nature: the atom. The Second Law of Thermodynamics describes a system beginning with a large but already dissipated amount of energy coming from the breakdown of chemicals in the sun and ending when that energy disperses at the level of each tiny atom whose 'random' movement is propelled by that energy.(10)

The study of Entropy is the study of the amounts of this energy being dispersed in a given process at a certain temperature. Although this is a founding law of nature, life does not rise from nature through entropy but through the blocking of entropy. While each particle carrying a potential amount of energy will unload that energy and spread it to as many other less energetic particles as possible, systems work to use the energy by creating boundaries and walls, both physical...

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