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What Makes A Serial Killer? Essay

1685 words - 7 pages

Carl Panzram, also known as Jeff Rhodes and John O’Leary, had an obsessive hatred for the human race that bordered on the maniacal. This loathing for himself and his fellow-man was taken out in a lifetime of murder and mayhem. What would make someone prey upon other humans? A serial killer is a unique person that becomes one through many factors such as genetic impairments, environmental issues, and childhood events; through many examples these are common in almost all.
Almost all people know who serial killers are, but what exactly defines a serial killer. The FBI defines serial murder as “a minimum of three to four victims with a ‘cooling off’ period between, the killer is usually a stranger to the victim, the murders reflect a need to sadistically dominate the victim, and the murder is rarely for profit.” (Vronsky, 2004, p.36) Serial killers are usually a white male from a lower-to-middle-class background typically in his twenties or thirties. Also, 85% of the world’s serial killers live in America, with at least twenty to fifty unidentified active serial killers plotting another one of their killings. On average, every person has seen or met at least 37 serial killers in their lifespan.
Serial killing, although not in the same form, has been around since the beginning of time. Unlike today, in ancient times many killed for power, revenge, or a blood lust. For example, during the middle ages, Gilles de Raid, the original “Bluebeard,” and Elizabeth Bathory, the “Blood Countess,” were believed to be werewolves for their heinous acts upon countless victims. Today, it is more commonly used to satisfy a blood lust or to gain control over another person. Vlad the Impaler, a ruthless ruler known as Dracula, killed thousands of his subjects for fun. Sadly, these serial killers are more common today than the past; the reason to this is the way of life in olden times. ("Serial killers throughout," 2007)
Jeffery Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Mark Smith, Richard Chase, Ted Bundy; these five men alone have been responsible for at least 90 deaths. Most people would think the only possible explanation for these acts is that they are insane. Contrary to popular belief, they are rarely ever insane. Insanity defined is: “does the offender understand the difference between right and wrong?”(Scott, 2012) In simpler terms, if the killer is not insane he will try to hide his crime because he is showing he has done something he knows is wrong. However, to avoid death row the killer will try to be declared “legally insane.” For example, “Acid Bath Murderer” John Heigh drank his own urine in front of a jury to convince he was insane, but he was still convicted to jail.
If insanity isn’t the answer to their murderous ways, what Serial killers are divided into two categories, psychopaths and sociopaths. “Both are diagnosed by their purposeless and irrational antisocial behavior, lack of conscience, and emotional vacuity.” (Scott, 2012) Both are...

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