Serial Murders Research Paper

Essay/Term paper: Serial killers in the u.s

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Serial Killers in the U.S

Before we can discuss what serial killers do, we must first define what a
serial killer is. Some people might place serial killers into the same group as
mass murderers. This would be incorrect because they are two totally different
types of killers. While both of these individuals may kill many people, the
difference lies in the reason they kill and the period over which they kill
their victims. An event or a build up of circumstance triggers mass murderers
and causes them to act. This may be the result of a stressful situation or
frustration either at work or in their private lives. For whatever reason, they
may choose to use a weapon and kill people that they feel are responsible for
their prob-lems. They may also kill total strangers in a bid to get even with
whomever or whatever they feel wronged them. Whatever their reason, they are
usually cooperative and quite often docile if they survive the episode. It
seems that this one-time outburst of violence, once enacted, puts an end to any
future events of this type for that individual. While the mass killer may kill
many people in one attack, when the attack is over, their mission is complete.
The mass killer's victims may not be chosen for any other reason than being in
the wrong place at the wrong time.
Serial killers are a totally different and more dangerous threat to society.
They may not kill many people at one time, but they may kill for many years
without being detected. They are able to kill again and again without being
caught because they are careful in their choices of victims. They typically pick
victims who are vulnerable and un-able to defend themselves such as children,
the elderly or women. They also pick victims who will not be missed by society,
such as migrant workers, prostitutes, hitchhikers or homosexuals. They may even
pick victims based on specifics such as physical build or hairstyle.
Because of the fact that many serial killers may be mobile, similarities in
crime scenes may go undetected by law enforcement agencies. The nation's police
departments often lack the modern equipment and technology needed to track and
recognize connections between cases. It is generally accepted that many cases
of serial murder have not been reported because of lack of evidence or the
person murdered is never noticed to be missing.
The U. S. has had more than 150 documented cases of serial killers since
1800. Retired FBI analyst John Doug-las believes that at any one time, there
may be from 30 to 50 serial killers active in the U. S. Good locations for
serial killers include any city or area large enough to support prostitution,
drug cultures, runaway children or street people. They can and do operate
successfully in rural areas.
Serial killers were once considered a rarity. Even though reports in Europe
go back as far as the fifteenth century, only a few were written about prior to
the mid twentieth century. One of the most widely written about was Jack the
Ripper, who claimed only 5 victims in a three-month period. This would put him
in the bottom of the class by to-day's standards. During the past twenty years,
serial killings have become more frequent. We have even seen up to a half dozen
of their cases on the news simultaneously. Cases such as San Francisco's Zodiac
Killer; New York City's Son of Sam; Atlanta's child murderer, Wayne Williams;
Los Angeles's Hillside Strangler; and Milwaukee's own, Jeffrey Dahmer. Many
times, they fit into a pattern, but sometimes there is no pattern. The
phenomenon is world-wide, from England's Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe's
killing of 13 women prior to 1981, to Russia's Rostov Cannibal, Anderei
Chikatilo, who slaughtered and partially consumed at least 53 men and women over
a 12 year period prior to 1990.
It is hard to predict whether a person will become a serial killer. A set
of childhood characteristics believed by many to be symptoms of violent behavior
has been named the "McDonald Triad". Named after psychiatrist John M. McDonald,
it speculates that three factors in a person's childhood may determine violent
behavior. These three fac-tors presumably linked to homicidal behavior are
bedwetting, firesetting, and torture of small animals. There is evidence that
many serial killers have some or all of these factors in their past. The fact
remains, there are many people with symptoms of the McDonald Triad who do not
become serial killers; unfortunately some do. One of the Hillside Stranglers,
Kenneth Bianci, had a bedwetting problem and had killed a cat before as a prank.
The Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, had set many fires, kept a diary and even
nicknamed himself the "Phantom Fireman". Alaska's Robert Hansen, murderer of at
least 17 women, was convicted of arson as a youth. An important fact is the
"McDonald Triad" is not believed to be a cause of violence, but only a set of
The typical serial killer is a white male in his late 20s or 30s and
murders his victims by beating or strangulation. He may appear cold, show no
remorse for his actions and might deny responsibility for his crimes, but
psychosis or severe mental illness is rarely present. Only an estimated 10 to 15
percent of serial killers are women. Males are much more likely to use extreme
violence such as bludgeoning, beating, strangling, or torture. Women on the
other hand favored poisoning or smothering their victims. Where men would
normally stalk their victims, the female se-rial killer would lure her victim to
their death. Researchers Anne Moir and David Jessel believe that serial
killers lack the voice of conscience that prevents most of us in doing things we
should not. Their research made them to believe that serial killers usually have
a sexual motive and an inability to appreciate the feelings of others. They only
survive because they are able to conceal their identities and appear to be
normal. "Most unexpectedly, in back-ground, in personality, and even in
appearance, the mass murderer is extraordinarily ordinary. This may be the key
to his extraordinary "talent" for murder: After all, who would ever suspect
Dr. Donald Lunde, a psychiatrist who studied 42 murderers over a 5-year
period, determined that there are two types of mentalities involved with these
types of crimes. The first of these is paranoid schizophrenia which may be
characterized by an aggressive, suspicious demeanor, hallucinations (usually,
hearing voices in their minds), or de-lusions of grandeur or persecution. The
second type is sexual sadism, which is distinguished by killing, torturing, or
mutilating victims for achieving their own sexual arousal. These killers view
their victims as objects or life-size dolls or enemies of normal people.
A good example of the paranoid schizophrenic murderer is David Berkowitz,
otherwise known as the Son of Sam. He said he killed because a man named "Sam"
told him to through demonically possessed dogs. A look, growl, or bark from the
dog would tell him who and where to attack. During one instance, the signal was
a sign of crossed dog feces on the ground that set him off. He left notes for
the police and even corresponded with a newspaper, rav-ing that he was the "Duke
of Death." Some believe Berkowitz is only making excuses for his behavior and we
may never know the whole truth. For whatever reason, he held one of the most
powerful cities in the world, New York City, in a state of fear. Even the heads
of several organized crime families were reported to have sent out their sol-
diers to find him. His rampage ended in August of 1977 and left six dead and
nine wounded.
The classic example of the sexual sadist type of killer is the six foot
nine inch, 280 pound, Edmund Kemper. At the age of fifteen, he shot and killed
both of his grandparents resulting in his being committed to a maximum-security
hospital for four years. This was only the beginning for Kemper, and upon his
release he shot, stabbed and strangled to death six coeds as they hitchhiked
from college. He also severed their heads and limbs, attempted to have sex with
the corpses, and devoured their flesh. He kept their heads preserved so that he
could use them for his sexual fulfillment. He later murdered his own mother and
her good friend. He then decapitated his mother, tore out her larynx, and threw
it down the garbage disposal. That way, in his opinion, she could never gripe
and yell at him again. From childhood, he had displayed signs of psychological
disorders. Kemper was fascinated by weapons and had cut the head and hands from
one of his sister's dolls. He also tortured and killed the families cat, which
hebeheaded and cut into pieces. He often fantasized about killing girls and
later explained, "…if I killed them, you know, they couldn't reject me as a
It is highly likely that the rise in reported serial killings is due to the
increasing law enforcement ability to recog-nize the patterns. There has also
been a real increase in the rate of serial murders, and this may be due to a
decline in law enforcement's ability to capture the murderers. This makes
solving the murders difficult because often the mo-tive is missing or not
obvious. It is accepted that many serial killers were probably caught early in
their careers, before their becoming experts. The nationwide rate of cleared
homicides before 1966 was 92 per cent. This rate hit 64 per cent in 1992,
meaning that unsolved homicides increased to about 8,400, which is almost as
many as the total number of murders in 1965. . This is further explained by the
fact that more and more murders are being committed by and against strangers. In
the past most violent crimes and murders were easy for police to solve. They
usually involved or resulted from greed, anger, jealously, profit, or revenge.
The serial killer differs in that he does not stop until he is caught. He gets
better at his crime each time he performs it and continually perfects his style.

Jeffrey Dahmer, killer of 17 young men over 13 years, would likely have
been stopped after his first killing had the police been able to pursue a search
of his vehicle. Dahmer was driving with body parts of his first victim in gar-
bage bags, on the back seat of his car in the early hours of the morning. Two
officers who thought he might be smuggling drugs or stolen goods stopped him.
They asked what was in the bag and he replied that it was just gar-bage he was
taking to the dump. They did not pursue it any further and Dahmer went on to
kill for thirteen more years.
Then there is the case of Coral Eugene Watts, who outsmarted prosecutors
and beat the system in spite of his I.Q. of only 75. At the age of 21, he
strangled two women, and although he left them for dead, both survived. Five
days later, he stabbed a 19-year-old college student 33 times, killing her.
Although identified as a suspect from the non- fatal assaults, Watts heeded the
Miranda warning and hired a lawyer. He then had himself committed to a mental
hospital. One year later, Watts bargained prosecutors to drop an assault charge
in return for a guilty plea on one charge. For this, he received a one-year
Immediately following his release, Watts killed six people in Michigan and
possibly another in Ontario. When the police suspected him again and put him
under surveillance, he moved to Texas. The Michigan cops notified the Texas cops
but it was too late. Within a few days, Watts had killed a jogger. He knifed two
women to death in one-night six months later. In the spring of 1982, he killed
six more in six weeks. Watts was finally captured while flee-ing an attack on
two women in their apartment, where another woman was found strangled in her
Declared legally sane by psychiatrists, Watts was diagnosed as a paranoid
schizophrenic with a pathological ha-tred of women. He supposedly struggled
against the evil he saw around him. He was not tried for homicide because he
agreed to a guilty plea on burglary and assault charges, receiving a 60-year
sentence and parole eligibility in 20 years. For this he confessed to 14 Houston
homicides and led police to three more bodies. Investigators believe his actual
body count is at least 22. Due to his plea bargain, he does not have to serve 20
years before becoming eligible for parole. He had a parole hearing in 1993 and
another in 1996. Currently, his release date is set for 2007.
Psychiatrists, along with the FBI crime analysts have taken the lead in
getting into the minds of serial killers. Psychiatrist Shervert Frazier
interviewed 42 murderers, including seven serial killers that had killed 3 to 13
victims each.
They also interviewed families, teachers, friends, police, and probation
authorities. Most of the serial killers were cooperative. Frazier found that
many of them had been subjected to brutal treatment as children. Many were
beaten repeatedly or sexually abused as children. They became more confused as
adolescents and adults, suffering from gender confusion, cross-dressing, and
abnormal sexual behavior. They suffered from hostile and murderous emo-tions,
but were also organized enough to plan and execute several murders.
Probably Chicago psychiatrist Helen L. Morrison conducted the most
extensive interviews with serial killers. She is the director of Chicago's
Evaluation Center and performed her first interview of a serial killer in 1975
out of pure curiosity. Dr. Morrison interviewed Richard Macek, the Mad Biter,
known for the bites he left on the young women he tortured and killed throughout
Illinois and Wisconsin. She was surprised to find that instead of an
intimidating person, Macek was a short, stocky man, who discussed his activities
with her openly. He had committed rapes and murders that included stabbing,
drowning, strangulation, mutilation, biting, and necrophilia.
Dr. Morrison studied 45 serial murderers around the world and interviewed
their wives and relatives. Most of these killers had murdered between 10 and 30
people each. She found that they chose their victims carefully and that many of
the victims of a killer resembled each other. The killings also were similar. In
her words, "They are basi-cally cookie-cutter people, so much alike
psychologically I could close my eyes and be talking to any one of them. They
are phenomenally alike in the way their psychology is set, the way they function,
and how they're misdiag-nosed."
She believes that the psychological development of serial killers stops at
about six months of age. Although she does not understand what stops the
development, she believes it is fixed in the first year of life. Dr. Morrison
does not believe serial killers ever reach individuation, where the infant
realizes that he is separate from both his mother and his surroundings. The
serial killer can not distinguish himself from others, and cannot distinguish a
human being from an inanimate object. Dr. Morrison's goal is to work towards
early recognition and apprehension of serial kill-ers. She stresses that serial
killers are incurable, and when put into prison, they must never be released.
The FBI became interested in interviewing imprisoned serial killers after
two psychiatrists, James A. Brussel and David G. Hubbard, showed the crime-
solving advantages of understanding the behavior patterns of compulsive
criminals. Brussel had amazed the law enforcement world with his profile of
Manhattan's Mad Bomber, George Metesky. He was so specific that he even
accurately predicted what the bomber would be wearing when arrested, a double-
breasted suit, neatly buttoned. Hubbard helped put a stop to a wave of
skyjacking during 1968-72 by inter-viewing every known skyjacker in captivity.
He designed techniques to psychologically take them apart and shut down their
fantasies of power and control. Hubbard then assisted the airlines with a
training program that helped the airlines by enabling pilots and flight
attendants to abort 42 consecutive skyjackings and put a stop to the fad. The
skyjacking rate fell from 7 or 8 per month to zero. This occurred six months
before installation of metal detectors in the nation's airports.
Their successes led the FBI to create a Behavioral Sciences Unit at the FBI
Academy in Quantico, Virginia. This later evolved into the National Center for
the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC). The FBI's agents began inter-viewing
imprisoned assassins and serial killers in 1978. It is noted that most of the
killers were often very happy to talk about themselves and what they had done.
During a six year period, they interviewed 38 of the nation's most notorious
murderers including, Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, David Berkowitz (Son of Sam),
Ted Bundy, and Ed Gein, a murderer cannibal who was the main inspiration for the
movies "Psycho" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massa-cre."
To date the FBI has studied more that a hundred serial murderers, a
multitude of serial rapists, and dozens of se-rial arsonists. They found a
connection between arson and murder in a study of 36 murderers. They noticed
that 58 per cent set fires as children, 52 per cent set fires as adolescents,
and only 8 per cent set fires as adults. The FBI be-lieves that they made a
choice to move from arson to murder because it gave them more fulfillment. An
example of this is David Berkowitz, who set 1,412 fires and switched over to
killing because it gave him more excitement and power and got him newspaper and
TV coverage.
A leader in the field of understanding and profiling serial killers has
been FBI Agent, retired, John Douglas. He has learned that serial killers all
leave signs at their crime scenes and that their behavior reflects their
personality. The method chosen to kill, the position of the body, the type of
victim, and the entire scene all speak out to the pro-filer, just as symptoms of
a disease speak to a doctor. Douglas learned how to pinpoint the personality and
traits of a specific murderer by using and understanding this information. He
became incredibly accurate.
A superb profile of Alaska's Robert Hansen led to the end of 17 year long
murder spree. The Anchorage police contacted Douglas in 1983, when their state
troopers had Robert Hansen as a suspect. The bodies of several women were found
on the Kenai Peninsula and around the Anchorage area. Many strippers and
prostitutes had also simply disappeared over the years and no evidence had been
found. Because of the transient nature of these women, it was hard to prove
anything had happened to them. The problem was that their suspect did not appear
to be the type of person who would have committed such crimes. Hansen was a
respectable man, married with a family, and a pillar of the community. Hansen
also had several bow hunting big game world records and was well known in the
sports-man communities. The police described the crimes over the phone to
Douglas and he described their suspect spe-cifically. He described a suspect in
his 40's, a well-respected member of the community, a stutterer, a former shop-
lifter and arsonist, and a person of above average intelligence. This profile
alerted the police that Hansen was most likely their man. They immediately put
him under 24-hour surveillance and used the profile as behavioral evi-dence to
justify a search of Hansen's home. This search gave them the evidence they
needed to put Hansen away permanently. The evidence found included the Mini 14
rifle used in many of the killings, personal belongings of some of the victims,
and an aviation map marked with Xs where some victims were found. Hansen
assisted the po-lice with finding the bodies of his missing victims and
confessed to the murder of 17 women and the rape of more than 30. The
authorities believe he killed many more. They also believe he flew his victims
out into remote areas of Alaska, where he raped them and turned them loose so
that he could hunt them down and shoot them from the air. In February 1884,
Hansen was sentenced to 499 years plus life, without parole. Profiling has
definitely become a valuable tool in helping police departments capture serial
John Douglas does not believe that serial killers are born that way but
instead are created. His belief is that crime is a moral problem and that it can
only be resolved on a moral level. He further says that he has never seen one of
these killers come from a good background, with a supportive and functional
family. In his opinion, the vast major-ity of violent offenders is responsible
for their behavior, makes their own choices, and should face the conse-quences.
There still is no real explanation for serial killers. Many young men match
the family backgrounds and emotional patterns of some of our most infamous
serial killers, but they have not become killers themselves. Statistically, only
a few make the transition to murder. It is likely that serial killers have been
around as long as man has been here. It seems that the only way to stop them is
for law enforcement to learn to think like them. When they do catch them they
should be put away.
Death penalty abolitionists propose three main points: that capital
punishment is legalized murder; that death sentences are unfairly dealt out to
minorities; and that an innocent person might be executed in error. In the case
of serial killers, these arguments do not stand up. Joel D. Roberts challenges
these points by making the distinction that executing murderers is no more the
equal of murder than incarcerating kidnapers is the equivalent of kidnapping. In
the first case, both people die, while in the second case, both lose their
freedom. The second point of race can not be claimed a factor because most
serial killers are white. The question of executing an innocent person is not a
factor because normally the question is not if, but how many they murdered.
There is good sense in interviewing serial killers to understand why they do it
and to capture and prevent others from doing the same. I believe that once we
interview them and study them briefly, justice should be swift.
The death penalty may not necessarily be a deterrent, but it is a means of
administering justice. When John Wayne Gacy was executed for the murder of 33
men and boys, his former prosecutor commented that the death pen-alty would
deter Gacy from killing again. I believe that Joel D. Roberts says it best when
discussing Richard Rami-rez, the Night Stalker (On Death Row for 19 murders);
"Speaking of questions, I have a few of my own… How many lives does a man have
to take before we deem him undeserving of life? How much of our money does he
have to consume before we resolve he'll consume no more? How God-awful does a
human being have to be before the American Civil Liberties Union will pronounce
him beyond pale? How many death sentences must a murderer re-ceive before the
first is carried out? The answers to these questions are far from imminent.
They, like the Night Stalker, will linger at length. Meanwhile, the Satanist who
gouged out the eyes of one of his victims - was she alive or dead at the time? -
watches TV, piles up pentagrams and attends to his correspondence with fans.
He's apparently happy, his health is robust, and we're told he needs no
medication to sleep."


Joel D. Roberts, Column Right/Joel D. Roberts; Why is the Night Stalker Still
Alive? Home Edition, Los An-geles Times, 11-06-1994

John Douglas, Mind Hunter, Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit, Pocket Star
Books, 1996 Bernard Du Clos, Fair Game, 1993

Eugene Methvin, The Face of Evil, Vol. 47, National Review, 01-23-1995, pp. 34

Jack Levin and James Alan Fox, Mass Murder, America's Growing Menace, 1985,
Plenum Press

Larry Siegal, Criminology, West Publishing Company, 1995

Jill Serjeant, Mad or Simply Evil? Serial Killers test experts., Reuters, 11-27-


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Essay/Term paper: Serial killers and mass murderers

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Miscellaneous

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Thomas Blankenship

6 April 2000

Mrs. Waggener

English II

Mass Murderers and Serial Killers

Mass Murderers and Serial Killers are nothing new to today"s society. These vicious killers are all violent, brutal monsters and have an abnormal urge to kill. What gives people these urges to kill? What motivates them to keep killing? Do these killers get satisfaction from killing? Is there a difference between mass murderers and serial killers or are they the same. How do they choose their victims and what are some of their characteristics? These questions and many more are reasons why I was eager to write my paper on mass murderers and serial killers. However, the most interesting and sought after questions are the ones that have always been controversial. One example is; what goes on inside the mind of a killer? In this paper I will try to develop a better understanding of these driven killers and their motives.

Although mass murderers and serial killers are both dangerous and somewhat sick people, there are several distinct characteristics of each that put them in different categories. The most distinct differences between the two are; Most mass killers kill several victims over a relatively short period of time, usually hours, but sometimes days (Murder 1). Serial killers most often kill his or her victims separately, over a much longer period of time, sometimes lasting several years until the killer is taken into custody by authorities or killed.

If a mass killer"s murders are committed in more than just a single location, then they are part of a continuous action (Murder 1). Their victims are usually chosen at random, not just killed at first sight. Their targets may also come in specific groups. More than occasionally, a mass murderer will take his own life after his urge to kill is over. This is possibly because authorities recognize the killer is unstable and are likely to shoot the killer in order to protect themselves. A typical mass murderer uses a semi-automatic weapon and plots his murders to be made in a school, university, or restaurant (murder 1).

Serial killers commonly attack a single target at a time one on one. There also tends to be no or very little relation between the person being killed and the killer (murder 1). "The nature of this drive has been heavily debated, but there is a consensus on some points (Anderson 1)." Many researchers have noted sexual behavior in the murder. This point was first introduced twenty years ago by David Abrahamson. More recently, this was qualified by Albert Drukteinis who recognized that "the sexual element of the crime varies depending on its meaning to the offender" (Anderson 1). This means, whatever trademarks womanhood may differ between killers. At the same time, similarities in the acts and thoughts of serial killers cannot be denied. "These sexual undertones are one of the more prominent difference, and have inspired several researchers to refer to the self-motivated serial murderer as a serial sexual murderer" (Anderson 1).

"Although there may be a "pattern" or "victim" trait, individual murders within a series rarely display a clearly defined or rational motive." (Murder 1) With the invention of the automobile many years ago, there has been a growing increase in serial killings. This is due to the fact that an automobile enables the killers to move quickly and unnoticed from one place to another before the murder is discovered. When a serial killer kills, there is often a high level of over brutality meaning the killer tends to do more than kill the victim; such as putting them through unnecessary pain. The last and possibly one of the most unique characteristics of a serial killer is their choice to stab or strangle their victims.

In an article off of the Mass Murder Web Site titled "Murder Characteristics", many of these characteristics were described.

Mass Killers usually attack schools, universities and restaurants believing it to be a place for a maximum kill effect, usually

striking with a semi-automatic weapon and wearing camouflage gear, they attempt to kill all they see and their rampage usually ends with them committing suicide or being killed/captured by police. Serial killers are different. They can usually go up to years without being caught and when they are caught its usually by the weight of evidence against them, or sometimes they can get caught by chance like the Yorkshire Ripper. They prefer to stab or strangle their victims and sometimes strangle them like David Berkoitze. They sometimes leave trophies or leave trademarks of their crimes. Some

Serial Killers prefer to rape their victims before they kill them, like Ted Bundy or Dean Corll (Murder 2)

If someone brutally and abundantly kills several people in a single episode, they would be most likely labeled as a mass murderer. As modern as mass murders may seem, they are not. However, they are rapidly becoming more popular by the day. "These lethal crimes are increasingly common. Mass murder is not a twentieth century phenomenon, but theorist believe that break down in social contracts during the past three or four decades undermined the inhibitions that ordinarily keep a person from acting on impulses to kill" (True Crime: Mass 3).

A mass murder is often triggered by en event that may or may not be related to the killer"s real problems. They often store many of the disappointments, grievances, and frustrations inside until one incident makes them explode with violent rage (True Crime: Mass 6). After carrying a burden of the many elements of anger and sadness that keep inside, he or she reacts like a bomb setting out for the people the murderer blames for this burden.

Most serial killers are white males between the ages of 25 and 35 years old with an intelligence level of average or higher. They also tend to be married with children and have a career (Serial 1). They also seem to have a childhood past of being physically and sexually abused and are from broken homes. As children, they often wet the bed, were infatuated with masturbation, were cruel to animals, and liked playing with fire. Because of their childhood, they often develop a psychopathic nature and do not know how to feel sympathy or be in a relationship (Scott 2). Because of their insecurity, a compulsive need to feel like they are in authority becomes a vital part of their well-being, even at the cost of others lives.

As Americans look back at the past one hundred years, we stand in awe while looking at the drastic increase in crime. However, at the same time we have a hunger for knowledge of these crimes as we search for and interesting theory. People want to know every detail of the most brutal crimes, and moreover, how they were committed. Angie cannon insists that this is because people want to believe that it cannot happen to themselves. "We want to know how these unspeakable acts were committed, to convince ourselves that we are immune from the same wretched fait (Cannon 1)." Lee Ross also states a similar theory, which indicates that "Every suicide is unconsciously a suicide and every suicide is, in a sense, a psychological homicide" (Ross 1).

Although many of these murderers kill out of hate and anger, many kill out of love and passion. The editors of Time Magazine quoted;

Love is a risky business, there are no guarantees that it won"t turn sour or die, nor is their any insurance to protect against cooling passion, broken vows, deceit, or desertion. Most people who have been rejected by a lover or spurred by a spouse, although their heartbreak and humiliation, eventually get on with life. For a few, however, the injured lover"s emotion turns inside out and takes on lethal proportions. The price expected for betrayal is death, in some cases from faithless partners, in others from an unsurprising rival. However the victim, a crime of passion is a reverse act of devotion, a murderous testament to the killers depth of feeling that is as powerful as any declaration of love (True Crime: Passion 79).

Crimes of passion are a perfect example of insecurity. These killers who commit these crimes seem to turn against their lover because they feel like their lover hurt he or she intentionally. The killer does not understand how someone they cared about so much could turn on them. This passion becomes frustration and hate takes over, the killer fills that killing the perpetrator will bring him ease the pain. However, murders of passion, along with any other murder, can also be linked to their biology.

Killers are characterized individually, each with unique motives, which are possibly shaped not only by their past but also by biology. Criminal behavior "is likely to operate through individual difference in intelligence, personality, and mental disorder, all of long-standing as explanations of criminal behavior, and all of which are known to have a simple genetic component"(Feldman 134). This theory does not state that criminals kill because of their biological characteristics, but that many of the characteristics of a killer can be linked to biology.

The magnitude of how humanity can become dangerous brutal outlaws can be catalogued into one of two broad divisions, social environmental and bio-physiological (Athens 1). This theory does not mean that the reason for someone to become a killer is based completely on environmental or biological factors. This theory is based on the belief that "classification rests only on the presumption that in all theories, one kind of factor is invariably emphasized" (Athens 1). This means that environmental and biological factors can both influence people to kill.

Mass murderers and serial killers are the most dangerous and brutal killers around. There are many theories that influence criminologist and psychologist alike in determining what drives these killers. They research the many factors such as genetics, society, childhood, and even the need for security and love in hope of discovering why people become killers. As these people attempt to unscramble these factors and look at other possibilities, the rest of the world watches in hopes of an answer that may never be found.Bibliography Page

Thomas Blankenship


English II

Mrs. Waggener

Athens, Lonnie H. The Creation of Dangerous Violent Criminals. London: Routledge, 1992. This book explains a theory that brutal action is a

Composite experience that comes from three different elements.

Anderson, Jeremy. Genesis of a Serial Killer. Decorah: Illinois, 1993.

Http: //www.Genesis/

This article is from a student at Luther College who is in the psycholigy department analyzing research on serial killers.

Cannon, Angie. "The Awful Acts of the Past One Hundred Years Forced

America To Look At Itself In The Mirror." U.S. News & World Report.

Vol. 127 (1999) 41-51. This article talks about how America looks down on crime but at the same time clings to every detail.

Feldman, Philip. The Psychology of Crime. New York, NY: Cambridge

University Press, 1993. This Book explains how genetics can and cannot be related to violent crimes.

"Murder Characteristics." Mass Murder Website. Feb. 2000.

Http:// (21 Mach

2000) This article explains the difference between mass killers and serial killers.

Ross, Lee E. "Mass Murder, Suicide, and Moral Development: Can We Separate

The Adults From the Juveniles?" International Journal of Offender Therapy And Comparitive Criminology. Vol. 43 (1999) 8-20. This article talks about mass murders of teens and adults.

Scott, Shirley Lynn. "What Makes Killers Tick" Crime Library. June 2000.

http://www.crimelibrary/serials/what/whatmain/htm. (21 march 2000)

describes the possible urges that many murderers may feel influencing

them to kill.

"Serial Killer Characteristics" Serial Killer Exposed. May 99.

http;// killers exposed/Index.htm. (21 March 2000) This article talks describes a few of the statistics of mass killers.

True Crime: Crimes of Passion. eds. Time Life Books. Alexandria virginia:1994

This article explains how love also comes with deciet and anger which often triggers people to kill.

True Crime: Mass Murderers. eds. Time Life Books. Alexandria Virginia: 1992

This journal article explains the common profile of a mass murderer and some of their common characteristics.


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