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Are some people born serial killer - Research Paper Example

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There has been an increased interest in the minds and workings of the so-called “serial killer.” The definition of a serial killer, according to Scott (2000), is “someone who, through premeditation, kills three or more people in a period of time” (Scott, 2000, p. 12). …
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Download file to see previous pages 12). According to this description, there has been over 200 serial killers over a period of more than 100 years, and that these murderers killed, on average, between 8 and 14 victims during the period of 4 to 8 years. Further, Scott states that the stereotype of the serial killer, according to the popular public perception, is that these killers are male, psychopathic and sexual sadists (Scott, 2000).
Keeney & Heide (2000) state that serial killers must be distinguished from spree killers and mass murderers. A mass murderer is somebody who kills a large amount of people in one setting. The Columbine murders come to mind, as does the case of George Hennard, who killed 23 people in a Luby's Diner in Killeen, Texas in October of 1991. The spree killer, on the other hand, is somebody who kills many people in different locations, but in the context of one event. The case of Andrew Cunanan, who killed the designer Gianni Versace, as well as a number of other individuals around the country, before finally killing himself, is an example of this. The spree killer is different from the serial killer, because there is not a “cooling off” period. This means that there was not a chance for the killer to calm down – the killer is keyed up throughout his killing spree. The serial killer, on the other hand, kills, then has periods of calm and kills again, etc. (Keeney & Heide, 2000). There has been a number of theories about how serial killers are “formed” - are they born with the disposition to become serial killers, or is it entirely the environment, or is it a combination of both? The following will demonstrate the pros regarding the theory that serial killers are born, not made, then the cons, which argue that serial killers are made, not born. In the end, it seems to be a combination of both, although it might be different for every killer. Pros Bi-Polar Disorder, an inherited disorder, is a component in serial killer personality. The theory above has been put forth by Jonathan Pincus and Dorothy Lewis. The two have studied serial killers for years, and have written a book detailing their theory on what “creates “ a serial killer. By “trifecta,” Pincus and Lewis state that serial killers invariably show a combination of brain damage, mental illness and prior abuse (Pincus, 2001, p. 27). Louis Culpepper, who was not a serial killer, but was a child molester, was the first person who Pincus examined who showed the trifecta. Culpepper was thirty years old and was molesting his six year old stepdaughter. Pincus examined Culpepper and found that Culpepper had frontal lobe damage, and was physically and sexually abused as a child. (Pincus, 2001, p. 27). Culpepper was the initial criminal who showed signs of this trifecta. From there, Pincus examined serial killers, and found that every one of these killers had the trifecta as well. Pincus' theory led him to believe that the typical serial killer suffered from bi-polar disorder, which means that they go through bouts of mania, and it is during this mania that the killer would go through the kinds of manic urges that marks the start of the urge to kill. This is one of the reasons why many serial killers appear normal to the outside world, theorizes Pincus, because if the killer is not going through a manic state, that individual will appear calm and placid to the outside world. Thus, the typical refrain of “I can't believe that he would do this – he seemed like such a nice fellow” is explained by this, according to Pincus (Pincus, 2001, p. 129). Thus, this part of the trifecta is inherited, and it is an important component. Still, this does not tell the whole story, as evidenced below in the cons section – ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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