Serial Killers

1 January 2017

What is a serial killer? Eric Hickey (2012) in “Serial Killers: Defining Serial Murder” defines what a serial killer is exactly. In the article the Hickey describes serial killers are usually sexual attacks and murder of young women, men, and children by a male who follows a patter, physical or psychological. I think that the author made a good definition of a serial killer, even though it is stereotypical to describe a serial killer. Scientists have trouble picking a side in the debate because some serial killers represent one side and the others on the other side.

Shirley Scott in (2012) “What makes serial killers tick” gave some examples of some red flags. Statistically, the average serial killer is a white male from a lower-to-middle-class background, usually in his twenties or thirties. Many were physically or emotionally abused by parents. Some were adopted. As children, fledgling serial killers often set fires, torture animals, and wet their beds. These examples of red flags are perfect. People need to know what kind of things they need to look for to keep their kids and themselves safe.

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The nature versus Nurture debate Nature In the article “Biological determinism” explains that Biological determinism is the theory that our genes and genetic makeup determine every aspect of our being and of our personality. The people that believe in biological determinism believe that things are predetermined and the environment and social factors cannot influence or change them. Daniel Larson (2012) in “Serial murderers: The Construction” goes into detail about the psychological side of the debate.

Fox and Levin find that serial killers “know right from wrong, know exactly what they are doing, and can control their desire to kill, but choose not to do so; they are more cruel than crazy” (Fox and Levin 1994). Instead of the insanity plea, it is found that serial murderers tend to be more sociopathic than anything. Sociopaths, or psychopaths, are classified more as people with a disorder of character rather than the mind. It is found that the insane are typically not mentally able to carry out the act of murder let alone plan one (Fox and Levin 1994) there was study done by Reid, et al.

The intention of his study was to identify demographic, clinical, and forensic characteristics of adolescent mass murderers. The subjects were obtained by a criminal computer databases, finding 34 subjects committed 27 mass murders between 1958 and 1999. These results show also that all subjects were male with a median age resting at 17 years. Other observations were as follows: many were described as ‘loners,’ typically having antisocial disorder, almost half were bullied, and alcohol and drug abuse among the subjects was common.

These results are representative of only adolescent mass murderers; however, they indicate what qualities and characteristics are frequent of killers in general, especially when one considers the works of Freud and Mead and their theories of childhood socialization (Brym and Lie 2003). Further, the outcome does reflect the same trend as the study by Lundy, Pfohl, and Kuperman, that is sociopath is evident in most murderers. Kelsey Henry in “Psychological perspectives on free will vs. determinism and nature v. urture” states that according to this theory, physical matter is subject to the laws of science while the human mind does not abide by any natural law. This concept remained the basis of scientific thought for some time until modern science proved that some behavior has a biological basis and some personality traits are passed down through genetics. Nurture The nurture part of the debate is how the person was raised. The national center for crisis posted article “Serial killers: nature vs. nurture.

How serial killer are born” going into detail about the crimes that have happened and if it was connected to their past and if they were abused at a young age. The serial killer may have been beat when they were young and they learned from their parents. Larson in “Serial murderers: The Construction” states that socialization is said to begin after birth. The social learning theory is a theory that uses the childhood of serial offenders to identify the main reasons for causation. The social learning theory examines the offender’s past for clues in explaining aggressive behavior.

The central idea of this theory is the relation of childhood victimization or observation of violent acts to future activities in criminal behavior. According to Hickey, stress caused by childhood traumatization may be a trigger to criminal behavior in adulthood. It is important to understand that most people go through one or more of these traumatization with no lifelong effects. However, in the future serial killer, the inability to cope with the stress involved with these traumas leads to the offending acts.

Hickey continues to say that the most common form of childhood traumatization is familial rejection, while other traumas act as the icing on the cake, they top it off. Kellie Wallace (2012) in “Nature vs. nurture: Are serial killers born or made? ” shared a quote from Ted Bundy. “The environment can play a large role too. Ted Bundy infamously said that pornography triggered his blood lust to kill. “It influences their perspective, changes their decision making and pushes those boundaries,” Ian Minnis said.

As a society, we cannot monitor every household however small changes must be made in the most unusual places. As Doris McIlwain said earlier in the interview, “Prisons do not rehabilitate. (We need to have) a society that opens up opportunity for those who are struggling and emphasize positive community bonds – not just punishment. ”” Conclusion The authors reviewed here agree that the nature versus nurture theory can clearly go either way. Scientists still have to gather more information to prove a standing ground on the matter.

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Serial Killers. (2017, Jan 03). Retrieved March 23, 2019, from
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