Serial Killer Characteristics

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Serial Killers in America
What defines a serial killer? A serial killer is a person who murders two or more people alone, over a period of one month. They usually have a cooling period between each murder, in order to perfect the next one. Serial Killers are people who “are… driven by instinct and a desire to kill” (Nature Vs. Nurture- The un-answered question), which usually lead serial killers to murder strangers. Grover Goodwin conducted a study that shows 90 % of the victims of serial killers are complete strangers to the killer and the majority of the serial killers are male. He also added that their crimes are based on psychological satisfaction (Nature Vs. Nurture- The un-answered question). In this paper, I will cover the characteristics
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Some Serial Killers have all the characteristics while others showcase only some of them. These 10 characteristics are: alcohol and substance abuse, psychological abuse during childhood, sexually stressful event in childhood, bed-wetting, growing up lonely and isolated, fantasies, preferring auto-erotic activities, developing voyeurism and fetishism in adulthood, acting out fantasies on animals, and physical injuries.
The first set of characteristics relate to exposure of alcohol and substance abuse. According to FBI’s statistics, their study shows that more then 70 percent of serial killers where exposed to alcohol or substance abuse, in their home. The exposure can start in the womb as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, small eye opening, retardation, or issues in their central nervous tissues, which is a brain defect that occurs if they survive birth. Being raised in a home where substances abused is more traumatic; these children develop ADHD, signs of depression and behavioral problems, attachment disorders, doubt and feeling imperfect can manifest from a very young
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Some killers kill for fame while others crave the satisfaction of the kill. There are four categories of motives that serial killers fall into and they are: visionary, mission-oriented, self-gratifying and power/control.
Visionary killers often fall out of reality and suffer from psychotic breaks. They often believe they are someone else or they are compelled by the Devil or God to commit the crimes, in order to better serve their master. An example of a visionary killer is David Berkowitz, known as Son of Sam. He committed a total of 6 murders and wounded so many. He was arrested in August 10,1977 after a witness discover a detail that would help the police. During questioning Berkowitz stated that his neighbor Sam is the devil and Sam sent a message to him through his dog, telling him to kill (Berkowitz, 2014).
Mission-oriented killers are not generally psychotic, but often have an explanation for the crime they are committing. They usually purge the people they believe to be immoral, in order for the world to be in a better place. Some of the people they believe are immoral could be prostitutes, homosexuals, and people with different ethnicities or religions than the killer, himself. An example of a mission-oriented killer is Colin Ireland. He was a former soldier who decided to become a serial killer that only target gay man. He believed in making the world a better place. He killed 5 gay men, earning the name “Gay Slayer”.

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