The Causation of Serial Killers
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The Causation of Serial Killers
People become serial killers for many reasons. Serial Killers are people with three or more
seperate events with an emotional cooling off period between homicides with an emotional cooling- off
period between homicides with each murder taking place at a different location. (Schechter and Everitt, 69).
Serial killers are the most frightening psychopaths because they do not reveal any of the basic human
emotions- empathy, conscience, or remorse, (Schechter and Everitt, 179). According to Schechter and
Everitt, authors of the A-Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers, Serial Killers tend to be Caucasian men who kill
white victims. Their studies have shown that 84% of serial killers are Caucasian, 90% are males, and 89%
of the victims are white. There are four types of serial killers*. The most common one is the Lust Killer
who kills to sexually stimulate themselves. The more they torture a victim, the pleasure the serial killer
receives (Who is a Serial Killer?, 5). Although serial killers are well known today, they originated as far
back as ancient Rome.
Serial killing first started when the Roman Emperor Caligula tested torture and perversion on his
prisoners . Most crime buffs believed that the first modern era serial killer was Jack the Ripper, a man who
killed five London streetwalkers. Serial killing did not become well known until the post- world war II. By
the 1970\'s serial killing had become such a problem that law enforcement officials needed to define the new
crime category (Schechter and Everitt, 115). Former FBI agent Robert K. Ressler coined the term "Serial
Killer", which has become well known among society. This psychopathic behavior grew to all parts of the
world, including Canada. For example, Paul Bernardo, also known as the Scarborough Rapist, killed two
Ontario teenagers. Most serial killers situate in the United States. 76% of the worlds serial killers come
from the United States (Schechter and Everitt, 276). Although serial killers are increasing people still
speculate the reasoning of such psychopathic behavior.
Many people wonder the causes of the disturbing behavior of serial killers. The most plausible and
believable theory is that traumatic childhood experiences lead directly to the behavior of serial killers. The
"Homicide Triad", sadistic daydreaming and abuse of a child are key factors in the development of a serial
killer. The "Homicide Triad" that includes enuresis, arson and animal torture as a child, is one of the most
common traits of a serial killer.
A key component that causes serial killer behavior is the "homicide triad" experienced as a child.
The triad is made up of
fire-starting, enuresis and sadistic behavior . One of the important and most common parts of the
"homicide Triad" is Arson. John E. Douglas, a psychological profiler, believes that the future serial killers
are arsonists because of a "fascination due to their fondness of spectacular destruction"(Schechter and
Everitt, 282). He concludes that a serial killer\'s fascination for destruction increases as they get older and
they turn to murder to satisfy their need for destruction. John E. Douglas and his colleagues Ann Burgess
and Robert Ressler interviewed many serial killers and found that 56% of serial killers were arsonists as
children (The Life of a Child: Childhood Traits of a Serial Killer, 3). Teenage killer George Adorno, set fire
to his own sister at the age of four. Another example would include serial killer Carl Panzram, who killed
twenty-one people. While Panzram was in reform school for theft at the age of eleven, he torched the
school, costing more than one hundred thousand dollars worth of damage (Schechter and Everitt, 283).
Sadistic activity, bed-wetting, and fire-starting are common threads among serial killers that supports the
theory that childhood experiences relate to psychopathic behavior. Besides the three symptoms of the
"Homicide Triad," another common denominator in the childhood of a serial killer is sadistic daydreaming.
Another problem serial killers faced as children was Sadistic daydreaming. These daydreams were
usually of sexual and violent nature. A psychology professor at Luther College, Jeremy Anderson states
"Future serial killers have sexual fantasies as children to help control their fear and it is a way to relieve
hostility and aggression towards others"(Anderson, 50). A child uses sexual fantasies as a form of escape
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