Interpreting the mind of a serial killer

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Interpreting the mind of a serial killer

Scott Dang, Staff Writer

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From the infamous Jack the Ripper killings of the late 1800s to the more recent Ted Bundy cases, serial killers, without uncertainty, have become a staple in all of humanity’s gruesome history. These atrocities are to be a great stain in human society, but in absence of light, what is the darkness that lingers in the minds of serial killers for them to commit such acts in the first place?

A serial killer and/or serial murderer, by definition accredited to the FBI, is “the unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s), in separate events.”

Knowing this, it comes to a great length in terms of the mental offset scale that the culprit might have in terms of psychological constancy. This wavering sense of a proper categorization brings people to ask whether or not the majority of serial killers are mentally sane in the act or have a history of mental illness conditions that contribute to such.

In the beginning of 1992, Psychology Professor Dr. Mike Aamodt of Radford University began research on gathering statistics to this very day on confirmed culprits of serial killings in collaboration with the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). Such research suggested that as of early 2017, the reported three-thousand perpetrators killed for either enjoyment or financial perks, with emotions and other psychological strains culminating the bottom of the list. Though the research did not have a full statement on the conclusive mental well-being of the serial killers, it does give people a glimpse into how society might have a role in forging murderers. One of the many instances that could’ve proved such a concept was in the instance of the notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy.

Though Bundy was regarded as a superb student, it was noted the he was fascinated by knives at an unusual age of 3. But it was in elementary that his darker side began to grow. It was then that Bundy began to engage in detrimental acts in the small scale with no sense of guilt or remorse as stated by him. Nevertheless, years passed and Bundy still gained success in his education, including a personal recommendation from the Republican governor of Washington. As a student at the University of Washington, Bundy met his fated love, but was then ruined by the upcoming breakup that was to follow. It was this key detail in his life that things started spinning out of control. Shortly after the breakup, Bundy began his murder spree on women that notably had the same features as the woman who had previously broken up with him. As coincidental as it may have seemed, this same pattern went on for tens of times, growing his supposed victim count to a bit higher than one-hundred.

Though this case of Bundy’s life does show the true extent in how a person may cause one another to resort to drastic violence, it is without saying that Bundy’s interest in death during his early childhood may have been an early symptom for a plausible genetic trait/ disorder that could’ve been dormant all along. But the other argument could be argued too, in opposition with the relationship catastrophe being the more significant reasoning for the crimes committed. This dilemma in which the two sides have a realistic yet contradictory answer is still being debated today as scientists do not have an easy and simple way to diagnose a killer with an inherent plausible genetic factor or whether or not it was due to the environmental factors. This incomplete part of the puzzle is key to solving a serial killer’s mind due to its significance in categorizing and arranging the thoughts and actions of serial killers in an effort to gain better understanding on what leads them to such acts.

But what is it to serial killers who aren’t too mentally different from the rest of society’s norm, or the so called “mentally sane”?

In the case of such, it is without a doubt that the environment in which the person is raised in having a significant impact on a person’s overall stature and standing. Though science can argue that a person’s personality may or may not be dependent on genetics, it can come without saying that where the person ends up depends on that person. Gangs and such exist all over the world, most inherently in impoverished areas where the extreme measures might be what is needed to survive. It is in these scenarios that serial killers are both born and thrive in.

Homicidal acts committed through such prompts are one of the many areas in society people should focus on. Though society may not be perfect, many still do not understand the fact that all actions do matter. A singular negative influence may be another knife towards a collection to someone else’s health. It is through such beliefs that positivity can truly prosper and shine light on the stock-still foggy desert oasis of an isolated world humanity live in.


Psychology Today – The Making of a Serial Killer Today – The Psychologist and the Serial Killer

Vox – What data on 3,000 murderers and 10,000 victims tells us about serial killers
FGCU – Radford University/FGCU Serial Killer Database Research Project killer information center/project description.htm

Biography – Ted Bundy
National Gang Center – Measuring the Extent of Gang Problems