What is even more troubling is when the killer is apprehended, many times he is someone who is well integrated into society. How often have you read about a mass murderer who was a well respected family man who everybody liked, was sociable with his neighbors, well respected at church and work, paid his bills and went to baseball games like the rest of us? If we can understand more about why serial killers snap and strike out like that, it might be helpful to at least know that there was some reason he became so methodically violent.
There is a profile of a serial killer. However, this template cannot be viewed as a final guide on how killer's minds work because many renowned serial killers work completely differently than the norm. For example, many serial killers are white males between 25 and 40 who are not married and exhibit signs of bi-polar syndrome. But it would be a mistake then to begin to categorize every member of society who fits that description as a potential serial killer.
In general serial killers come from homes what were troubled which meant their childhood years included neglect or abuse. However, most mass murderers are known to have very high IQs and their acts are neither random nor unplanned. The careful and methodical planning and preparation for their crimes is as much part of the gratification they get from killing as the acts themselves or the notoriety they get after they begin their killing sprees.
Alienation and a desire for attention and power often dominate the mind of a serial killer. When someone of high intellect is isolated and unable to receive the normal gratification that most of us know from work and family life, they seek fame and power through killing. Killing is a way to get a feeling of control and recognition that they could not get otherwise. Often killing is a way of striking out against people the killer feels hurt him. So many killers focus on a small segment of society so each killing is a way of getting back at the killers mother or someone who hurt their ability to do well at work or school.
These kinds of killings are evident when a disgruntled employee goes on a killing rampage at work or when someone kills at a government office or school. The Columbine killers were isolated and alienated youth in their school system. By becoming notorious and eventually famous serial killers, they achieved recognition and fame that they could not get in the school social system routinely.
Unfortunately, our obsession with notorious killers like Ted Bundy, the Columbine Killers or others only encourages the next serial killer to snap and seek the same kind of recognition. It gives him a feeling of self worth and value to see his crimes talked about on TV and to become famous for killing. So our best approach to stopping a serial killer in the making is to find ways to help the isolated and alienated in society find productive ways to find self worth rather than strike out violently as serial killers often do.
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