Increasing more than ever, American society is fascinated with serial and mass murderers. Throughout the decades, people have celebrated killers who have reached the peak of success within their field by glorifying them in movies, documentaries, magazines, and even on trading cards. In 1991, a trading card company in California created its first mass and serial card collection, which included notorious murderers such as Jeffrey Dahmer who killed 17 men between 1978 and 1991. Dahmer was known to have sex with the corpses of his victims, kept body parts of others, and ate some of the parts as well. Eventually, Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms and was killed in prison in 1994. . Television programs have also increased people’s fascination with serial and mass murderers by creating documentaries and mini series about them. Many popular actresses and actors who play serial and mass killers in movies unfortunately infuse these murderers with humanity and attraction (Fox & Levin, 2005). In this unit we look at the differences between serial killing and mass killing and investigate some of the motives that are behind the predominantly white middle class males who commit some of the most gruesome and legendary volume killing of other humans. Our Fascination with Murder
Due to our increasingly morbid fascination with mass and serial murderers, a commercial market has been created with endless capabilities. After Gary Ridgway (Green River Killer) was discovered to have killed over 48 prostitutes in Seattle, admirers were eager to purchase Green River Killer merchandise on eBay, which included blood stained t-shirts, coffee mugs from his previous employer, and a business card. The majority of Ridgway’s victims were buried underneath his home in Chicago. He was executed in 1994. John Wayne Gacy, also known as The Killer Clown, grossed $100,000 off of artwork he created after he was convicted of killing 33 teen boys in Illinois. In addition to a market that has been founded on the increasing appeal of murderers, so-called “Killer Groupies” have formed as well. Due to the fact that the media has fashioned killers as celebrities, some groupies (mostly women) are highly attracted to the murderer’s controlling and manipulative personality. For example, Richard Ramirez, also referred to as The Night Stalker who killed 13 people, married an obsessed groupie and journalist, Doreen Lioy, in 1996 while he was awaiting execution in California. Lioy vowed to commit suicide the day he was executed but Ramirez died of liver failure while on death row in 2013 (Dimond, 2013). Although it does not make sense that these groupies would fall in love with individual’s that have raped, tortured, and killed innocent victims, there are some who believe that the killer is a victim of injustice. Whereas, others attempt to trace the groupie’s attraction to a murderer as their need to recreate a cruel relationship, similar to the one they had with their fathers (Fox & Levin, 2005). In general the groupie’s appeal to a killer is similar to those who are obsessed with other celebrities such as Ben Affleck or Jennifer Aniston. However, murderers are much more assessable than other celebrities, thus the “killer groupie” has a higher probability to achieve success with them. The impact of celebrating murderers is destructive on the families of murder victim’s. From the victim’s point of view, the romanticized, glorification, and sanitized image of a killer only adds insult to injury (Fox & Levin, 2005). Moreover, serial killers are now seeking out attention from the media in efforts to gain a celebrity status. For example, Ted Bundy enjoyed the media’s obsession with him and constantly contacted the press even after the judge tried to limit his ability to. Likewise, John Wayne Gacy bragged that he was the product of 42 books, 2 screenplays, and 1 movie. Correspondingly, the media is generally responsible for creating the serial...
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