It cannot be denied that the serial killer kills. Killing combines a variety of meanings. A mere slip of the hand on the steering wheel can turn a normal person into a killer; and it is likely that a second such happening could turn an otherwise normal person into a serial killer. However, murder is the willful and unlawful killing of one human being, by another. This does not include deaths caused by negligence, suicide, attempted murder, and justifiable homicide. Murder can be divided into two categories. The second category is the "for gain" type of murder, which is done mainly by serial killers. In the early 19th century, civilization stopped looking at the Devil for the cause of evil in the world. Instead, scientists began to search for the evil within. Darwin's theories on evolution bridged the gap between beast and man. According to the 19th century criminologist, Cesare Lombroso and Max Nordau, they believed that violent men had "primitive" faces with heavy jaws and low foreheads. Franz Josef Gall promoted "phrenology." By feeling bumps on a person's head, he believed you could predict the intelligence of the person. Physiognomy, developed by Johann Kaspar Lavatar, claimed to read a person's character by their facial features. Before going into the psychological profile of a serial killer, one has to know the difference between a mass murderer, and a serial killer. Mass Murderers usually attack schools, universities and restaurants, believing it to be the place of maximum killing effect, usually striking with a gun and wearing camouflage gear. They attempt to kill all they see and their rampage ends with them committing suicide or being killed, or captured. Victims are typically selected at random and attacked. Serial killers are different. They can go up to years without being caught, and when they get caught, its usually by the amount of evidence against them. They prefer to stab or strangle their victims, and sometimes shoot them. They sometimes collect trophies or leave trademarks of their crimes. Some serial killers prefer to rape their victims before they kill them. There is none, or very little previous connection between the perpetrator and the victim. Although there may be a pattern or a victim trait, individual murders rarely display a defined or rational motive. There is usually a high degree of violence, where the victim is subjected to a disproportionate level of brutality. One of the other common points concerning the serial killer is the presence of free will. It cannot be denied that there is a great deal of unconscious drives present in the actions of the serial killer, and that these drives are still shrouded in darkness. At the same time, there is a great deal of evidence that the serial killer "acts from a conscious perspective" . Simply put, the serial killer decides to kill. The most distinguishing factor for serial killers is that there are generally three or more victims. The killer will continually kill with a cooling down period in between. The killer may even go years without killing another person. Except in rare cases, serial killers work alone. For serial killers, the motivation is not the money, or the outcome of the event, the killer is simply motivated to kill. Their needs to kill is fueled by fantasies that have been building for sometime. A serial killer is usually male, between the ages of 25-35, and is usually white. He will normally kill victims of his own race. His intellect ranges from below average to above average. There are four types of serial killers. The first type is the Visionary Motive Type; this group is considered medically insane. They often hear voices in their head telling them to kill people. The second type is the Missionary-Oriented Motive Type, who displays no feelings to the outside world, but on the inside, the killer has the need to rid the world of everything he feels is immoral or unworthy. An example is Adolf Hitler, who during World War II, tried...
Bibliography: 1. Vorpagel, Russell. Profiles in Murder: An FBI legend dissects, killers and their crimes. New York: Plenum Publishing Corporation, 1998
2. Douglas, John and Mark Olshaker. Journey into Darkness. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc., 1997
Please join StudyMode to read the full document