There are many myths that describe, or stereotype a serial killer. You may eave heard that serial killers are all dysfunctional loners or that all serial killers are white males. One might also hear that serial killers are only motivated by sex, they travel and operate interstate, they cannot stop killing, they are all insane or evil geniuses, and serial killers want to get caught. As easy as it might be to believe these stereotypes, and although some serial killers meet a few of the descriptions, they are not necessarily true.
Through studying Dexter, Perfume, Silence of the Lambs, Frankincense, Dead Until Dark, and the Walking Dead it can be determined that serial killers are all river by their own unique motives, they have committed more than three murders, not limited to any specific demographic group, and are committed over a short period of time with a “cooling off’ period. Aside from these characteristics it is undetermined why a serial has a desire to kill, they all have their own unique reason.
To understand why a serial killer commits their violent acts we must understand if their motive was developed by nurture or nature. Research has provided evidence leading to believe that a parental figure or childhood environment can have a large influence of a child’s development into a murder. Sociologists believe that colonization factors play a key role in a serial killers life. One’s environment as a child and adult as well as interaction during one’s initial nurturing phases influence the decisions one makes throughout life.
Nurturing factors that are common in serial killers are neglect, failure to develop coping mechanisms, isolation, rejection, abuse, victims of bullies, and hatred towards a certain group of people. As we saw in Frankincense Victor Frankincense took the act of God and created man. When the monster had awake he found himself not only to be rejected by the people, but also by his creator. Frankincense’s monster only wanted to be accepted, he wanted to be seen as a friend or a companion. Since he was only seen as a monster he turned into a monster.
Seeking out revenge for the one who created him, the one who created him to be isolated him he killed those closest to Victor so he could understand what he had done. If Frankincense’s monster had the proper nurturing and care from his creator, or had a companion to accept him for what he was he would have never turned into the monster that was created. In other opinions serial killers have been found to have traits such as lack of Morse or guilt, impulsively, and a need for control. These behaviors have a consistency with psychopaths, also known as a personality disorder.
There are four categories of psychopaths, interpersonal traits, affective traits, lifestyle behaviors and anti-social behaviors. Interpersonal traits consist of glibness, superficial charm, grandiose sense of worth, pathological lying, and manipulation. Affective traits are known as lack of remorse, shallow affect, lack of empathy, and failure to accept responsibility. The lifestyle behaviors consist of stimulation seeking behaviors, impulsively, irresponsibility, parasitic orientation, and lack of realistic goals.
Finally, the anti-social behaviors are poor behavioral controls, early childhood behavior problems, juvenile delinquency, revocation of conditional release, and criminal versatility. With common traits of psychopaths in serial killers it can be easy to believe that some are born to kill. As seen in the movie Mr… Brooks, Earl Brooks was a serial killer that had no indications of killing due to childhood nurturing or up-bringing. He was a successful business man with a picture perfect family. He was announced “Man of the Year’ and one just looking at him would never believe he was a an out to kill.
Earl Brooks considered his desire to kill as an addiction. He didn’t necessarily know why he had this addiction and in turn he did not know how to fight against it. He tried going to AAA meetings, he had his “cooling off’ period for two years, but yet he still had his need for blood. When he learned that his daughter committed a murder he questioned if this addiction was genetic. We may never know the truth behind this scenario, however natural genetics and psychopaths traits can lead one to believe it is possible. As one studies other viewing and readings such as Silence of the Lambs,
Dexter, Perfume, Natural Born Killers, True Blood, Dead until Dark, and The Walking Dead it can be found that both nature and nurture take a part in creating a serial killer. Dexter Morgan is a serial killer that developed a want to kill as a child. Growing up with a foster family he had all the love, nurture, and support of a normal child, but he had a missing part of him with the mystery of his dead mother. Harry, his foster father had recognized Tester’s need to kill early In life and was able to teach him how to kill properly.
Harry was smart in understanding there was no way to contain or stop Tested sire to kill, but he was able to teach him how to go about it smart and how to do it in a way of serving the community. From a psychological standpoint Dexter had qualities of a psychopath, he was impulsive, and he had stimulation seeking behavior, lack of remorse or empathy, and manipulated and lied to others to hide his secrets. Although he did what he was taught to be “normal” he separated himself, he had his own way of living and viewing the world which can be said to mentally influence his decision making skills.
As one may continue the book or television series of this serial killer it is earned that Dexter was found covered in his mothers blood after she had been cut into pieces, he had seen the murder take place as a young child and so that traumatic life event during his nurturing development phase played a key role in his decision making down the road and his behavior issues that kept him desiring the need of that fulfillment. His mothers death was so grounded into his head he didn’t realize he was actually recreating his mother’s murder by cutting up his victims.
In this case life nurturing events mixed with natural behaviors created this serial killer. As another example, Greenville in Perfume was a man with an inordinate talent. At birth his mother got rid of him where he was further found and raised in an orphanage and later sold as property to work. Greenville had never been nurtured, loved, cared for, or taught right from wrong. He was left on his own to raise himself and to fulfill his passion for making the most amazing smell in the world.
Greenhouse’s cause for murdering primarily had been driven by his desire to create the perfect perfume, but due to his loneliness, neglect, and isolation he was not aware of right from wrong. He as irresponsible, poor behavior controls, lack of empathy and remorse, and stimulation seeking behavior. He never intentionally set out to kill until he had learned that it would be the only way he could create his perfect perfume. He was stimulated by a desire but driven by multiple natural and nurturing factors.
Although not all serial killers are the same, not all have natural issues leading to others deaths and not all have nurturing factors that drive them to kill, but it can be very likely to find both natural and nurturing reasons in those that begin their journey to murder. Throughout the other readings and innings of this course we learn that Hannibal Lectern kills due to no role model, Buffalo Bill kills for need of recreation, Mackey and Mallory kill to love not only one another but also themselves, vampires kill due to being rejection, and zombies kill because they have no lively structure.