Causes of Serial Killers

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Henry Lee Lucas was told by his mother at a very young age that he was evil and would probably spend the rest of his life in prison. Lucas was suspected, along with his partner Otis Toole, to have committed hundreds of vicious murders. His mother would torture him as a child. She would dress him as a girl, putting ribbons in his hair. He was malnourished, dirty, and smelly; he was an outcast to his peers. His mother would severely abuse him. In fact, she once beat him unconscious with a two-by-four. She forced him to drink urine, and burned him with cigarettes. It came to no surprise that his favorite sexual fantasies as a child were torturing his mother to death. He developed an inability to love. At an early age he would kill animals and have sex with their remains. He would even skin animals alive. At the age of fifteen Lucas had committed his first murder. His second murder was that of his mother. When Lucas killed, he became sexually aroused (Meadows, Kuehnel). Lucas is a prime example of the stereotypical serial killer. Murders of serial killers account for nearly 10 percent of all murders in the United States. The United States alone accounts for nearly 75 percent of the world's serial killers (Ramsland). "Serial killers differ from mass murders and spree killers in that the killings are separate, usually with a cooling-off period between kills, but escalating over a period of time, sometimes years" ( Meadows). They kill compulsively and they do not stop; instead they die, get hospitalized or get caught (Ramsland). However, what is it that causes serial killers, like Lucas, to become the way they are? What is it that drives these people to commit so many brutal murders? Is it a tough life at their homes? Do environmental factors play roles? Or are these people just born this way? This paper will discuss the some of the reasons why serial killers commit the crimes they do, briefly mention the different typologies of serial killers, as well as mention some famous serial killers and a few of the traits they may have in common. Each type of these killers has a different motive for killing their victims. There has to be some type of reason as to why these people are the way they are. Law enforcement has studied serial killers for years, dating back to the time of the first known serial killer, Jack the Ripper, and they can not come up with just one single verdict. There are multiple opinions as to why these people end up this way. Some people say that it is some genetic trait, some people say it is because of brain trauma, or it is an effect from abuse and/or neglect from their family, and it has been said that these people make the wrong choices. There are four subtypes of a serial killer; each one has a different motivation for killing. The first one is the visionary killer. The visionary killer is often psychotic, they usually feel compelled to murder because they hear voices, or see visions which are telling them to kill certain kinds of people. Then there is the mission oriented killer. This killer sets out their goal to kill a specific group of people because they feel as if these people are unworthy to live and that the world would be a better place without them. A prime example of this type of killer is Gary Ridgway who killed 48 women, most of which were prostitutes. Next, there is the hedonistic killer who kills for the excitement of it. These types of killer enjoy hunting their victims. Subcategories of a hedonistic killer include sadistic killers, lust killers, and those who kill for financial gain (Hitman). Lastly, there are the power-oriented killers who enjoy having complete control over their victims. They enjoy having their victims obey every little command (Meadows).

In most serial killers it all begins with one thing, anger. That seed of anger is planted in them at a very young age. It starts with the first fantasies of violence, and then leads to full-fledged commissions of felonies, which...
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