Jonathan M. Grush
Truman State University
Date Submitted: November 19, 2010
Jonathan M. Grush, Exercise Science, Truman State University
Please address all correspondence to: Jonathan Grush, 511 S. Elson Apt. 1, Kirksville, MO 63501, (314) 640-1760, firstname.lastname@example.org
America has a fascination with serial killers. Everything about them is interesting to us. There are so many questions that we have. It is incomprehensible to most people how someone can go out and kill dozens of people, seemingly without any remorse. Although we have such a deep interest in killers, we often do not know how to differentiate between them. All too often, we label anybody who has killed a few people as a serial killer, but that is not the case. There are many different typographies of killers, but the main classifications are mass murderer, serial killer, gain serial killer and spree killer.
The first typography that we will look at is mass murderer. For a killer to be labeled as a mass murderer, he must kill at least four people at one time. Often times, this may be as a final statement of sorts. Because of the nature of mass murder, the perpetrator generally knows that the risk of being caught is inherently greater than if they were killing one person at a time, as a serial killer, and likely expects to be caught or commit suicide. Mass murderers are seen as people who finally just snap. Sadly, we can understand this more than someone who plays an important role in the community during the day, but kills people at night. Some examples of famous mass murderers Timothy McVeigh, who was responsible for 168 deaths in the Oklahoma City Bombing, and George Jo Hennard, who drove his truck into a Luby’s cafeteria in Texas and shot 23 people to death, wounding 20 more and committing suicide.
The next classification of killer is that of the serial killer. A serial killer is similar to a mass murderer in that they must have killed at least three people, but the difference is in the time period. A serial killer generally murders one victim at a time, planning everything out very carefully so as to not get caught. Because they are so careful, it often takes police a very long time to catch serial killers; in some cases, the killers are never caught. Although they leave very little physical evidence, serial killers are often linked to their crimes through their Modus Operandi, or MO, which is basically their way, or style, of killing. Much research has been done on serial killers, and it has been noted that the vast majority of them are middle-aged, white males, with above average intelligence, and a history of arson, bed wetting, and physical and sexual abuse as a child, but these are not definitive. Within the realm of serial killers there are even more distinct categories, like visionary, mission-oriented, hedonistic, and gain serial killers, which will be discussed next. Some famous serial killers are Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, who confessed to killing 71 women and was sentenced to life in prison without parole for 48, John Wayne Gacy, the Killer Clown, who is linked to 33 murders of young men and boys that were often buried in a crawlspace in his house, and, maybe the most infamous of all, Ted Bundy, who claimed that he may have killed more than 100 with estimates being around 35; Bundy was sentenced to die in the electric chair.
The next typography is of gain serial killers. The only added characteristic of a gain serial killer from a regular serial killer is that gain serial killers kill for some kind of material profit. Examples of motives to kill could be for money, jewelry, or insurance money, among others. Although most serial killers are men, as stated earlier, those women who are serial killers are often gain serial killers. Because a woman may be less violent by nature, these murders are often carried out using an overdose of drugs or poison....