Where Do Serial Killers Come from?

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Where Do Serial Killers Come From?

It was January 1974, and the people of Wichita, Kansas were staying up all night, with their guns in their hands, ready for the unthinkable to happen. Four members of the Ortero family had just been brutally murdered in their own home, in the middle of the day. Julie and Joseph, the mother and father, had been found tied at the hands and wrists, strangled, in their bedroom. Beside them lay their nine year old son Joey, who had been murdered the same way. Even after the police discovered their bodies they were still not prepared for what they found in the basement. The Orteros' daughter, Josie, had been stripped and hung from a sewer pipe. This was just the very beginning of the serial killer career of Dennis Rader, also known as BTK (Singular, 2006).

The definition of serial killer has been heavily debated, and there is no definite answer. However, the most widely accepted definition is "three or more unrelated killings separated by a cooling-off period and involving sadistic, sexual violence." (Schechter & Everitt, 1996).

People are fascinated and at the same time horrified at the thought of serial killers. How can someone take away another human beings life just for the fun of it? No one is sure of the factors that bring about a serial killer. There have been similarities between these types of individuals, but not always. In the highly debated topic of Nature versus Nurture, both sides may offer an insight into how a serial killer is born, or raised.

When we look at serial killers from a Nurture point of view, we look at the past and upbringing of a serial killer. Childhood abuse may not bring about a serial killer, but it is an undeniable factor in most of their backgrounds. Parents who physically and psychologically abuse their children teach them to rely on violence when there is a challenge at hand (Scott). When parents use disciplinary actions to toughen their children up for the real world, they deprive the...
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