Famous serial killers Essay
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The life of famous serial killers is always an interesting topic. What did the serial killer do? How did he do it? Why did he do it? Who were his victims? Did he allow the victims to suffer? The most interesting question is what will trigger a man to become a notorious serial killer? (“What Makes a Serial Killer Tick?” 2002, p.1) Several theories have been offered to explain why persons commit crime or why people become serial killers. Some attribute it to psychological, biological and sociological factors (Zelda G.
Knight, 2006, p.2).
This paper seeks to prove that as much as we desire to explain every human phenomenon, there is a limit to how far human understanding can reach. Since the human brain is a complex organ it is very difficult to explain human behavior using a single theory. Thus, in order to understand human behavior all factors must be taken into account as they all have an influence in human behavior.
The case of Jeffrey Dahmer who was a famous serial killer proves this point. He killed and cannibalized 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991 (Mark Marve, 1994, p.1). He is considered one of the most hateful serial killers in history. As a child he found pleasure in killing and in mutilating animals like nailing a dog to a tree and crucifying squirrels in his backyard (April Washington 2007, p.1). He also performed weird experiments with different animals. During his trial, it was found out that he collected dead animals and had sex with them. His stepmother stated that when he was still young, he enjoyed using acid to remove the meat off dead animals.
According to some theories, individuals become serial killers because of history of parental neglect and abuse. Based on these theories the behavior of serial killers can be explained by understanding his family and how he was raised. In his case, Jeffrey Dahmer came from a family who was known to be very religious. While it was true that his father was very busy at work and spent little time for his family, there was no recorded incident of violence in his family.
On the other hand, there are some theories that say that a person’s peers, friends and the people he associated with may explain his criminal behavior. In his case, Jeffrey Dahmer was extremely shy and was regarded as loner when he was still young. He was afraid to go to school and he was terrified when he was with people. At school, he had no friends and he did not like to be with people. It can therefore be gleaned that Dahmer did not associate himself with bad friends as he had no friends.
Marquis de Sade (2001) once said that “One must feel sorry for those who have strange tastes, but never insult them. Their wrong is Nature’s too; they are no more responsible for having come into the world with tendencies unlike ours than are we for being born bandy-legged or well-proportioned.” (p.3)
Based on the facts stated, human behavior cannot be explained using a single theory alone. There are some individuals who do things that are different from what normal people do. While these acts should not be condoned, these individuals who do these acts should not be insulted because these things do happen. In some cases, these events may happen even against the person’s volition.
The point is that explaining human behavior in terms of family background or environment does not suffice. Jeffrey Dahmer grew up with a religious and educated family. He did not grow up in a bad neighborhood. He was not maltreated nor physically or sexually abused by his parents. There was likewise no indication that he had a bad social environment.
Human behavior cannot be explained using just one theory. Researchers need to find out the totality about the person. Factors such as the biological, psychological and sociological factors should be taken into account in determining the causes that make a person a serial killer. In this case, the lack of attention and parental love from his parents cased Dahmer to behave differently than an ordinary child. His social isolation was also a factor as he did not have anybody to share his thoughts and feelings depriving him of a normal childhood and a normal life. All these factors when taken together are sufficient to explain human behavior.