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Obvious Evil Psych 232

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Chris Burris

“Obvious Evil”: Serial Killers  Why Here? o Serial killers are mythological characters o They fit in to a good and evil narrative (that’s why they’re famous) o FBI definition: 3 or more kills with cooling off periods in between – 3 or more motivationally distinct episodes  Differentiates serial killers from mass murders (killed many people but happened in the same episode)  Versus spree killers (multiple victims, multiple locations and the more or less same motivational episode)  What would it take for you to kill? o Issue of justifiability  Will kill someone if there is enough justifications in place  What justifications are these? 1. Perceived threat – individual level (home intruder), collective level (gang or army); threat to physical, threat to ideology or belief 2. Absent/ limited/ exhausted alternatives – “desperate times call for desperate measures” “no other options or means of relief” (e.g.; people perceive no other options available for life so they will do suicide) 3. Killing humans, Killing non-humans, “killing” humans – must know what is something extra (that makes killing humans and killing non-humans to “killing humans”) to understand killing * What is extra? 4. Perceived injustice/ insult/ injury – “the only thing that will make me powerful again is to kill a human being” 5. Fun – for other people, killing is the ultimate power having gratification; the sense of expedience –“I want this” “I will do anything for this; “it is worth it to me to get what I want even if somebody else dies.” * The Big picture 1. (lack of) Attachment –the capacity to be emotionally bond with other people becomes emotionally restricted  Under-socialized o there’s no consistency regarding moral messages o i.e., a lot of serial killers lie o If you’re not attached to anyone else, the other people do not matter, then it will be easy for you to kill. o “I don’t mind & you don’t matter.”  Over-sexualized o Most serial killers are Exposed to sex mixed with violence o E.g.: sexual violence in the name of parenting  Ostracized o Most serial killers are hated or isolated which builds up to their anger o Many kids who were physically and sexually abused have the risk of being sexual killers  ” The terrible triad” (symptoms/ indicator of kids being serial killers) – doing these three triads has the high risk of emotional; disorder or being a serial killer  Bed-wetting o Impulse control  Fire-setting o Sensation seeking element  cruelty to animals o sadistic element 2. Fantasy – many people go to the fantasy world as compensation; fantasy is one way of getting yourself away from unpleasant experiences (i.e., neglect, isolation); the fantasy world becomes more satisfying  Compensation o For grandiosity purposes as well; in this fantasy world, I’m great (i.e., I’m the king, I have a power) though they were treated as shit in their real life  dissociation o detachment, separation o similar to possession o Some people have bad attachment so that they dissociate o Dissociation becomes functional through serial killers’ mundane life  Sexualization o Killing will be erotical for some serial killers ALL OF THE ABOVE CAN BE TRUE BUT STILL, YOU DON’T HAVE A SERIAL KILLER. THE NEXT PICTURE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT. 13.40 3. Willful Reduction of Inner restraints – “You know what? I’m gonna need to do this (Killing); I have to do this cause I need the big deal not just paintballing or fantasizing”; Big separation – decision part  Entitlement o ”I deserve it”; “I have experienced shit all my life, I deserve a payback” o Instead of asking “Why should I kill?” serial killers ask “Why shouldn’t I kill?”  Narcissistic wound o consistent reminders concerning my greatness  Overkill o responding illogically / in proportionately o “My boss yelled at me today, well better kill somebody” 4. Symbolic Expression  M.O. (things has to be done or main part of the crime) vs. “signatures” (things that didn’t have to do or accessories of the crime”)  It is culturally M.O to wear clothes, and what style you wear is the signature. Types of Serial Killers (adapted from Holmes, 1989) 1. Externally directed (“I have to”) Subtypes: a) Visionary – will meet criteria for psychological disorder; hearing voices such as: “God told me to”, etc.. b) Mission - “ I have to do it to *kill+ make the world a better place”; has articulated and very justifiable reasons on oneself 2. Internally directed (“I want to”) Subtypes: a) Hedonistic – pleasure; violence or killing yield pleasure  Lust/ thrill killer – usually to show up in rime movies; e.g.: persistent theme of sexual pleasure; the focus is on the pain, sexual abuse, and death (main source of pleasure); no case have been reported that a female did such crime alone  Comfort killers – Material comfort or finan
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