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> America, the land of the...Serial Killers?, home grown monsters
DaffyGrl
post Jun 28 2005, 04:25 PM
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Dennis Rader’s chilling, matter-of-fact retelling of the details of his murders makes me wonder what causes a person turn into a monster. He looks like a regular, middle-aged Schmoe; pudgy, balding, living a unremarkable life in an unremarkable Midwestern town…until you know what he did. I think about his wife and family – didn’t they realize something was not right about him? It makes my skin crawl to think that these monsters walk among us, and we don’t even recognize them for what they are.
QUOTE
The Congress finds the following:

(1) The United States produces more serial killers than any other country. Up to 85 percent of the world's serial killers are in the United States.

(2) According to a study of the Behavioral Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, serial killing has climbed to an almost `epidemic proportion'.

(3) At any given time there are an estimated 20-50 active serial killers. Serial killers who change their targets or methods are often never identified.

(4) Approximately 500,000 DNA evidence kits across the country wait to be processed because of a lack of funding. Over 3,000 DNA kits have not been processed in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, serial killer case. HR 2110, 108th Congress

QUOTE
Throughout the last three decades the US serial killer rate has risen 940% and it is estimated that by the next millennium it will claim an average of 11 lives a day.

A serial killer is a typical white male, 20-30, and most of them are usually in the USA.  Their main motives are sex (even though the act of sex may or may not take place), power, manipulation, domination and control. Source

QUOTE
Every single sexual deviation is overwhelmingly dominated by white males. And most sexually related ritualistic crimes are committed by white males." Roy Hazelwood, FBI Behavioral Sciences

QUOTE
Particular attention is given to exploring the relationship between male aggression and masculinity, as well as the role that testosterone and other biological factors play in male crime and violence. The book focuses on the correlations between male violence and aggressive behavior and firearms, violence involving intimates, male sexual violence, bias crimes, workplace violence, terrorism, male perpetrated sexual offenses, youth gang crime, and school violence. Source

I believe parents play a role in “nurturing” the budding serial killer, either by abusing their children physically and psychologically, which tells the child that violence is a first resort to any difficulties they may face in life; or by withholding love and affection (oddly enough, many serial killers’ first victim is Mom). I think that repressing children’s natural curiosity about sexuality is also harmful, as it teaches them that sex is shameful and bad. I believe Americans are unique in this respect. Conversely, inappropriate sexual behavior in front of a child can also warp his sense of sexuality. Reading the history of serial killers’ upbringing, while not excusing their aberrant behavior, is an exercise in jaw-dropping cruelty.

I know it’s incredibly unpopular to speculate, but I believe uber-religiosity can play a role in pushing an already disturbed mind over the edge. After all, BTK was a devout Christian, maintained a “tight Christian control” over his family, and was a leader in his church for many years. What I can't believe is that his wife was as surprised as anyone about him being the BTK killer. My question is this: how in the world did this woman sleep with this monster for 30 years, and never have a freakin’ clue?! blink.gif

Some questions for discussion:

Why does America produce so many serial killers?

What factors make America so “unique” that it produces more serial killers than other countries?

Serial killers are by nature thrill seekers. Americans have a reputation for thrill-seeking. Is there a correlation?

Does America’s prudish approach to sex and all things sexual play a role in twisting the minds of individuals who pervert the normal act of sex with the abnormal act of murder? To what degree?

How can we (and should we) identify aberrant behavior (sociopathy, psychopathy) in children before it turns deadly?
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nemov
post Jun 29 2005, 01:45 PM
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QUOTE(moif @ Jun 29 2005, 09:13 AM)

All violence has a root cause in society, and I don't care what the 'professionals' say about it. I've spent my whole life surrounded by 'professionals' and I know that most of the time, we humans love to pontificate and form theories when often the truth is staring is right in the face and 'experts' are often the worst offenders.

You don't have to be a genius to figure out that violence begets violence.
*



It is very difficult to know what causes this problem. The US has a high population, great economy, a mobile population, and immense freedom. I do not know were “justifiable violence” is coming from. Movies and TV do have a lot of violent content but it’s broadcast all over the world. Pulp Fiction has been seen by people all over the world and it one of the most violent movies at the time.

Most of the theories here conform to set political ideologies, but I loved the movie Fight Club so I am just another violence loving American.
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nighttimer
post Jun 29 2005, 11:54 PM
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QUOTE(moif @ Jun 29 2005, 09:13 AM)
All violence has a root cause in society, and I don't care what the 'professionals' say about it. I've spent my whole life surrounded by 'professionals' and I know that most of the time, we humans love to pontificate and form theories when often the truth is staring is right in the face and 'experts' are often the worst offenders.


Well, there's certainly no arguing with that line of reasoning moif. I'll grant you that appeals to authority are often suspect and Lord knows I've done enough of it myself on this board, but neither do I totally discount the seasoned, trained professional for that of a skeptical amateur who is only "pontificating and forming theories when the truth is staring them right in the face."

Police in Denmark, Germany and Austria are also conducting investigations into Fourniret, who is believed to have possibly murdered young girls and women in their countries. In The Netherlands, there are cases that are markedly similar to those to which Fourniret admitted. Furthermore, Fourniret was believed to have been visiting the regions at the times the murders and disappearances took place. So far there is no evidence tying him to the crimes.

http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers...t/5.html?sect=2
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moif
post Jun 30 2005, 12:30 AM
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Eh? ermm.gif

You've lost me nighttimer...

QUOTE(nighttimer)
neither do I totally discount the seasoned, trained professional for that of a skeptical amateur who is only "pontificating and forming theories when the truth is staring them right in the face."
Are you trying to tell me I'm being a skeptical amateur for having ignored the facts that we have serial killers?

If so, allow me to direct you to my first post in this thread, where in I wrote:

QUOTE(moif)
We do have serial killers but these are very rare
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hayleyanne
post Jun 30 2005, 12:58 AM
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Since we are throwing out unsubstantiated theories-- I'll throw mine out as well.

I just watched a show about serial killers on the history channel the other day. They discussed all the well known ones and also added to the list Sadaam Hussein and Adolf Hitler.

The common factor present in the backgrounds of all these killers was a childhood where they were made to feel as if they had no control over their lives; the feeling of absolute impotence. Apparently, this deep rooted experience in their childhoods led them to seek in whatever way possible, absolute power, control and dominion over others. I think they had to have a sociopathic predisposition already -- but the serial killer instinct was often activated after this type of childhood experience.



Why does America produce so many serial killers?

Here is my guess-- based on the above theory. America is unique in that it has enormous opportunity, wealth, materialism. We are inundated by the media which sends the message that in order to be successful you must achieve an enormous amount. Of course, even though we have such opportunity, not everyone-- most people for that matter, never achieve truly great success. I think americans, particularly american men have more of a tendency to feel that they have "failed" if they do not achieve success as it is defined in our culture. I suspect that this type of sentiment is acutely aggravated in those who have a sociopathic predisposition and those who have childhoods where they feel powerless. Hence, american culture has a greater percentage of serial killers for these reasons.

I don't think the religiosity of a person has anything to do with his tendency to become a serial killer. Otherwise, as Amlord rightly points out, the muslim countries would have an over abundance of them.

This post has been edited by hayleyanne: Jun 30 2005, 01:16 AM
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DaffyGrl
post Jun 30 2005, 02:11 AM
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QUOTE(hayleyanne)
just watched a show about serial killers on the history channel the other day. They discussed all the well known ones and also added to the list Sadaam Hussein and Adolf Hitler.

Just to clarify; Hussein and Hitler are NOT serial killers; they are mass murderers, and there is a major difference in the psychological makeup between the two.

For those who pooh-pooh the idea that religion plays any role in the creation of a serial killer, consider:

QUOTE
Patricia Abraham - this Harlem housewife baked her baby alive inside a glass-fronted oven, screaming "Begone Satan!"
Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo - this depraved Cuban-born maniac sacrificed at least 23 humans to his dark lord in order to coax money from drug dealers!
Henry Meinholz - a disembodied voice whispered "Kill her!" and this Bible school instructor smothered a little girl with a blanket!
The Pro-Life Movement - these homicidal zealots find their inspiration to kill in the pages of Bible, and think nothing of blowing health-care practitioners away in order to save the unborn!
Roch Theriault - this charismatic leader of a cult in Quebec killed a woman by carving our her entrails, and then tried to raise her from the dead by sawing off the top of her skull and masturbating into her exposed brain! Holy Homicide-An Encyclopedia of Those Who Go With Their God & Kill

And Eddie Gein, the monster who inspired characters in many famous horror movies:
QUOTE
Augusta, a fanatically religious woman, was determined to raise the boys according to her strict moral code. Sinners inhabited Augusta's world and she instilled in her boys the teachings of the bible on daily basis. She repeatedly warned her sons of the immorality and looseness of women, hoping to discourage any sexual desires the boys might have had, for fear of them being cast down into hell.Crime Library

Or sexual predator and killer, Earle Leonard Nelson:
QUOTE
Born in Philadelphia on May 12, 1897, Nelson was orphaned at nine months of age when his mother died of advanced venereal disease. Raised by an aunt whose religious zeal bordered on fanaticism...
He read the Bible compulsively, underlining numerous passages, but also shocked his aunt by talking "smut" and spying on his female cousin as she stripped for bed. When not preoccupied with voyeurism or the scriptures, Nelson spent his time in basements, relishing the solitude and darkness. CrimeZZZ

And BTK was the church council president in Witchita. Marcus Wesson, incestuous child molester and mass murderer of his "family", believed himself to be "God's messenger".
QUOTE
Marcus Wesson raised 17 children and seven nieces and nephews to believe that he was God's messenger on earth. In thrice-daily Scripture studies, he taught that Armageddon was close at hand and the family should prepare for the end times. Court TV

While I'm not claiming that all religous folk are fanatics, and not all religious fanatics give rise to serial killers, I AM claiming there is some degree of causal linkage between religious extremism/fanaticism and the twisting of psyche that turns a weak or malleable person into a serial killer. Whether it's God or Satan, religion has played a prominent role in many serial killings and mass murders. And while my theory may be "unsubstantiated", there is enough evidence of it to fill several books.
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nemov
post Jun 30 2005, 02:36 AM
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QUOTE(DaffyGrl @ Jun 29 2005, 10:11 PM)

For those who pooh-pooh the idea that religion plays any role in the creation of a serial killer, consider:

QUOTE
Patricia Abraham - this Harlem housewife baked her baby alive inside a glass-fronted oven, screaming "Begone Satan!"
Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo - this depraved Cuban-born maniac sacrificed at least 23 humans to his dark lord in order to coax money from drug dealers!
Henry Meinholz - a disembodied voice whispered "Kill her!" and this Bible school instructor smothered a little girl with a blanket!
The Pro-Life Movement - these homicidal zealots find their inspiration to kill in the pages of Bible, and think nothing of blowing health-care practitioners away in order to save the unborn!
Roch Theriault - this charismatic leader of a cult in Quebec killed a woman by carving our her entrails, and then tried to raise her from the dead by sawing off the top of her skull and masturbating into her exposed brain! Holy Homicide-An Encyclopedia of Those Who Go With Their God & Kill


*



Daffygrl, I don't think anyone totally discounted religion all together. However, this jump in serial killers started in 1960 and there is NO proof that the US has become a more prudish place since then. There are other countries that are far more religious than the US. Also, you mentioned that Hitler and Hussein were mass murderers and then you added the wacko Pro-lifers on your list. They would not be consider serial killers either.

Do you have any theories to share? Religion plays a role many of the times, but religion plays a role in almost everyone person's life regardless if they believe or not. Something has changed since 1960 to cause a dramatic increase in these type of killers. It is NOT increased religion.
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DaffyGrl
post Jun 30 2005, 03:35 AM
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QUOTE(nemov)
Daffygrl, I don't think anyone totally discounted religion all together. However, this jump in serial killers started in 1960 and there is NO proof that the US has become a more prudish place since then. There are other countries that are far more religious than the US. Also, you mentioned that Hitler and Hussein were mass murderers and then you added the wacko Pro-lifers on your list. They would not be consider serial killers either.

Do you have any theories to share? Religion plays a role many of the times, but religion plays a role in almost everyone person's life regardless if they believe or not. Something has changed since 1960 to cause a dramatic increase in these type of killers. It is NOT increased religion.

Nemov, the quote was from a synopsis of the book on Amazon. I didn't choose the wording. I could have edited it out, and then someone would crow about how I was leaving it out for some nefarious reason. Can't win.

As for theories, I have been sharing them throughout this thread. I think that some religious fanatics warp their children's psyche, some by telling them that sex is bad, their sexual organs are dirty or nasty, or literally try to beat religion into them. As with anything that is taken to extremes, the victim will act out in some way. Chances are, the boy who is constantly told that sexuality is dirty, filthy and an offense against God will not grow up to have a normal, healthy sex life or sense of sexual identity (a prime example: John Wayne Gacy).

Some have pointed out the prevalence of sexual images that pervade our media proving that America is not prudish. I think that if said images were so commonplace and ho-hum, then the mere sight of a not-quite-bare breast would never have created the furor that it did. Ashcroft would not have felt it necessary to cover up a bronze breast. laugh.gif

As for thrill-seeking, I think that maybe some people are so desensitized by run of the mill thrills, that they edge ever closer to the abyss into forbidden thrills, i.e. murder.

As for "since the 60's", serial killers didn't just spring up in the 20th century. There have been many throughout history, but with modern technology, they have become more well known. And all I can say is, thank goodness for DNA technology and making it more difficult for these creeps to get away with their crimes.

I don't claim to have any answers; I'm just curious about what factors might be pivotal in turning a person into something evil and inhuman. Are some people born evil? I believe that some are. But, like the whole nature vs. nurture argument, there are no clear answers. It's an ugly subject, but I thought that it would provoke interesting discussion.
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JeepMan
post Jul 1 2005, 02:36 AM
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Maybe part of the problem is that some in America tend to label people with good, honest blue collar jobs, such as auto painter, code inspector and factory worker as losers.


Mr. Hugo you have stumbled off into some wild tangent. Nowhere in my post did I denote the 3 serial killers mentioned as losers BECAUSE of their particular vocation. They were being analyzed as thrill seekers, and by listing their jobs I was elucidating the fact that they were boring people who were not thrill seekers. But according to your logic, the fact that some people may consider them losers is justification for the crimes they committed. I put the blame on the perpetrator, a novel idea, I'm sure, to you.
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KivrotHaTaavah
post Jul 1 2005, 04:45 AM
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Why does America produce so many serial killers?

I would suggest that before we even attempt an answer to that question, that we first subdivide our serial killers, i.e., there are killers who kill for the mere thrill of killing, there are killers who kill for the sexual satisfaction involved, there are killers who view themselves as purging society of some bad element, there are killers [and this is where the "black widow" type come in] who kill for financial gain [you know, the woman who keeps on killing the rich hubby, boyfriend,...], etc....oh, sorry, since the one post mentions the baking of a human, there's also the mental illness type, i.e., the one who hears voices telling her/him to kill.

That being said, we simply cannot correctly claim that serial killing is entirely concerned with thrill seeking, as that doesn't cover the "black widow" as well as many of those who view themselves as purging society of some bad element.

To give the best illustration of the clean-up type that I can think of, Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, was this type, as he himself reported that he hated prostitutes. And I don't have a link to the dialogue from that made for t.v. movie, but in the same, Ridgway says: I thought I was doing you guys a favor, killing prostitutes. You guys can't control them, but I can. Or so I remember him telling the cops in the made for t.v. movie.

Sasha Spesivtsev is another clean-up type, as the motive was to cleanse Russia of the permissiveness of modern democracy. And so Sasha killed more than 20 street children and then cooked and ate them [with the help of his mother].

A third killer of this type was Joseph Franklin, who killed those who had interracially married, which he considered a sin. He is suspected of shooting Larry Flynt, of Hustler fame, and precisely because Hustler depicted interracial sexual relations.

Another target group for the clean-up type would be homosexuals. Herb Baumeister was probably such a serial killer. Dennis Nilsen of Great Britain was also most certainly this type as well. Either that, or we have a case of killing what we despise most in ourselves.

As concerns the someone told me to it, there's Albert Fish, he who couldn't accept the fact that the Mrs. left and later told authorities that God had told him to castrate young boys. However, he actually murdered children of both sexes and his road to ruin was in writing the parents of a girl he had killed to inform them how much he had enjoyed eating her.

Another of that type is Elifasi Msomi, of South Africa, who hacked his victims to death with an axe. He said that he was told do so by something or someone appearing on his shoulder [though the psychiatric experts at his trial said something about him deriving sexual satisfaction from his killing].

As concerns the "black widow," or financial gain type, we have Belle Gunness, who obtained her wealthy Chicago area males via classified ads.

Whereas the US was once far and away the leader in producing serial killers, South Africa and Russia are catching up, and even Costa Rica has a homegrown serial killer. And in some places, say Rio in Brazil, they find so many murdered in a day, that it's hard to tell whether a serial killer is on the loose. That was the problem with a Mr. Andrade [see link below].

Why do we have serial killers? Physical and sexual abuse in the home, absence of the father, sexual dysfunction, mental illness, etc. The "trifecta" of early warning signs is (1) cruelty to animals, (2) arson/setting fires, and (3) bed-wetting. And if we add later sexual dysfunction...

For a rather disturbing look at more than a few serial killers, please see:

http://www.greatdreams.com/serial-killer.htm

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Knave
post Jul 5 2005, 01:08 AM
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I don't think serial killers are any more common now, as a percentage of the population, as they were 50, 60, 100 years ago. The difference is that we're able to track them, count their victims, connect the dots, and figure out that they're out there, now.....
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