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Exploring the Phenomenon of Serial Killing Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: May 10th, 2022

Serial killing is one of the most baffling and difficult crimes to explain. Several studies have been conducted that try to determine the nature and thought processes of criminals. There are several hypotheses that attempt to explain the factors that motivate common people in society to turn into murderers. There are many articles that have been written on the subject. This paper will review Mathew Silke’s article “Exploring the Phenomenon Of Serial Killing from a Psychological Standpoint.” Additionally, it will address the contentious issues of serial killing based on Silke’s article.

Psychologists have proposed several reasons that suggest how a serial killer thinks. According to Silke, many studies seek to determine whether serial killers are born or created by circumstances. Mathew Silke’s article “Exploring The Phenomenon Of Serial Killers From A Psychological Stand Point” attempts to explain the rationale behind serial killing. It does this by posing the key question whether serial killers are born or made. The article claims that both the environment and the person’s experiences contribute to the development of serial killer tendencies. The experience that a person has during their formative years greatly influences their societal interactions (Silkes, 2010).

The article clearly distinguishes between serial killing and homicide. It notes that there are three types of homicides which involve a series of murders. These are termed as either: spree murders, mass murders or serial murders. According to this categorization, when three or more victims are killed then it is a mass murder. However, a spree murderis distinguished from serial killing as committing more than three murders randomly. Furthermore, it occurs at different times and locations simultaneously. Serial killing on the other hand, refers to murder that occurs sequentially separated by either time or location. It has been noted that the lack of continuity in serial killing is due to a temporary satisfaction that the killer obtains after committing the act (Silkes, 2010).

Ted Bundy, a well-known serial killer, is alluded to in the article. He is used to reflect the thinking and rationale of a serial killer. According to the Anne Rule, the author of “The Stranger Beside Me” Ted Bundy was just like any other person. He is described as hard working and patient. He struggled to earn money to attend law school. He is depicted as a humane and normal person with the ability to handle relationships. Rule gives a candid description of her relationship with the infamous Ted Bundy. She points out that Ted Bundy had dreams and aspirations. She further claims that he was acharming, hardworking and dedicated co-worker.

The article further considers the psychological research that has been carried out in an attempt to comprehend the mind of serial killers. The article considers research that was conducted by Zelda G. Knight. According to Knight’s research, serial killers are individuals who draw satisfaction from sexual murdering and are ‘pathological narcissists.’ The article further considers the research method that entails placing the serial killers in typologies as a technique of trying to reach into their minds (Silkes, 2010).

Parents who mistreat their children or neglect their responsibilities play a fundamental role in the life of a person who ends up as a serial killer. The unconditioned and neglected child grows up with a lot of animosity. Such deep seated feelings can be manifested in murders and societal misdemeanors. These are the traits that can be developed unconsciously and finally serve as the driving force to commit murder.

From the actions of the killer, the environmental factors that determine whether a person becomes a serial killer can be deduced. This point of view places the blame of a serial killer’s actions on poor upbringing. Additionally, it is suggested that serial killers suffer from a mental dysfunction or retardation, which causes their brains to process things differently and out of the norm. This theory visualizes serial killers as people suffering from severe psychological problems and in need of remedial psychological medication to correct it. In case this is not forthcoming, such people may end up being serial killers.

This article fills the void of unawareness among people. It raises fundamental questions, which if answered, would help save many lives. The author tries to understand what drives a serial killer. Furthermore, the author tries to seek possible solutions that can be used to stop a serial killer from committing further crimes. Heavy consideration is placed on whether the serial killing tendencies can be detected early in life. If such tendencies are detected early enough, then proper remedial measures can be undertaken appropriately (Silkes, 2010).

In conclusion, the debate on whether serial killers are shaped by their environment, circumstances or are born is still open. This article has reviewed a crime that has intrigued law enforcers, as well as researchers. The expressions and views on this article are well explained and an eye opener into the world of murderers and serial killers. However, it fails to answer the question: are serial killers made or born? In fact, on careful study, more questions are raised than answered. Most probably both play a significant role. According to the author, however, further research is necessary to demystify the minds of serial killers.

Reference

Silkes, M (2010). Exploring the Phenomenon of Serial Killing from a Psychological Standpoint A Review of the Literature. NY: Cambridge University Press

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