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Serial Killers in Modern American Society Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 11th, 2022


All offensive or good actions are traceable to the doer because they have personal reasons or motivation. This is an indication that it is possible to trace some psychological evidence and find out some of the serial killers’ motives, especially in contemporary American society. The advancement of technology allows detectives to have an easy time finding finer details that would have been hard to salvage in the early epoch. This is also the reason why investigators have transformed serial killers cases into psychologically related investigations. A clear understanding of the killer motives and behavioral patterns assist investigators’ profiling process, criminal hunting procedures as well as the ability to narrow down their scope into workable logic. In the mid-twentieth century, psychiatrists and psychologists hypothesized the concept that serial killers have comparable personalities and behaviors. The experts thus based their search and investigation of such cases on their expert opinions. Perhaps these experts are in a position of determining the behavioral patterns and personalities through professional analysis of a crime. Various investigation departments such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have units or departments with well-equipped profilers such as the behavioral analysis units that assist in the investigation of such cases, through analysis of crime scene reports, photographs, forensic reports, witness reports, and evidence to determine possible motives of the criminals. They investigate the unique information that covers the killer’s experience, explore the suspect’s background and potential motives.

Based on the above-stated arguments, this paper forms research for evidence from some of the serial killers in modern American society and various tactics utilized by the investigative departments to determine and differentiate between serial killers and other criminals. The special branch investigators such as psychiatrists, forensic analysts and psychologists are profile developers who come up with psychosomatic reports indicating the behavior, gender, race, employment and marital status. They also present other similar details that lead to finding the perpetrator’s motives (Schechter, 10). Is it possible that serial killers’ behavioral patterns and traits leave a trace of accurate and specific conclusions that investigators are able to pick up during their investigations? Mainly the social inadequacy among these killers provides some evidence and similarities. This paper also tries to compare the behavioral patterns of various serial killers in contemporary American society. There is a great improvement in the profiling process as investigators advance both the technological systems and the psychological analysis techniques.

Some Worse Serial Killers in Modern American Society

Various countries have diverse shares of criminals, especially serial killers. The United States has had devastating effects on brutal serial killers. Although there is limitation over investigation information by the administrators and the involved governments, there is numerous information about these worst serial killers in the modern U.S. such as Ed Gein some evident even in the movie scenes. Although the investigative reports indicate otherwise, Gein’s conviction was over two murders (Schechter, 173). The detailed investigation revealed the existence of many human skulls in his house and other awkward items such as lampshades made of human skin (Schechter, 173). Theodore (Ted) Bundy is also linkable to a set of serial killings within the 1970s when the numbers of murders were unconfirmed. The serial killer however owned up to more than thirty cases especially the murdered female victims clubbed and strangled to death. The investigations also revealed signs of necrophilia acts. The killer faced execution in 1989 in Florida State (Michaud and Aynesworth, 15).

Another common serial killer was Dennis Raider also commonly known as the ‘BTK Killer’. He was arguably one of the worst U.S. serial killers between 1974 and 1991 and his ‘BTK’ identity, which stands for “Bind, Torture, Kill”, emerged from his style of killing that involved blinding and torturing before killing. Although his arrest, as well as conviction, occurred much later in 2005, ’BTK Killer’ communicated all the committed murders to the police through letters (Michaud and Aynesworth, 16).

In modern American Society, Dennis Raider (BTK Killer) is most likely one of the serial killers on the go for the longest period. There is a wide range of information that the investigators and the public, in general, can learn from the ’BTK Killer’ operations. He had an intriguing mode of operation where he would wait for years before killing. Due to the many years in between the killings, he was able to taunt police officers for decades by communicating with them through the media. He was thus an eluding capture for the longest time in history and it was not easy to determine when his first murder occurred. According to Capps and Dobkins (220), his killing personality was not biological but was raised and created by society, which is full of distorter human manifestations. Like any other child, this serial killer probably wished for happiness and the best that life has to offer, but society subjected him to brutality, sanity, abuse, assaults and lies. The experiences revealed by serial killers do not emanate from the choices they make especially during childhood but are rather more connected to the kind of social setting subjected to them. In line with Capps and Dobkins (221), Dennis was a severely traumatized child and his continuous conscious denial of responsibility for his killing acts is a clear indication of the existence of horrible childhood memories. The serial killer places the blame on what he terms as the ‘Factor-X’. In line with (Wilson and Seaman, 372), psychological studies indicate that victims who faced torture during their childhood stage are not able to accept the existence of traumatic or abusive cases in our society. They consider and implicate their acts to various aspects like the way Dennis linked his actions to the “Factor-X”. This is a clear indication that the majority of these serial killers are victims of extremely distressing events, but they are not ready to accept or place the responsibility on society.

Lack of evident Psychological Distress among Serial Killers

Human homicide is one of the greatest inhuman acts and thus the reason people will always argue against the killers. Considering Dennis’s case, investigations did not provide substantiating evidence to show the existence of child-related abuse. Regardless of the state representation, no one is ready to argue for serial killers to show clearly the possibilities or clear signs of child abuse. Through his denial of committing the brutal acts, Dennis could have also acted so, to hide his personal memories. The denial is however not a clear indication of childhood abuse (Wilson and Seaman, 372). The victims of childhood abuse act in a way to conceal the experiences. The dishonesty thus ends up as a social responsibility because the victimization is of a great relative degree. The criminal thus reflects the abuse onto the innocent victims as a way of taking away frustration, ideology, anger or anxiety. According to (Wilson and Seaman, 372), the distressing reality is such a criminal is the main motivation for the acts. Society fosters the brutal experiences or the killing acts by failing to address psychological traumas and instead of assisting the victim to shape the abuses into their inner reflection of true reality (Wilson and Seaman, 372). Today, the investigative departments have the required facilities to formulate the truth of a case such as psychological disturbances, but they are equally quick to deny the possibilities by reversing the blame to the killer for the anticipated conviction.

Are there internal, self-induced, mental or childhood experiences linkable to serial killing? In connection to findings on Dennis’s serial killings, the acts of childhood abuse are evident, for instance, his mother whipped him after finding out that he engaged in masturbating (Capps and Dobkins, 227). Society permits the whipping acts by the mother, and she thus did it out of impunity by the society. This clear child abuse can cause devastating implications in the future. Subjecting a child to insane ideological aspects, physical/sexual abuse or other forms of delusions can be the cause of such serial killing actions.

A common finding on the serial killing cases indicates that criminals like Dennis carry out the acts systematically, carefully and critically as an assignment. A good example is a systematic arrangement and filing of killing by Dennis the ’BTK serial killer’. He called his carefully filed paperwork ‘projects’. Argumentatively the society permeates or supports serial killing acts by condemning some of the acts such as prostitution. Most of the serial killers will focus on people who practice the condemned acts because their minds are, corrupt and thus consider such people as evil in society. Unlike many serial killers, the ’BTK serial killer’ focused on the more law-abiding or obedient citizens. He was more cold-blooded, more specific and critical and it was a positive aspect to him. It was his true inner reality. Most humans have a personal reflection of the society that assists them to direct the societal force internally other than express their reiterations. Drug abuse, suicides, tattooing and other aspects are common reactions just like serial killing or other homicides (Wilson and Seaman, 372). When the murders focus more and affect the common person or the law-abiding citizen, then there is little or no protection from society.

The mind of a serial killer

The above findings are therefore an indication that there are some motivating factors in the mind of a serial killer. More reveals are in various television series such as criminal minds, CSI law and order and the fascinating Dexter series. We love watching these shows as suspenseful stories, but they also provide some insightful information about the minds of a serial killer and what causes them to act beastly. Various television shows about serial killers show exactly how the criminals intelligently slip through the social settings undetected. The majority of the killers camouflage perfectly and pass by as good people. They also present the reality of how the killers go free due to poor or lack of enough evidence presented to the court. Society is equally denying the existence of background effects because the reality is that the social causes the emergence of such situations but is quick to prosecute the victims of poorly managed societies, such as serial killers. This is the reason that such people face poor representation in the courts.

Modern Dexter drama is an awesome TV show. The initial season had a link to the 2004 ‘Darkly Dreaming Dexter’ novel by Lindsay. In this series, the main character Dexter, a vigilante killer has his own code of justice administered to those termed evil and is able to escape the legal system. A key point to note in this case is that Dexter is a hermit, but the key point is that he was traumatized when he and the brother witnesses the death of his mother, who was brutally murdered by being cut to pieces with a power-saw. The two brothers young enough to understand anything lie in a pool of their mother’s blood for days. the scene injured the boys psychologically and both turn out to be serial killers due to their desire to kill. Dexter presents a character that is clearly able to live within the society and camouflage the social and even family settings with his real nighttime acts.


Shows like ‘numbers’ present the cold and well-calculated killers. Serial killers have the desire or urge of killing because the feeling grows in them. They possess some motivational factors often linkable to lack of love, special treatment of affection, lack of recognition, remembrance, and cherish from the family members, friends and society. Some of these killers actually begin from killing animals and graduate systematically to people. It is possibly a nurturing moment that transforms to a beastly act. Ed glen a serial killer in modern American society was seeking motherly affection and attention, but the mother failed to fulfill this childhood requirement. There are many factors that research findings place froth in line with serial killers, for instance, some killers like the publicity their acts receive, and they may be finding their limit of performance, the pleasures of life or are merely trying to collect some trophies to indicate their conquer. Others find it fascinating when they are in control regardless of whether they leave others in lamentation or happiness.

Jeffrey Dahmer, Ed Gien, Dennis, Ted Bundy and Gacy Wayne were all in control of their emotional needs and thus had the pleasure to kill. Did they have some aspects in common? Is it possible to identify this aspect early enough to prevent the emotionless serial killers that keep returning in our day-to-day existence?


Capps, Mary, and Dobkins Jim. My Boss Was the BTK Killer: I Was the Next Victim. California, CA: UCS Press, 2007.Press.

Michaud, Stephen, and Aynesworth Hugh. Ted Bundy: Conversations with a killer. New York, NY: Authorlink Press. 2000. Print.

Schechter, Harold. The serial killer files: the who, what, where, how, and why of the world’s most terrifying murderers. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 2003. Print.

Wilson, Colin, and Seaman Donald. The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence. New York, NY: Virgin, 2007. Print.

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