Characteristics Of Serial Killers

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Serial killers have been on the rise in the United States for the last century. With this rise of cold-blooded killers, there also came a rise in individuals who are intrigued, or even obsessed, with these people who can kill with no remorse. Many Americans want to know what makes a serial killer tick. To find out, we may turn to television shows and movies such as Dexter or Silence of the Lambs. But the problem with conducting such limited research is that “nothing is exactly cut-and-dry with serial killers” (Bryant and Clark). Each is unique, from who they kill, why they kill, or how they kill. History, definition, classification, psychology and legality of serial killers provide a true sense of what a serial killer is. According…show more content…
The two ways to classify a serial killer are by motive and social/organizational patterns. Each of these categories can be broken down into smaller segments. Motive can be broken into two types: act-focused and process-focused. Act-focused killers are either visionary or missionary. Visionary killers are motivated by a voice or vision instructs them or grants them the permission to kill. Missionary killers are motivated by a “mission” to annihilate a certain group of people. They will often justify their actions by saying they are doing society a favor by getting rid of African Americans, prostitutes, homosexuals, or any other group that is inferior in their eyes. Process-focused killers generally enjoy killing and seek lust, thrill, personal gain, or power (Bryant and…show more content…
While physical, emotional, or sexual abuse can form mental illnesses that contribute to their gruesome desire to kill, the psychology behind a serial killer is much more complicated than just abuse. In addition to potential childhood abuse, many soon-to-be serial killers will exhibit three behaviors known as the “Macdonald Triad.” These behaviors include “bedwetting, arson, and cruelty to animals” (Bryant and Clark). Along with the Macdonald Triad, another significant mental abnormality displayed in serial killers is Antisocial Personality Disorder (ADP), which consists of seven

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