Anthropology Serial Killers and Mass Murderers

Document Type:Coursework

Subject Area:Anthropology

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As such, the murders must be separate events for serial killers and are driven by some sought of psychological pleasure or thrill derived from committing the murders (Leyton, 1986). Serial killers are characterized by lack of guilt and empathy and a lot of egocentrism which has some of them being referred to as psychopaths. They also have a tendency to hide their true tendencies by putting on a mask of sanity in order to appear normal or even charming. Mass murderers are different from serial killers in the sense that they murder a large number of people at the same location and time. Another difference is that for serial killers, their victims are either people they have a close relationship with or complete strangers.

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At the age of 13, Kemper began to actualize his killer thoughts by killing their cat and cutting it into pieces. He would also sneak into his mother’s room at night imagining what killing her would be like. He would also follow women in the neighborhood around, thinking about what loving and killing them would be like. One day, he ran away from his mother’s house and went to his father hoping that he would get to live with him. Unfortunately, his father took him back to his mother making it very clear that he had no interest in living with him. His first murder was in 1957 when he killed an attendant at a service station for refusing to sell him a stuffed animal on credit.

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His first mass murder was in 1958 when he went to Fugate’s house and killed her mother, stepfather, and little sister because they told him to stay away from Fugate. He also killed an industrialist from Nebraska, his wife, and their maid. Starkweather killed several other people and was finally sentenced to death. He was executed by the electric chair in 1959. On the grounds of their mental state, serial killers are divided into two major categories. The first category is the paranoid schizophrenia whereby the individuals are driven by psychosis whereby a voice keeps telling them what to do for such reasons as bizarre religious beliefs, fear of persecution or grandiosity illusions. The second category is the sexual sadist whereby the individual gets sexual satisfaction from engaging in unnatural sexual acts that involve mutilation and torture of people.

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Sociologically, aggression, as is characterized by the serial killing and mass murders, can be linked to the breakdown of the society’s structural fabric. Among the main causes of this is the inability of a society to provide adequate standards of living for its people through such ways as employment and social security benefits (Liebow, 1967). As a result of this, they tend to feel humiliated or marginalized by the success of other people. According to Leyton, multiple murderers view killing people as a way of exercising power and getting revenge on people they deem responsible for their failures (Leyton, 1986). As such, victims of multiple murders are most of the time members of the social classes or groups that are blamed by the multiple murderers for their failure in life.

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