A serial killer is defined as “a person who murders three or more persons in at least three separate events with a “cooling off” period between kills”, as stated by “The Incidence of Child Abuse in Serial Killers”, an article written by Heather Mitchell and Michael G. Aamodt from Radford University. In another article, “Serial Killers: Nurture vs. Nature”, found on The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress website, examines the two broad categories of reasons behind serial killers’ choices and compulsions.
According to the article, these two umbrella terms are often pitted against one another: nurture and nature.
However for the purpose of this topic, they will be examined as parallels. “Are serial killers born with predetermined genes that play an integral part in creating their homicidal tendencies or do psychokillers become murderous through their surroundings as children?” (Nurture vs. Nature). Whether or not one has more effect has been speculated over for years. Psychological disorders, especially the untreatable, are diseases just as legitimate at cancer and MS, and can cause significant damage to the person suffering.
Do the disorders have the upperhand in the making of a serial killer? The childhood and familial environment have a huge impact on the emotional stability and worldly outlook of a person.
Abuse and neglect distort these two crucial elements of a child’s personality. Is maltreatment of children causing defects in their adult selves? These questions are very important. Serial killers in general are hard to grasp, especially their actions which are frightening and morbid.
Both of these possible causes, psychological (nature) and environmental (nurture) have significant weight in the psychological and medical communities regarding the behavior of serial killers, but it is still unclear which one is more dominant in the actual mind of the killer themselves.
There are many mental illnesses either factually attributed to specific killers or generally associated with the behaviors and actions of people who kill. These disorders are either blamed as the entire cause for the violent acts or just an aggravating circumstance to an already dysfunctional situation. The leading mental illness found in serial killers and criminals with similar taste is a personality disorder (PD). There are ten PDs that have been identified and defined according to the recently updated DSM V. Antisocial personality disorder (APD) is perhaps the most susceptible to violence and personal crimes.
In an online discussion, “Antisocial Personality, Sociopathy, and Psychopathy” from the website of Dr. Tom O’Connor, APD is said to be the most common mental illness attributed to the behavior of serial killers. The disorder actually affects 4% percent of the population, and many law enforcement officials and agencies consider APD sufferers synonymous with criminals. It is the chemical makeup and characteristics of the disease that can aid violent offenders in their crimes, especially the fact that they have little to no empathy or remorse. Some classic signs of APD are sense of entitlement, apathetic and blameful toward others, manipulative, disregard to obligations and responsibilities, and nonconforming to social norms (Antisocial Personality). This blatant negligence for the basic rights of others and respect of boundaries are the keys to helping someone with APD develop into a criminal.
There is no treatment or cure, so the only prevention is to lock the person away as early as the disorder can be diagnosed in a facility where manipulation will not be tolerated or fed into (Antisocial Personality). But these cunning individuals can throw up lies at ease with every opportunity they have, making it difficult to pinpoint the disease. APD sufferers do not all become raging serial killers, but their apathetic relationship with rules and their lack of understanding for consequences becomes a mental hotbed for evil intentions and plans, and the absence of a conscience gives way to action (Antisocial Personality).
Sociopathy and psychopathy are often the first diseases that come to mind for someone who has done little research on serial killers. These two disorders are compared and contrasted with one another seeing as though the signs and symptoms are almost identical. The major difference keeping these two from morphing into one is the nurture vs. nature factor. Sociopathy is sometimes considered a lesser or untrue form of psychopathy because sociopathy is triggered, or brought about, by environmental factors, especially those from childhood. Usually, but not limited to, having a negligent or absent father figure (Antisocial Personality). Sociopaths are molded into monsters by nurture as they grow and develop, but the predisposition is there from birth, hidden in the depths of the mind.
About 1% of the population are sociopaths. There are four types of the illness: common, alienated, aggressive, and dyssocial. Common sociopaths take pleasure in fulfilling every impulse, legal or not. “They are like feral children grown up, taking pleasures and gratifying impulses at every opportunity or temptation.” (Antisocial Personality). They do not become ashamed or embarrassed about the things most others become flustered about. They are chillingly apathetic. Alienated sociopaths are void of the ability to love humans entirely, though some become attached to pets. If these people marry, their life with their spouse and child(ren) is cold and distant. They are surrounded by an unbreakable mental shell, separating them from the people who love or care for them. These people feel cheated out of life in some ways and vocally wish for all of society to be destroyed (Antisocial Personality).
Many serial killers are said to have been violent bullies as children, or have had parents catch them torturing or dissecting live stray animals. These are aggressive sociopaths. They take a disturbing pleasure in having absolute power, whether it be at school, work, or very personal control over unassuming individuals. They seek out certain jobs in order to have control without tipping anyone off to their malicious intentions. The most common are: police officer, teacher, politician, and child caregiver including parental figures. They rarely tell anyone outright what they are trying to get, instead they drop small hints.
The constant illusion that they deal with other people normally and the dropping of clues, can provide them a special world in their heads filled with adrenaline and anticipation (Antisocial Personality). Seemingly opposite to the first three categories are dyssocial sociopaths, who are in fact capable of feeling remorse and guilt. People who live with dyssocial sociopathy can be loyal, especially to other people who help to fulfill their sociopathic compulsions by ordering them to kill others. Dyssocial sociopaths are usually seen becoming dedicated servants or ‘groupies’ to vicious killers who ask them to perform their horrible acts.
They are notorious complainers who believe that life is out to get them or treating them unfairly through instances that are generally considered to be bad luck rather than a personal attack (Antisocial Personality). It is necessary, however, to be understanding of the fact that not all sociopaths are violent murderers. Even without treatment or proper care, sociopaths can behave and perform normally in jobs and school. They may not even realize that their lack of empathy is there. When they do become aware of their condition and the power they could attain, things may begin to go downhill very quickly.
Psychopathy, on the other hand, is obvious from the moment a child can start speaking and performing basic tasks on their own. It is as vicious as sociopathy, sometimes even more so. For a long time, diagnosing children as psychopaths was a difficult subject. Most were appalled at the very thought, and others believed it was crucial for the disordered child to be labelled as soon as possible so as to provide the correct treatment and try to prevent them from hurting themselves or others.
Emma Mustich writes in her article, “9-Year-Old Psychopath: Dr. Alan Ravitz On How To Diagnose Children As Psychopaths”: “It’s really a combination of no anxiety along with lack of empathy, along with a self-centeredness, along with a predisposition to tell everybody exactly what they want to hear, even if the kid doesn’t believe it at all. So it’s a kind of self-interestedness that’s probably three standard deviations above the mean”. These children are chillingly callous; this is where is begins. The physical aspect –or the ‘nature’ aspect– is the cause, says an article “The Difference Between a Sociopath and a Psychopath” from Examined Existence. Not only is the gene present and dominant, the part of the brain that houses the neurons responsible for certain emotional abilities, including empathy and the conscience, is significantly smaller and more underdeveloped than that of someone who does not suffer from this illness.
Similar to sociopathy, there are four subtypes of psychopathy: primary, secondary, distempered, and charismatic (The Difference). Primary psychopaths are completely unable to feel emotions. They are immune to shame, guilt, or anxiety. These traits are a perfect combination for a vicious murderer. We as humans have the automatic ability to feel guilt, but it is developed and shaped into a certain mold as we grow up. Sociopaths who grow up in a healthy situation have the ability to be molded into an admirable citizen, psychopaths do not. They are void of emotion from the moment of conception. Secondary psychopathy is shadowed in guilt. These people usually “often worry and waddle in guilt” (The Difference).
Not only are they worriers, they are compelled to engage in extremely risky behaviors, including reckless sex and law breaking. Their actions can be guided by guilt or suppressed when involved in bad situations but they are addicted to the rush and can not stop. The highs of law-breaking and unsafe sex are enjoyed even more so by distempered sociopaths, who are also known to burst into fits of rage at the slightest problem. Their most common addiction is sex. Not only are the choices questionable, they can be dangerous. Pedophilia can stem from this disorder, as well as sexual assault and rape (The Difference). Charismatic psychopaths are exactly what they sound like.
Usually calm in demeanor, they are charming, intelligent, and witty. They can influence a whole room with just a few words and a smile. Cult killers and cult leaders are typically charismatic psychopaths. Psychopaths have a killing complex, whether they act on it or not. The taking of another human being’s life and/or dignity does not, and can not, faze them (The Difference).
The psychological disorders listed cover the “nature” aspect of the making of a serial killer, which explains the predetermined reasons for their actions and responses to certain internal triggers. The “nurture” aspect of the people committing the murders is just as important, which includes their childhood and upbringing. “The Incidence of Child Abuse in Serial Killers” discusses in detail how childhood trauma affects children. Though, not every child who is abused, neglected, or assaulted becomes a twisted serial killer in adulthood.
In sociopaths, the maltreatment they receive triggers or further pronounces the disorder which may not have revealed itself yet. “Abuse [is] categorized into physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect.” (The Incidence of Child Abuse in Serial Killers). It cites that 100% of serial killers have been abused at some point in their life, whether it was with violence, neglect, or humiliation; 40% reported physical abuse; and 70% reported witnessing and/or experiencing some variation of sexual abuse.
The article created a study involving 50 convicted serial murderers. They were each asked many questions, including questions about potential childhood abuse. The Table pictured above compares these specific test subjects’ responses with that of the general population. Almost every type of abuse is evidently more common in serial killers. Physical, sexual, and psychological abuse have devastating statistical gaps between the general population and that of serial killers.
In a way, the numbers for “No Abuse Reported” are a bit more unsettling. The numbers show that 68% of serial killers have been abused in some way, making it clear that difficult childhood situations are a factor in the development of a psychologically disturbed person. It must be taken into account, though, that some of these answers may be dishonest in nature. Abuse is a difficult topic and there are many who choose to ignore or cover up their past.
Some people who exhibit symptoms and act upon inappropriate or violent impulses may have grown up never having suffered with abuse; these people are psychopaths. As previously explained, psychopathy is a pre-existing condition that makes an appearance early on in life. Jennifer Kahn wrote an article for The New York Times Magazine in 2012 titled, “Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath?”. It is about a young boy, Michael, whose parents were concerned about his bizarre and disturbing behavior. Not only was is impulsive and extreme, but callous and cold. They brought him to multiple psychiatrists and went so far as to put him in an 8-week summer program fitted for children with behavior like Michael’s, run by Dan Waschbusch, a researcher at Florida International University.
Waschbusch refers to children like Michael as “callous-unemotional”, meaning that the children are cold, calculating, and apathetic to both their personal actions and their surroundings (Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath?). Usually, these children are compared to those with A.D.H.D., but instead of being randomly impulsive, they behave in a more planned out manner that results in outcomes that seem to stem from impulsivity. After being evaluated by multiple professionals, each one had a different suggestion as to which psychological disorder Michael was suffering with. His mother recalls: “We’ve had so many people tell us so many different things,” about Michael’s issues, including signs of possible A.D.D., depression, and/or O.C.D. “You could open the DSM and point to a random thing, and chances are he has elements of it.” (Can You Call).
Finally, Waschbusch presented another possibility: psychopathy. Michael is a pure example of a child whose disconcerting actions stem from a deeper place in their psyche, rather than from an external source (Can You Call).
Children who will develop or are developing into a serial killer typically show signs. There is, what the experts like to call, the Triad of Symptoms. This information comes from Radford University’s informative slideshow on serial killers. These symptoms are: Consistent bedwetting, especially in older children; fire starting; and animal torture, usually involving dissection of the animal and resulting in death or serious injuries (Radford University).
There is generally more to a killing rampage than just psychological and environmental conditions. Many studies have shown consistencies in the traits and styles of killers and these consistencies have helped to develop a typical profile. Radford University’s slideshow will be used as a source for the information. On average, 88.8% of killers are male, meaning the remaining 11.2% are female. 78.7% of all killers are white, 13.7% black, 4.4% Hispanic, and 3.2% Asian (Radford University). It seems as though the intelligence levels of killers are either extremely high or extremely low. The IQ usually determines whether or not they kill in an organized or disorganized fashion. Organized killers more often than not have a plan and consistencies in how, where, who, and why they kill.
There is more control and coherency when a killer is organized. When there is a lack of reason or skill in both the murder itself and the clean up, a killer tends to have a low IQ, classifying them as disorganized. The recorded IQs of the more prolific serial murderers range from 165-65, with no record of any between the numbers 121-95 (Radford University). The three most common motives behind these actions are sex, power, and financial gain, and the victims are categorized in a similar fashion to the killers themselves: sex, race, age, occupation, and personality rather than IQ and psychopathology. Then the crime scene is even analyzed and fit into different categories based on the type of weapon used, how it is used, the attempt to hide the body, and the location of the attack. All of these factors are essential to the capturing and incarceration of the violent criminal (Radford University).
Expanding more on the topic of organization regarding the killers’ work, Radford University has a series of charts comparing the behavior of organized vs. disorganized serial killers: This information helps visualize the differences in both types of killer. Disorganized killers are just that: disorganized. Their appearance is generally unattractive, their lives are usually less than satisfactory, and they make mistakes that could easily lead the evidence back to them. When it comes to the crime scene, it is left a mess. The body is crudely disfigured and weapons are left as evidence. Even their chosen victim is problematic, seeing as though they are “high risk”, meaning their death will be noticed easily.
Organized killers take time and thought to commit their crimes. They are cool and calm exteriorly, and that reflects onto their choices. They make everything seem quite normal, that is, until they murder someone. Even then, they take notice of what they are doing and do what they can to minimize evidence, by taking all weapons with them and using their own vehicle. They generally kill “low risk” people, some examples being prostitutes or homeless people (Radford University). This information is all based on statistics and evidence gathered over the years and there have been cases that oppose these standards. None of the information here is meant to act as a law regarding this topic, just numbers and similarities. (Radford University).
All of the charts and statistics above are based in fact. There are hundreds of cases exemplifying that. Ted Bundy, a sex killer, is perhaps the most notorious serial killer of the 20th century and proof that Radford University’s information is correct. Clark County Prosecution Office has a thorough biography of Ted Bundy online, going into detail about his life, murders, trial, and execution. He was born on November 24, 1946 to a 22 year old woman out of wedlock. The mother, Louise Cowell, was the son of a deacon, Sam Cowell, who was unwilling to assume the reputation of having an illegitimate grandchild. Ted’s father has never been identified, but certain family members suspect Sam Cowell to have fathered his own grandchild (Clark County Prosecutor: Theodore Robert Bundy). It was not until his high school years that Bundy learned the truth about his parentage. It was around that time that he began acting strange. He was said to be shy and introverted, yet well-liked throughout elementary school and junior high.
At some point in high school, Bundy later confesses, he “hit a wall” and lost the ability to understand people and the reasons behind their actions. He described the feeling: “I didn’t know what made things tick. I didn’t know what made people want to be friends. I didn’t know what made people attractive to one another. I didn’t know what underlay social interactions.” (Theodore Robert Bundy). This lack of empathy is a clear sign of both APD and sociopathy, both of which Ted Bundy suffered from. His childhood was normal, perhaps better than most.
He was not physically abused, but Sam was said to have had a hot temper and strange habits and interests, including a pornography collection, which Bundy secretly looked through as a child. He was quite normal until his family’s secret became clear to him. This was the cause for his mental state to warp and deteriorate; this was the event that brought out the monster in Theodore Robert Bundy, an insatiable beast that hungered for violence and death (Theodore Robert Bundy).
Bundy began his killing rampage in 1973, which ended in 1978 with the grisly rape and murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach. He preyed on young, beautiful women, each one of them with long, dark hair parted down the middle. His attraction to these characteristics are attributed to the emotional trauma he endured when his first relationship ended. He was dating a woman Stephanie Brooks–which is a pseudonym to protect her privacy–for quite a long time. Some say she was his “first love” but seeing as though Bundy suffered from Antisocial PD and Sociopathy, love is an emotion he could never feel. Brooks broke off their relationship because he was too immature and had little drive to become successful. This is the event that prompted the actual killings, all of which involved a young woman who resembled the person who destroyed him emotionally. “All of Bundy’s victims were white females and most were of middle class background.
Almost all were between the ages of 15 and 25. Many were college students”. (Theodore Robert Bundy). He lured them in by posing either as an unassuming, vulnerable person or a person of authority. Most of the time he put his arm or leg in a fake cast and asked for help to his car, a tan Volkswagen Beetle. Some situations called for a more trustworthy character to bait the poor young women, so he would occasionally dress as a police officer or firefighter. His weapon of choice was a crowbar or blunt objects of the like and his own hands, with which he strangled the women to death. It is reported, “Every recovered skull, except for that of Kimberly Leach, showed signs of blunt force trauma.
Every recovered body, except for that of Leach, showed signs of strangulation.” (Theodore Robert Bundy). Not only was he violent, Bundy was a sex killer, meaning his motive was sexually driven. He brutally raped all of his victims, both before and after death. He would perform necrophilia on the corpses repeatedly for days or weeks until the putrefaction became unbearable (Theodore Robert Bundy). Ted Bundy was executed on January 24, 1989 at 7:06am via electric chair, after being taken into custody and escaping twice. His death was the end to a terror that gripped the whole country for four years.
He was a white man, and completed his killings in his forties. Bundy’s psychological disorders were the cause of his actions. From what he said, he suffered no abuse and had a pleasant childhood. The lack of corruption in his young life is different from most serial killers, so nurture is not to be blamed for his actions. Both APD and sociopathy create a lack of empathy and remorse. Psychopathy also comes with similar chilling side effects but is present from birth, usually showing signs at an early age. Bundy had classic symptoms of sociopathy as an adult, such as assuming positions of authority to disguise his true self. Except for one isolated incident, his early life was not the reason for his lashing out. Nature is behind Ted Bundy’s actions, proving that serial killers can, and usually do, act on psychological impulses.
Sex killings, like that of Ted Bundy, are driven by one desire, which can not be said for most other killings. Many murders, whether part of a spree or not, do not have one specific reason. Cult killings are a difficult subject to grasp because of the large number of people involved. According Cult Watch’s website information page, a cult is ” any group which employs mind control and deceptive recruiting techniques.” (Cult Watch).
Charles Miles Manson (born Charles Miles Maddox on November 12, 1934) is the son of Kathleen Maddox, who partook in drug use and prostitution, says Biography.com’s Charles Manson biography. She was an alcoholic who once sold Manson to a waitress for a pitcher of beer. She was also negligent and paid little attention to him, prompting him to act out in criminal behavior from a young age. He was placed in multiple punishment facilities for young boys, escaping from almost every one. “He would eventually spend half of the first 32 years of his life behind bars.” says Biography.com.
As an adult, Manson was a musician in L.A., trying to work his way into the industry. He was also a classic hippie, abusing hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD and “ magic mushrooms” (Biography.com). CNN’s timeline of Manson’s life, Manson Family Murders Fast Facts, tells about an acquaintance of his, Gary Hinman, who knew Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys and introduced the two. Wilson let Manson live with him for awhile and offered to record his music.
Soon after this, Mason met and recruited the first two members of his following, which was referred to as The Family. These two young women had no idea what they were going to be a part of. On August 8 and 9 of 1969, The Family–which had grown substantially–committed the first of two of the most infamous crimes of all time: The Tate-LaBianca murders. They entered the home of director Roman Polanski and killed “Polanski’s pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, writer Wojciech Frykowski, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, and celebrity hair stylist Jay Sebring. Also killed [was] Steven Parent, who was a friend of the family’s gardener.” The victims were murdered in a sickening, violent fashion. When the authorities surveyed the home, some said it was the most horrible crime scene they had ever witnessed. The word “Pig” was written in Tate’s blood on the front door. (Manson Family Murders Fast Facts).
The next day the LaBianca murders took place and were just as grisly as the previous, including similar blood-written statements. The victims were “supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary.” These murders were not solved until the following November, which led to multiple incarcerations and trials for The Family, all besides one resulting in a life sentence. Charles Manson did not physically kill any of the victims, he, instead, ordered The Family to kill and maim for him. But because of the Joint-Enterprise law, he was charged with first degree murder. (Manson Family and Biography.com).
Manson is a white male with the IQ of 122. He ordered the killings when he was in his mid thirties. His final psychological diagnosis is schizophrenia with paranoid delusional behavior. The Beatles’ famous White Album was one of the many causes of Manson’s delusions. The songs, especially “Helter Skelter”, brought him to the conclusion that a racial war was going to break out soon, resulting in the victory of African Americans. His mental instability “deluded [him] into believing that he was harbinger of doom regarding the plant’s future, in much the same way that cult and evangelist figures today claim prophetic knowledge of the world’s end.” (Biography.com). He gathered a cult-like following and committed the murders he felt were necessary. It takes a certain type of person to recruit cult members and lead them to believe and do what the leader asks them to.
This person must be both charismatic and manipulative with a good “sales pitch” to convince people to follow and adopt their ideas (Cult Watch). Charles Manson was talented and charismatic, with ideas that were admittedly strange, and made friends easily. His followers were mainly young, impressionable girls with little knowledge of the world. It was easy for him to imprint his ideas on them (Biography.com). To this day, he still has plenty of people writing to him, visiting him, and longing to meet him. In 2014, he announced his engagement with a 26-year-old follower.
For Charles Manson, nurture and nature both play a role in his sickening lifestyle. His psychological disorders shaped the direct causes of his deadly intentions, but his defective childhood made it easy for him to start committing crimes young. His mother’s absence created a void that Manson could never fill. Now, that void is not the reason for his crimes, but if he had had a mother figure, he could have been helped. The Manson Family cases are classic and famous cult killings, fitting the criteria for that of a serial murderous crime.
The Columbine School Shooting, though once called the “worst school shooting in American history”, is possibly one of the most interesting psychological cases of serial killing to exist, according to Slate’s The Depressive and the Psychopath. On April 20, 1999 Dylan Klebold, 17, and Eric Harris, 18, brought over 60 bombs and multiple firearms to their high school in Jefferson County, Colorado. They killed 15 students and teachers, including themselves in a final act of suicide, and injured 25 others. Their intent was not only to shoot up the school, but to set off bombs as well (Depressive and Psychopath). Their true reasons for massacring their school are rarely understood by Americans who have not researched the incident or the boys in depth.
At first glance, the purpose seems clear: they wanted revenge. While this may be partially true, neither the school nor the students were their true targets. The two, led mainly by Harris, were deeply disturbed and rebellious individuals (Depressive and Psychopath). “Klebold is easier to comprehend, a more familiar type. He was hotheaded, but depressive and suicidal. He blamed himself for his problems. . . . Harris was not merely a troubled kid, the psychiatrists say, he was a psychopath”. (Depressive and Psychopath). Harris had both a journal and a blog-like website where he shared his destructive thoughts and hateful judgments.
They were hoping to make a statement by attacking a classic American symbol for life, freedom, and innocence: school. Not only were they hoping to make a statement, they longed for fame. They wanted to conduct the best school massacre in history (Depressive and Psychopath). The idea for an attack was planned a year prior to the shooting and involved more than just Harris and Klebold. On the American Patriot Friends Network, in A Complete Chronological Report, Harris is said to have been the leader of the Trenchcoat Mafia, which was a group of about 30 or more high schoolers who had similar opinions and outlooks on life. They often wore trench coats to school and listened to industrial hard rock music. They were all just generally dark, unhappy people.
There is some speculation about whether or not there were more than two shooters on April 20 along with some actual statements from students and witnesses claiming that there were at least three shooters in total. These other suspects would have most likely been other members of the Trenchcoat Mafia but only Harris and Klebold have been held responsible for the massacre (A Complete Chronological Report).
The two boys were both white, middle class, and had relatively normal IQs. Not much is said about their familial childhood, besides the fact that they were both raised in normal, loving homes. This is not ruling out the fact that there may have been unspoken abuse or neglect, but based on what is written and researched there were never any problems at home; however, they were both bullied and taunted for being different at school. This type of abuse can trigger psychological problems the same way that family problems can (Chronological Report). But both boys were plagued with mental illness, triggered or not.
Klebold suffered from depression, a neurologically based psychological condition that can be passed down through genes; Harris was a psychopath which is 100% predetermined and psychological. Their conditions do not belittle the fact that what they did was incorrigible, neither legally nor morally, but they do help to explain why their brains led them to act on the impulses (Depressive and Psychopath).
Despite years of careful research and picking apart evidence, serial killers are still remarkably misunderstood. Their actions are shocking and dreadful, yet fascinating and thrilling. They suffer from heavy, burdensome disorders, most of which make it impossible to feel emotion or empathize with those around them. The world is a strange and foreign place, even those around them are impossible to bond with. In some cases, their illnesses are made worse by their family members. Life is uncomfortable and unfavorable for these people, especially as children. They are deemed as disobedient, selfish kids who do not know their place.
Sometimes they are abused or molested for no reason and disregarded until they take criminal action, as was the case with Charles Manson. The signs appear early and more recently, with more awareness being spread, parents are taking notice and trying to help their children. Taking early notice does not necessarily constitute a surefire cure or halt the development of the illness. Psychopathy physically can not be stopped and once sociopathy sets in, there is no cure. Not every psychopath is a vicious killer, and most can live and thrive in a normal setting with little to no damage to others around them. It is when negative environmental factors affect the already present or predestined psychological disorders that a serial killer is made. Both nurture and nature have to take part in the development of this kind of person.
The sickness prevents the killer from feeling remorse and the past abuse can cause them internal pain that may be a driving force (Nurture vs. Nature). Fear swept the nation when Ted Bundy was murdering people in the seventies, and guard dog prices jumped from $500-$1500 when the Manson Murders were reported (Manson Family). But recently, the stories of their crimes are met with web pages devoted to their attractiveness and ideologies. One must wonder why these sick people and their horrendous actions are so fascinating to people uninvolved. It could very well be the inconceivable amount of psychological dysfunction that makes these people so intriguing to the public.
Some people become so interested that an obsession develops. There are dozens of Tumblr blogs dedicated to the infatuation and attraction to these killers, especially Ted Bundy and the Columbine shooters. The serial killer culture has progressed from fear to obsession, which is a scary phenomenon. Does the attraction stem from the curiosity and mystery surrounding the killers, or is it something else, something more sinister?