Evaluating the Profile of Psychopathic Serial Predators: The cases of Serial Killers
For quite a long time, crimes have been an issue that the globe has been attempting to curb. Intriguing is the fact that crime rates have been persistently increasing with time. This has been despite the efforts that societies have relentlessly been putting forward to curb the crimes. In some situation, the trends in crimes have taken the concerned groups back to in order to understand factors that account situation. Some have argued that crimes and societies may be inseparable. On the other hand, the liberals have attributed crimes to various factors such as poverty. Psychopathic serial predators are some of the elements crimes that have been largely debated. Questions have been raised about the appropriate ways in which the behaviors of the serial predators could be effectively accounted. On one hand, serial predators are considered to be evil people while it is considered to be a disorder that could be diagnosed, on the other hand. As far as psychopathic notion is concerned, psychopathic serial predators are presented as people bearing limited responsibility of their actions. This paper aims to consider whether psychopathic serial predators could be regarded to be evil and responsible for their actions by picking on the psychopathic serial predators.
The Common notion of the Psychopath world and Some cases of psychopathic serial Killers
In creating a criminal profile, it is imperative to draw a line of distinction between psychopaths and non-psychopaths, as well as what sets it psychopath serial predators from the general criminal behavior elements. The concept of psychopath was introduced to refer to the group of people with exhibit of behaviors that had been associated with moral insanity, imbecility or idiocy. However, it is worth noting that variation regarding the applicability of the concept existed, yet there was general concurrence that the labeled elements could not either recognize or act appropriately in line with the general rules and principles. The term was developed by psychiatrics community in the 1860s but would later gain popularity among the popular culture material such as movies, literature and media, which is argued to have constrained its real meaning (Blair, Derek and Karina, 2005). In particular, popular culture presented psychopath as a term that is synonymous to hysteria or depression.
About 5 percent of population exhibit sociopathic and psychopathic disorders of personality. Such disorders are characterized by disregard of the societal norms, impulsive behavior and antisocial behaviors, and lack of guilt or fear (Blair, Derek and Karina, 2005). Indeed, the current and widely concurred definition of psychopath is that which describes psychopaths, first, people with limited impulse of moral control and is triggered by the problems in the brain. Secondly, psychopaths are never ashamed of their actions and do not perceive the magnitude of the resultant harm as other people do. Thirdly, this group of people has difficulties in drawing lines between the arbitrary, as well as moral rules. Fourthly, the treatment of psychopath is somewhat complex and even lacking. The lastly bit of the psychopath feature is what may be considered as being particularly imperative. It is considered imperative because what needs to be adjusted is the incapability to experience the emotions that regulate and inform the moral actions — if the psychopaths have the inability of experiencing guilt, then it is difficult for them to be controlled by emotion in what they do.
In examining the psychopath serial killers profile, it is also imperative to draw on the documented historical incidents of psychopathic serial killers for this could construct or reconstruct some points in their profile. The case of Dennis Rader is one of the well documented cases possessing attributes of psychopath actions. In the court proceeding, Rader gave comprehensive dispassionate details about as many as 10 murders he had committed in Wichita. He had gone as far as nicknaming himself as BTK, an acronym for “bind, torture, kill” to describe his actions. In the view of a person with conscience, the Rader`s acts are particularly heinous. However, to him, such can only be described as the greatest accomplishment to share with the world. Rader`s killing spree began as early as 1970 until he was finally arrested in 2005 (Schoenfeld, Neylan & Marmar, 2004). In the court proceedings, Rader was open, confident and boastful in narrating how he would chose, stalk and kill the unsuspecting victims. Besides being a psychopathic serial killer, Rader had been active church member and had even served as the president of the church council, just before his arrest. He had also held a position of a compliance supervisor charged with the responsibility of animal control. He was a family man, married and with two children.
His presentation in court room was a typical trait of a psychopath, considering that he showed a limited autonomic arousal and did not show remorse for the actions. Whereas the description confirms the description of a psychopath, it also obviously raised certain questions. There is a dominant view that the serial killers are antisocial, lonely and unable to sustain relations (Nichols, 2004). The description is a negation. In my view, Rader was an ordinary man, perhaps, even exceptional, as far as the positions he held is concerned. It would not have been difficult to suspect him because he was a clergy. May be, this was a secret behind his success. The psychopath serial killers present themselves differently from deranged killers and sociopaths. In any case, if they presented themselves like monsters, they would be apprehended with immediate effect. In this regard, psychopaths can be described as people who put on masks of sanity, just as Rader would never have been suspected before he was arrested.
It is arguable that not all psychopathic predators develop criminality. However, Rader`s case is a situation where a psychopath may have developed into a serial killer. There are cases of psychopaths in history who successful lived a double life thus, Rader is one successful such. Questions have been raised about ways in which psychopath serial killers become criminals and the answers given largely debated. One of the approaches has been that the psychopath development into criminal elements is as a result of the faulty brain which erroneously fails to bond during the youthful stages.
Some of the psychopathic killers often incur a lot of suffering during their youthful stages, including verbal and physical abuse, abandonment, parental neglect and abuse. Some of them are nurtured in the environments filled with substantial feelings of powerlessness. Most psychopath serial killers do not engage in the incidents of killing until after the age of 30s and beyond (Ursano, Freidman & Norwood, 2004), and this could be a clue that their behaviors are relative to age and development. Another case is that of Tedd Bundy, who has been described as the most frightening serial killer. Tedd, an educated and handsome law student is described to have murdered and stalked a dozens of young women who resembled a girlfriend he had broken a relationship with. This way, it could be inferred life experiences are also crucial in shaping the lives of psychopath serial killers.
The distinctive profile of a psychopath is not limited to the aspect of lacking shame, remorse or aversion. As mentioned earlier, it includes the aspects lacking the capacity to distinguish between what is wrong and what is right, as far as conventional standards are concerned. In this case conventional standards are those that are collectively made or stipulated. Conventions are crucial to human interactions but are considered to be cultural relative, as well as universal. This is indisputable because the manners, governing rules and procedures are all varied based on geographical location and the surrounding society, but some appear to be uniform, for example, the notion that killing is considered unacceptable across the world.
Indeed, various studies that have been dedicated to study the behaviors of the psychopaths have pointed out that this group of people is does not deviate from the profile. Perhaps, the psychopath world can be only further elucidated in analogies. Here, considerations may be given to the situation, with regard to moral rules, where the society is trying to tell an individual that there are various differences in the actions when he considers the actions to be normal. For example, one may inform that there are certain ways in which one is supposed to wake up from bed, which are acceptable, as opposed to others. Someone in the world of psychopaths will see such directives or pieces of advice as conventional and which do not apply to him. The psychopath person would not even care about what he hears because he would not be sure of whether and where it matters because it looks arbitrary (Ludwig & Hirschfield, 2000). Otherwise, a psychopath person may turn to those offering such ascriptions as people who are simply bothering or unnecessarily domineering.
Harmful actions are what psychopaths never get to understand very well. Despite the fact that they could come across what could be considered unacceptable, they will always find difficulties in caring about the implications. In this regard, the fact that they are blind presents a serious problem not only to them, but also to those people around them. Given that a psychopath person is unable to see, it becomes difficult for him to learn and respond accordingly, even if the entire society is doing so (Bereska, 2011). Thus, as far as psychopathic serial killers are concerned, it is often difficult for them to discern the badness that are implied by killing, and it is also impossible for the desist from such acts.
The criminal responsibility of psychopathic serial killers
Perhaps, another distinguishing aspect of the psychopathic serial killers from other sociopath and deranged killers is the aspect of criminal responsibility. The common approach to ascertain criminality is that informed by a set of two elements. These are men rea and actus reaus (Hare, 1999). Men rea pertains to intent, which touches on the element of the mind to commit the crime. On the other hand, actus reaus pertains to the element of voluntarily participation in the crimes. In this regard, a person would be held responsible for crime commitment if found to have voluntary participated and intended to commit the crime. Applying this criminality approach to psychopath serial killers implies they should not be held responsible. Psychopath serial killers can be described as those who are out of control of their actions. This further implies that the element of intent in the commitment of the acts can be considered to be limited.
Distinguishing Psychopath serial killers from the other criminal elements
What is also crucial in the reconstruction of the profile of psychopaths is to understand the causes of crimes for other groups, which would clearly present psychopath serial predators as outliers. Here, theories of crimes can be considered to be particularly imperative. There are various approaches that attempt to attribute the behaviors that result in deviance. Some of the approaches employed include the differential association theory, theory of anomie, neutralization theory and conflict theory. Differential theory posits that deviance behavior is never innate but learned from the groups that one associates. An individual learns the techniques that are required for crime commitment and also lured into the rationalizations for the commitment of the crime by the peers. Neutralization theory presents deviances as individuals who redefine the immorality as something that is morally upright. The eventuality is that crimes that are committed are perceived as reasonable actions that are subject to accountability. The sociological theory of anomie presupposes that individuals resort to committing crimes as the only alternative of securing what they could not attain by other means. Conflict theory maintains that limited power and freedom is a precondition to crimes (Becker, 1968).
It cannot be disputed that the above-mentioned sociological theories are relevant and consistent with situations and motives that result in crimes. Based on differential approach, a child that associates with peers who posses guns illegally is likely to start possessing guns. Based on theory of anomie, deviances from the poor backgrounds are likely to engage in crimes while accounting that that they had no other alternatives to vent for their family needs. Based on neutralization theory, the pop culture has often viewed crime commitment as heroic. Being a gangster is often associated with heroism. Similarly, robbing a bank would be welcome as heroic. Based on the conflict theory, the oppressed and the marginalized have the likelihood of engaging in deviancy behaviors. In this regard, these theories, commonly referred to as the sociological theories are consistent in accounting the causes of general crimes, including those of the sociopathic and other evil killers.
There are other ways in which dysfunctional behaviors could be described. For instance, one theory follows that the street culture is a composition of the rules that govern the behavior of human beings and which are informal. These rules offer a prescription of ways in which people are supposed to respond in the case that are challenged. In there are two categories of people the street and the decent. The decent people have the tendency of accepting the societal mainstream values while the street people act in the manner that accords them the superficial sense of the community (Anderson, 1999). In regard to the labeling theory, people become deviant because of the societal labels that are placed on them by the authorities, as well as other members in the society. In this regard the definition of deviancy does not always conform to the actual behaviors of the labeled persons. As people are labeled, the behaviors transform the primary deviance to the secondary deviancy. Primary deviance is the initial condition of breaking the rules while the secondary deviance is where the person accepts his place as labeled and continues committing the crimes. Labeling is often the culmination of the social contests between groups in the societies, and follows the process of conferring status to others. Those who are decent consider others as the street, while those considered as the street consider selves as decent, also labeling the other group as the street. Whereas this theory is relevant, it only holds for a limited number of deviance cases. In my view, this could only be the case in so far as self esteem issues are concerned. A label that results in the creation of low esteem would encourage the subjects to be sensitive and fight whenever provoked. People would develop low esteem because they are labeled. In the same way, if a person is labeled delinquent, he would become delinquent because of the inability to change the view. In regard to control theory, criminal activities are orchestrated by the destructive interaction between impulses that are aimed at quelling crimes and criminal activities. A person has the tendency of engaging in criminal activities if the bond of attachment to the societal beliefs, norms and stand about the activities are weak. The assumption is that the criminals are often rational and would act in the manner that maximizes their reward (Rubington & Weinberg, 2008). These are the comprehensive theories that explain the causes of crime, but cannot explain the psychopathic serial killers.
In conclusion, the profile detailing psychopath serial predators has been as controversial as debatable. One of the controversial points has been whether psychopath serial predators could be held responsible for their crimes. In some cases, psychopathic serial predators have been mistaken for insanity. This paper has sought to construct or even reconstruct the criminal profile of psychopath serial predators by focusing on the serial predators. In creating a criminal profile, it is imperative to draw a line of distinction between psychopaths and non-psychopaths, as well as what sets it psychopath serial predators from the general criminal behavior elements. Indeed, the current and widely concurred definition of psychopath is that which describes psychopaths, first, people with limited impulse of moral control and is triggered by the problems in the brain. Secondly, psychopaths are never ashamed of their actions and do not perceive the magnitude of the resultant harm as other people do. Thirdly, this group of people has difficulties in drawing lines between the arbitrary, as well as moral rules. Fourthly, the treatment of psychopath is somewhat complex and even lacking. The lastly bit of the psychopath feature is what may be considered as being particularly imperative. It is considered imperative because what needs to be adjusted is the incapability to experience the emotions that regulate and inform the moral actions — if the psychopaths have the inability of experiencing guilt, then it is difficult for them to be controlled by emotion in what they do. These descriptions are all consistent with the common cases of psychopath serial killers. Furthermore, the dominant view that the serial killers are antisocial, lonely and unable to sustain relations is not true. As far as men rea and actus reus are concerned, psychopath serial predators can never be held responsible for their mistakes.
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Evaluating the profile of Psychopathic Serial Predators The cases of Serial Killers
Evaluating the Profile of Psychopathic Serial Predators: The cases of Serial Killers
Evaluating the Profile of Psychopathic Serial Predators: The cases of Serial Killers