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Sunday, 13 December 2015

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The urge to kill

A scientific way to understanding the mind of a serial killer:

"I don't feel guilty for anything. I feel sorry for people who feel guilt," Theodore Bundy, convicted serial killer, Florida State Prison US.

These haunting words offer a horrifying insight into some of the darkest minds in criminal history. Its founding theory lies in the fact that man is a hunter. The act of chasing excites him. Inside each human soul is a desire for personal gratification. This desire rapidly progresses to an addiction that is beyond control.

Western countries have seen the rise, conviction, incarceration and execution of such psychotic men and women. Some were never caught. Sri Lankan society is also witnessing the rise of such incidents over the past few years. Our ancient history shows that the Queen regnant Anula, in the Kingdom of Anuradhapura, murdered her four husbands and poisoned her son, before assuming power. She was subsequently burned to death.

Murder falls under categories of premeditated murder, sudden provocation and self defence. In the case of the serial killer his criminal agenda covers a broader spectrum of being pre planned, where his long time fantasies are made real. There have been strange cases where they did commit killings on sudden impulse. The killer has short lapses of being 'inactive'to escape the police manhunt, and then strikes again. We have seen this pattern in the 17 murders that have plagued the serene town of Kahawatte. The term 'Serial Killer' was first coined by FBI Investigator Robert Ressler, who can take credit as the man who began the system of profiling criminals, based on crime scenes and their methods of murder. He dedicated many years, hoping to outsmart this new breed of killer. In the movie The Silence of the Lambs, Dr. Hannibal Lectre (brilliantly portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins) plays the role of a calculating cannibalistic killer, who always outsmarts the police.

Bizarre killings

As society evolves people are obsessed with self satisfaction. This makes it easy for the deranged killer to stalk and pick his victims at random, without raising any doubt about his actions, as often the killer is perceived a 'decent' person. In the 18th Century London city was plagued by a criminal known as Jack the Ripper, who preyed on prostitutes in the dark alleys of the White Chapel district. Some detectives thought he could be a Surgeon as he made clean precision cuts on his victims. As criminal history shows us this kind of murder resurfaced in 1940 where John Haigh of England, killed many victims, drowning all evidence as he placed their bodies in an acid bath. Peter Manuel took his turn in the 1950s with some bizarre killings. In 1960 it was Ian Brady who made the headlines killing 5 children. During the 1970s the city of New York became the domain of David Berkowitz known as the Son of Sam, who shot and killed his victims with a .44 caliber handgun. He would soon be outdone by the lust laden sadist Theodore "Ted' Bundy who is said to have raped and killed as many as 36 women. Then in 1980 it was the legend of the BTK Killer, Dennis Radar, BTK coined from his brutal style of Bind, Torture and Kill.

This was soon followed by another spell of mayhem as Richard Ramirez known as the Night Stalker, would follow his lonely victims and rob, rape and throttle them. A confessed Satanist, Ramirez would leave a pentagram, drawn from the victims own blood as his personal signature at every crime scene. After this the Americans had to encounter the demonic Jeffery Dahmer, who killed 17 young men, and was said to eat their remains which he kept in his refrigerator, prompting Police to label him as the Miluwaukee Cannibal. Crime story readers will recollect the killing spree of the Zodiac Killer, who was never caught.

Fractured psyche

- i.ytimg.com

Every human action warrants a motive. Police and forensic science have for decades tried to analyze the inner thinking process of the serial killer. Dr. Morrison who dedicated many years to research had interviewed nearly 130 death row inmates in prison, concluded that all such offenders shared some common recurring traits. Being fluent liars they have the charisma to impress people. Most lacked a coherent personality and were not emotionally mature. After arrest they claim to have no memory of their crimes, and thereby display a "fractured" psyche.

They showed no understandable motive for killing, no personality structure, zero personality development over time. In some ways they lack self-control, and the ability to think and feel, most are above average intelligence. They are in fact psychologically incomplete human beings. Not all of them have been sexually or physically abused. Many convicted criminals do claim they were abused as children and often raised by a single parent or guardian as in the strange case of Charles Manson. This is where they develop an anti social pattern of thought, and begin to live in a fantasy world of denial, where they exercise complete control over imaginary characters. Such children also end up being the target of bullying in school. Sadly these uncared souls, blossom into violent adults, fueled by rage and shame.

Much research has been done to identify if the capacity for such violent blood lust actions is due to ones childhood upbringing or a development dysfunction in the brain cells or a deadly combination of both. A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin showed brain scans revealed that psychopathic tendencies in criminals was associated with decreased connectivity between the amygdala, a structure of the brain that processes negative stimuli, and the prefrontal cortex, a region in the front of the brain that interprets the response from the amygdale, two almond-shaped groups of nuclei located deep and medially within the temporal lobes of the brain in complex vertebrates, including humans.

The killer does not feel any emotion, embarrassment or nervousness, when engaging in his beastly acts. It is believed this individual cannot suffer any emotional pain, but can suffer physical pain. Such persons are always manipulative, impulsive and aggressive. A Psychopath is a human with a personality disorder. Ed Gein mutilated, skinned and gutted his female victims because he wanted to be a woman and thereby have a sex change, whilst some say he wanted to remake a model of his mother who had passed away. He was the inspiration for the movie the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Some researchers believe that criminals like Gein may suffer from extreme cases of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

We cannot underestimate the strong influence of watching pornography, which will manifest into violent sexual desires .It is an addiction. A mind filled with such content will immediately take advantage when opportunity opens. Then in a state of evading confrontation he will attempt to first bribe the woman, failing which he will proceed to kill, and dispose the body. If he encounters success, and eludes the Police he will confidently strike again and it becomes a criminal pattern. The influx of drugs can also increase such passions. Sri Lankan society must see the writing on the wall. The time has dawned where many diabolic deranged minds, are slowly but steadily invading our society, and giving rise to a new pattern of crime: The unmistakable pattern of the manic serial killer.

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