Friday, August 12, 2011

What Shapes a Murderer's Mind?

Have you ever sat there watching the news wondering what makes people do the things they do? What makes a mother want to kill her child? What makes a full grown adult want to kill an 8 year old boy? And most of all, what makes anyone want to kill --period? I’ve had this discussion with many friends and relatives. You really have to wonder what goes on inside the mind of a killer. I can see if it was self defense or perhaps, a home invasion where somebody got killed - things of that nature. I can even understand yet not comprehend, the reasonings behind crimes of passion, where a lover finds his or her spouse in bed with someone else and flips out. It’s a moment of pure insanity. There are so many other reasons for people killing, like a disgruntled employee, constant bullying that ends up in a revengeful pool of blood, and sadly, suicide. All of these things are unfortunate sides of human nature. A person, depending on their biological make up, mental stability or lack thereof, can do just about anything you would or wouldn’t expect. I’m sure you’ve seen newscasters interview neighbors of a murderer, “Oh he was such a sweet man, I would have never guessed he’d do such a heinous crime.” Then you have the many scenarios where most of the crimes are usually done by someone who once knew them.
There is one thing I cannot wrap my head around: dismembering body parts. Why??? For some, it’s a morbid and sick fascination. For others, it’s means of hiding the evidence when the idiot has a huge swamp down the road. Grossed out yet? But think about the person who is dismembering a body... How can they sit there doing their crime without vomiting or passing out? How can they live themselves? How can they even bear the thought or even stand through the horrific ‘job’? There have been forensic studies on the mind of a killer. The ones who are like Jeffrey Dahmer or Levi Aron have usually witnessed a father figure in their life hunting or taking apart an animal in means of food for their family. This is totally different than murder of a human being, but think about a child and what a child sees while witnessing someone they look up to, dismembering a deer, a lamb and a cow in some Jewish cultures. A close friend of mine has a son who’s always interested in what his dad is doing. Ever since he was 5 years old, the father would take him out hunting all the time and then back in the garage to drain the blood and dismember the animal. Now that the boy is almost 12, he gets to shoot the gun, kill the animal and now he’s dismembering the animal all by himself. I highly disagree with this, but there’s nothing I can say or do, nor do I want to. The boy is adorable, but he’s introverted and bullied in school because his mannerisms are slightly feminine. See where this is going? It sets up an atmosphere of resentment, ‘know how’ and possible disaster.

We can blame crime and violence on video games and violent movies, but when does it come to the point when reality is just too much for a child to view in terms of shaping his or her future? If the “violence” is real, does it make it “okay”? If it’s fictional, ie: video games/movies - does that make it less threatening? What shapes a murderer's mind?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit:


Jess said...

Strange correlation I think...hunting and murder. I grew up around hunters all my life and I ate (and still eat) what they kill.

I have just never been one to be able to kill animals...I still release spiders out the front door. Roaches, not so much.

Anyway, I think the differences between animals and humans is pretty evident. Humans have mental complexities that separate us from our four legged friends. It is also in the understanding that they are our food and the best kind to eat at that! No preservatives, free know, all those fun key words that are being thrown around these days.

Anyway, I don't believe there is a direct link to hunting vs. murderers. It is very well true that there are murders that are hunters, but I don't believe it to be the other way around.

P.S. I saw a pig slaughtered once and OMG. Traumatized. But it was really good for breakfast the next day. Still...never again.

Deb said...

Jess, I used to watch my dad drain the deer and then cut it up and have it on the dinner table by 6pm. So I have mixed feelings on it. But I think it's a bit too much for a kid at the age of 5 to start watching his dad cut up an animal and then learn to do it himself. There have been forensic studies that indicate most murders (the kind that dismember) were either exposed to or had the experience of cutting up an animal - which I find kind of interesting since for me, it's so different. It's for food - for hunting, etc.

So you actually went to a pig roast and saw it killed first??? That wouldn't sit well with me, but I LOVE a good pernil!!! :)

Snowbrush said...

I think you might be projecting too much of yourself onto such people since it's not only possible for them to do such things, but, in many cases, to enjoy doing such things.

Lauren said...

I grew up and hunted in Texas. Even debutants learned to use a rifle and went hunting with their fathers. Most of the interior of the country was raised on these frontier traditions. They have less violent crime than the big east and west coast cities. We were taught strong moral and religious values too. I don't see the cause and effect between hunting and serial killers.

Deb said...

Of course an article in a magazine while waiting for my doctor sort of sparked this post. It was saying that exposing children to the gutting and draining the animal after a hunt may have some influence on later mental instabilities. Then there's another short article about how serial killing can be linked to childhood animal cruelty. What do you think?

"From Animal Cruelty to Serial Murder: Applying the Graduation Hypothesis
Jeremy Wright
Christopher Hensley

Although serial murder has been recorded for centuries, limited academic attention has been given to this important topic. Scholars have attempted to examine the causality and motivations behind the rare phenomenon of serial murder. However, scant research exists which delves into the childhood characteristics of serial murderers. Using social learning theory, some of these studies present supporting evidence for a link between childhood animal cruelty and adult aggression toward humans. Based on five case studies of serial murderers, we contribute to the existing literature by exploring the possible link between childhood cruelty toward animals and serial murder with the application of the graduation hypothesis."

And I also know through experience, that being exposed as a child myself to these things never led me to do any harm to anyone, so it raises some questions regarding where they've researched it and on whom. I just keep reading these things where it says it's all about exposure of killing 'anything' while being a child.


Snowbrush said...

"I don't see the cause and effect between hunting and serial killers."

I personally don't know that there is one, yet hunting--inasmuch as it makes killing inoffensive and defenseless animals into a source of fun--teaches a contempt for non-human life. BTW, as was your case in Texas, I grew up in rural Mississippi, where it was very much the norm to kill animals in the name of recreation.

Anonymous said...

There is definitely a correlation between hunting and serial killing to some degree but I think it's more prevalent to those children who develop a habit of animal cruelty as that article stated. Recreation hunting and animal cruelty to me are the same. Monkey see monkey do so if you expose and teach your son how to torment animals and kill for fun, he'll have it in his head that it may be ok to do this in real life to people. There was a documentary I saw on tv where the kid grew up watching his father cut up the animal in his shed. The boy then started to experiment with the neighbor's cat, then the neighbor's dog and so on until eventually he experimented with people. Let kids be kids. Ride your bikes and play ball! Now its all video games and violence on cable.

the walking man said...

Animal torture for enjoyment is not hunting. I do not hunt, no one I know well hunts but I do know a couple of guys who's only reason to own a gun is to do The Detroit. Walk up to someone, put a bullet in their head and walk away. No sweat, no pain, no remorse.

Revenge, murder for hire, respect. These are some of the reasons humans hunt humans.

Xmichra said...

I have hunted and skined and drained animals since I was 5 or 6. I Don't see a realation to the mind of a murderer. I can see a difference in the attitude of what is happening though. I was taught to respect what we had taken from the earth, and to give dignity and praise. We used everything from an animal we had hunted, and we didn't make a cruel game out of it.

Maybe that is where the sutudy is picking up on the cruelty of some people who think it is funny to harm animals (for varrious reasons) and passing down that attitude/mentality to children where they can't associate differences yet (life is life). maybe.

Snowbrush said...

"exposing children to the gutting and draining the animal after a hunt may have some influence on later mental instabilities. Then there's another short article about how serial killing can be linked to childhood animal cruelty. What do you think?"

I think it sounds like speculation rather than research. However, people who torture and kill people as adults often report having tortured and killed pets and other animals that came their way when they were children. Whether hunting fits this category is unclear. While I deplore hunting, I've never known a hunter of whom I was personally afraid. I hunted well into my teen years simply because I thought that was what a "real man" was supposed to do. Then I quit cold-turkey and became the first vegetarian I had ever met (this was in Mississippi). I will say that killing animals for food is no different than buying them already killed in a store. I respect the former kind of person far more than I do the latter. The question then is, why eat meat. You don't need it, and you're supporting an enormous amount of suffering by buying it.