Defining the Factors that Contribute to Serial Killer's Identity

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I always had the desire to inflict pain on others and to have other inflict pain on me. I always seemed to enjoy everything that hurt. The desire to inflict pain, that is all that is uppermost. – Albert Fish

In our daily lives, we can encounter many different people in our surroundings. We can easily identify and point out the difference in race, ages, and personalities from one another. However, a lot of times it is impossible to know if the person in front of you at a Starbucks line or the person who lives next door is hiding a horrible secret. In occasions, someone can portray a whole different person than what they really are: a serial killer. This fact is really frightening because we could be even be living with one currently and not know it. Although some serial killers could be born with a mental illness, that is just one small part of the puzzle when it comes the structure that makes them. Not matter what case could anyone present, specially scientists, there’s no doubt that serial killers are made not born.

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What makes someone a serial killer? Why would anyone take another human’s being life? What could’ve possibly went wrong in someone’s life to end up murdering innocent people? Are serial killers born or made? These are just some of the questions a lot of individuals have when the subject about murder is being discussed and I aim to answer each one of them, in particular, the last one presented. It is important to know and understand the definition of the term serial killer before we can proceed to analyze the reasons behind them. In A Case Study of Serial Killers, it is stated that ‘’If a person kills several victims of usually of a particular type, over a period of time with varying intervals in between, apparently without motive except for sexual or sadistic gratification, he is described as “serial killer”.

Now that we all have a better and more accurate understanding of what defines being a serial killer, I can start presenting some of the reasons why it’s undeniable that they are made not born. I understand that a lot of people would like to cover them up by stating that they have a mental illness which they were born with. The reason behind this is because it is easier to say this than it is to analyze all the facts and events that led them there. However, every little aspect in a serial killer’s life is critical and eventually triggered them to react this way. In continuation, I will specifically concentrate in explaining how nurture, lack of affection, rejection, sexual abuse and bullying contribute to the forming of these monsters.

The dictionary of Merriam-Webster defines the term nurture as: “the sum of the environmental factors influencing the behavior and traits expressed by an organism”. In other words, the surroundings in which an individual is raised and exposed to. One’s nurture basically shapes their lives to a good or bad conduct. A lot of people do not realize the big effect that being surrounded by bad role models and situations in early years of life can cause to any individual. Often, even the individual affected by these events is in denial of what they have become and why. For example, Paul LaRosa (2017) presents in his article a story of a serial killer from South Carolina named Todd Kohlhepp who confessed that he killed seven human beings but denied the fact that he is a serial killer. Why was it so hard for him to realize what he is? After hours of analyzing his case, including his early years of life, it is presented that there were factors which showed signs of what he was becoming due to an event that he had to face: his parent’s divorce. Although since his childhood he had a continuous bad behavior, his mother did not take action because she did not realize what was happening. The divorce was not the only factor that contributed to his behavior but also it was found that there was history of killers in his family up to three generations back.

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