The Strange Allure of the Killer Living Next Door

A serial killer is frequently an unassuming everyman who could easily be a next door neighbor or co-worker.

Jack the Ripper: History’s Greatest Murder Mystery

More than 125 years after his killing spree abruptly ended without his capture, the murders of Jack the Ripper continue to tantalize people around the world.

The Strange and Enduring Appeal of Charles Manson

Charles Manson was convicted of seven counts of first-degree murder for a killing spree in 1969, but he did not actually murder the victims himself.

How You Can Tell You're Dealing With a Psychopath

Psychopaths are unable to form emotional attachments with others or feel empathy, although they often have charming personalities.

The Guilty Pleasure of True Crime TV

Watching true crime TV is like eating candy in bed at three o’clock in the morning.

Understanding Psychopathic Criminals

Psychopathic criminals are cunning, manipulative, egotistical and cold blooded.

How to Know if You Are Dealing With a Sociopath

The good news about sociopaths is that due to their volatile personalities, you can typically see them coming

Prescription Drugs and Malpractice: A Lethal Combination

Prescription drug addiction and medical negligence create a “perfect storm” of corruption, misery and death in the U.S.

The Great Myth of White, Female Killers

Much of the general public’s knowledge concerning homicide is a product of stylized and incorrect depictions of such events in the news and entertainment media.

Our Enduring Love Affair With Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Like our favorite Hollywood monsters and boogey men, Dr. Hannibal Lecter is tantalizing to us because he is goal oriented, devoid of conscience and almost unstoppable.

Homicide Fact: Race Matters

According to the data, the most likely victim and perpetrator of murder in the U.S. is a young, black male, approximately twenty-one years of age.

Homicide Fact: Age Matters

Murder victims and perpetrators tend to be very young as the likelihood of becoming either one dramatically decreases with age.

Pamela Smart: From Cheerleader to Celebrity Monster

Sensationalized media depictions of Smart before, during and after her 1991 trial have transformed her into a celebrity monster in the popular culture.

Female Serial Killers Are No Myth

The news and entertainment media focus on and sensationalize the acts of violence and torture perpetrated by male serial killers. Although the graphic images of male serial killers sell countless books and movie tickets, they also perpetuate the myth that all serial killers are demented men.

Why White, Female Alleged Killers Become Celebrity Monsters

When an attractive young, white woman is charged with murder, the media feed the public’s huge appetite for graphic images and information on the case.

White Females Are Rarely Murder Victims or Perpetrators

The myth that women are at greater risk of homicide victimization than men suggests that white females have the greatest risk of all potential victims. There is also a myth which contends that women do not commit murder. This myth is based on traditional gender norms which claim that females are too passive and sweet to kill someone.

The Zodiac and Other Thrill Killers

Thrill killers like the Zodiac are perfectionists and often have narcissistic personalities. Such traits may drive them to pursue the goal of a perfect murder. Their motive is to induce pain or terror in victims prior to killing them. Victims are generally strangers but the killer may stalk them for a period of time before the attack to fuel the the excitement of the hunt.

The Enduring, Ghoulish Legend of Lizzie Borden

The story of Lizzie Borden has taken on mythical proportions over the years. Despite her acquittal in criminal court in the nineteenth century for the murders of her father and stepmother, Lizzie has always been considered guilty by the public as a result of ghoulish media and cultural representations of her.

Women We Love to Hate—and Why We Hate Them

When a pretty, young, white woman is charged with premeditated murder it creates intense curiosity because their alleged crimes violate sacred norms of gender, race, and even motherhood. Their trials become media events because the public is shocked and outraged by the actions of these norm violating females.

Moral Panic: Who Benefits From Public Fear?

Moral panic is a situation in which public fears and state interventions exceed the objective threat posed by an individual or group who is/are claimed to be responsible for creating it. Central to the concept is an argument that public concern or fear over an alleged social problem is mutually beneficial to state officials, politicians, law enforcement and news media.

Serial Killers: Modus Operandi, Signature, Staging & Posing

FBI profilers examine, among other things, whether a victim’s body was posed to predict whether an unknown offender is an organized or disorganized killer. Organized criminals are meticulous planners, often psychopathic but know right from wrong, not insane and show no remorse. Disorganized criminals are impulsive, irrational, and assault victims in blitz-like attacks.

Diagnosing and Managing Criminal Psychopaths

Criminologists, forensic psychologists and FBI profilers consider psychopathy to be the most important forensic concept of the early twenty-first century. Psychopaths are charming but deadly in their interactions with others. Because of its relevance to law enforcement, corrections, the courts and related fields, the need to understand psychopathy cannot be overstated.

The Birth of Modern Day Criminal Profiling

In the mid-1970s, two supervisory agents with the FBI, John Douglas and the late Robert Ressler, set out to create a centralized computer database where the motives of serial offenders were matched with crime scene information. Their efforts led to modern day criminal profiling.

Is Criminal Profiling a Science, Art or Magic?

Practitioners of profiling share a common goal of analyzing evidence gathered at a crime scene and statements provided by victims and witnesses in order to develop a description of an unknown offender. As conducted by the FBI, criminal profiling is involved in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution phases of the criminal justice process.

Some Serial Killers Commit Murder For Profit

The motivations of serial killers are very diverse. Unlike hedonist lust killers who are motivated by sex or visionary killers who hear voices, comfort/gain killers primarily seek financial gain and an improved quality of life through the act of murder. H.H. Holmes was the early American prototype.

The Suicide-Mass Murder Connection: A Growing Epidemic

Negative and alienating social forces have made suicide the new murder as frustrated and fearful Americans turn their anger onto themselves and take their own lives in unprecedented numbers. These same social forces also explain the sharp rise in mass public shootings as fatalistic individuals increasingly kill themselves and others in catastrophic acts of violent rage.

The Media Made Jodi Arias a Celebrity Monster

Despite all the hype, Jodi Arias is neither a monster nor is she a fallen angel. She is a convicted felon who has taken on criminal celebrity status and cultivated a massive public following due to her appearance, demeanor, and the severity of her crime, which all have been spun and stylized into a caricature by the news media.

The History and Rise of Mass Public Shootings

The U.S. had 26 mass public shootings in 2010, which is the highest number since 1999. There are powerful social forces today that promote mass murder, including financial fears, distrust of government, global terrorism and constant war. These factors have led to alienation, rage and a feeling of powerlessness for many people.

How Mass Murder and Serial Murder Differ

A mass murder often occurs when the perpetrator, who may be deeply troubled, strikes out in a blitz-like attack. Unlike serial killers, mass murderers are often killed at the scene of the crime. They do not plan to escape and kill another day like their serial killer counterparts who are addicted to murder.

Suicide is the New Murder in America

Alienating social forces over the past decade have made suicide the new murder as frustrated and fearful Americans turn their anger onto themselves in unprecedented numbers. Suicide is a tragic and growing epidemic. However, the reality of suicide is invisible to the general public because of the all-American ideology of individualism and Protestant ethic.

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