“Most police investigators will argue that anybody can become a criminal type simply by committing a crime and being processed through the justice system. We are hypothesizing, however, that serial murdering is a form of disease rather than a lifestyle, a syndrome that has specific hard and soft signs that are symptoms and identifiable long before the potential murderer commits his first homicide. The disease is the most ultimate form of episodic aggression.” ~ Joel Norris, Ph.D. (from his book Serial Killers)
Above is a provocative and interesting statement that changes perspectives on serial killers. True, this book was published in 1989, but it offers some compelling insight that shouldn’t be overlooked today.
We know that serial killers have some specific patterns of episodic aggressive behaviors such as ritualistic behavior, impulsivity, history of violent assault, head injuries, alcohol and/or drug abuse, and symptoms of neurological impairment – to name a few. Of course, not all serial killers possess all of the symptoms and behavior patterns described. More importantly, each serial case should be viewed as an individual case and only use available information as a guide.
It has been suggested from the behavioral and biological patterns of the psychological profiles of serial killers that there are signs that indicate the probability for an individual to be predisposed to episodic violence and criminal activity. Further, some research has suggested that the psychological condition known as serial killer syndrome is derived from dyscontrol syndrome or limbic brain psychosis.
Could it be possible to short-circuit the murderers or serial killers of tomorrow?
This is a highly debatable topic if certain forms of medical help, therapy, and positive correction would actually curb or stop the potential patterns of homicidal violence. It’s a case by case study and certainly the medical profession or criminal justice system can’t just wave a magic wand.
Would working with juvenile violent offenders be the answer decrease crime?
Could we begin to curb these future violent offenders?
Please feel free to leave a comment.
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Crime Watch Blog: www.emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk: www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase/
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting
thanks for a thought provoking post. I always have trouble with phrases like serial killers, and especially with psychopaths, and even more so when the two get conflated. It’s interesting to me that the tests used to “diagnose” who is a psychopath or serial killer were at first withheld by the doctors/researchers when the Criminal Justice System (specifically the parole board) began asking for tools to make their process more efficient.
As for serial killers, I think it’s important to concentrate on behavioural, rather than biological or genetic markers in young people. One of the few ‘known’ facts is that even violent youth offenders generally (obviously with many exceptions) desist from offending as they move into adulthood. Again, thanks for the interesting post!
I watched a doctor on television address this issue in some sort of show I can’t remember the name of, (sorry).
One of the interesting things he said was that the brain activity in serial killers or massive abusers was a frontal lobe thing that could be seen in a scan. They all seemed to have it.
He also included that he himself had this same brain activity and with further probing, others who were nonviolent did too, though it was a less frequent thing in the nonviolent people.
It would be helpful if we could point right to the crux of it and say: There! Let’s rewire this here and counsel there. Gosh. I hope we can someday. I really do.
Maybe it’s a toxic combination of genetic and social circumstance that is fostered some way?
Good questions and a thought-provoking post Jennifer!
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