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Switch to Forum Live View Serial Killers/Cannibalism
2 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2012 - 10:16AM #1
christine3
Posts: 6,058

I've lived more than half my life and haven't seen U.S. media report instances of serial killing and cannibalism as frequently as today.  Until movies such as "Hannibal Lecter" and "Slaughter of the Lambs"came out, this aberrant behavior seemed obscure.  These two movies were probably not the top hits, but close.  There are the very popular nostalgic westerns, where no less gruesome slaughter takes place.  Movies have progressed in graphic violence over the last ten years.  "It's just a movie", we think, as we shake off the shivers and walk out of the theater or turn off the TV.  So much for compartmentalization.  

I suppose there are statistics somewhere that would indicate either no rise in serial killings and cannibalism, or that indeed there is a rise in human beings who 'wander off the path' and enjoy eating and torturing other humans.  Rise or not, this deviant behavior is always with us.  It seems to start with torturing animals, then progresses.  Animals are safe to practice on.  Could there also be a link to eating animal meat, which then horrifically progresses to eating human meat?  

Recently, in one aired serial killer's trial, one surviving member of a family berated Truman Capote for his novel, "In Cold Blood".  It is true that the serial killer, B.K.A., who captured, tortured and killed a dozen victims, read the novel just days before capturing and slaying the surviving victim's entire family.  

Is there cause for alarm that this abnormal behavior is rising?  Within the last week or so, news reported another incident, a naked man eating the face off another man on a Miami causeway.  Police arrived and demanded he stop at gunpoint.  He did not, at which point he had to be shot.  He had been eating another man's face for 18 minutes.

Apparently, these humans are beyond rehabilitation.  Lock down and throw away the key.  They say there is a genetic component, which is nurtured by environment.  Genetics has shown promise, in that people can be screened for such a genetic disposition.  Can they be, will they be?  In the future, what to do with these ticking time bombs?  What are all the underlying reasons for serial killings and cannibalism?  What complex of stimuli can bring out this behavior, apparently inherent in all of us.  Can it be avoided?  

Nobody likes to think about these things, but we must.  Were industrialization and rise in population the deadly combination that would ultimately lead to the destruction of the world as we know it?

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2012 - 3:49PM #2
Ebon
Posts: 9,825

Jun 5, 2012 -- 10:16AM, christine3 wrote:

Until movies such as "Hannibal Lecter" and "Slaughter of the Lambs"came out, this aberrant behavior seemed obscure.



Are you talking about serial killers or cannibalism? Either way, both are still extremely rare. Neither are unique to the modern age. What is new is that they're more likely to be nticed now.


  It seems to start with torturing animals, then progresses.  Animals are safe to practice on.



Not always and not by itself. What you referring to is a set of behaviours known as the "homicidal triad" or "unholy trinity". The three comprise bed-wetting (beyond the age at which that's common), animal abuse (beyond the age where we develop externalised empathy at about 8-10) and arson. No single one of those in isolation, indicates a potential killer. Animal abuse on it's own would indicate that teh kid has issues and needs help but not that the kid is going to become a killer. Nor do they crop up in every case. They occur more often than coincdence would allow but not always.


Could there also be a link to eating animal meat, which then horrifically progresses to eating human meat? 



No. The human mind doesn't work that way. First off, animal abuse is based in sadism, the need to cause pain in others. There is no linkage between eating meat and sadism. And cannibals aren't gourmands who decide to try out human flesh in case it tastes better. Cannibals by choice (as distinct from desperation cannibalism) are, forgive the vulgarity, crazy. They may or may not satisfy the legal definition of insanity but the legal definition is different to the medical definition and not one has been mentally stable. Jeffrey Dahmer, while legally sane, was not medically of sound mind.

  It is true that the serial killer, B.K.A., who captured, tortured and killed a dozen victims, read the novel just days before capturing and slaying the surviving victim's entire family. 



You mean BTK and so what? The vast majority of people who read crime or true crime books don't become killers. I have shelves full of the things.

Is there cause for alarm that this abnormal behavior is rising?



It's not rising. There have always been serial killers, there have always been cannibals. There may appear to be more now because our media makes more of them and our population density makes it easier to rack up a body count before getting caught. However, our population density also makes it more likely that they will be caught.

  What are all the underlying reasons for serial killings and cannibalism?



How long do you have? There are all kinds of reasons for serial murder. The most common is sexual sadism (note: That's an entirely different thing from consensual S&M). Sexual sadists are aroused by the suffering of others. Then there are the rage killers, subjects unable to control their anger. There are serials who murder for money and one's who murder for revenge (either personal or generalised) and then there's the occasional one who just seems to be obsessed with death (Harold Shipman, for example). We're not going to get through the psychological drives of those on a message board. Cannibals are either driven by desperation or they're nuts.


What complex of stimuli can bring out this behavior, apparently inherent in all of us.  Can it be avoided? 



It's not inherent. Yes, there are probably genetic cues but our genes do not dictate our lives. Our actions are a result of a complex interplay between genes, circumstances and environment.

Were industrialization and rise in population the deadly combination that would ultimately lead to the destruction of the world as we know it?



No. Again, the serial killer has always been there. Our population density has made for a trget-rich environment for him (and it's almost always a him) but has also led to much more sophisticated policing which makes it more likely he will be caught.

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. ~ Proverbs 14:31

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2012 - 4:07PM #3
mytmouse57
Posts: 9,776

When some people say, "I'm having a friend for dinner..."


They really mean it. 

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2012 - 4:27PM #4
christine3
Posts: 6,058

I'll comment on your posts but first I wanted to get these stats in.  They are for serial killings only.  I am not finding stats for cannibalism.  There are articles that say stats weren't kept because the occurrence was so rare.


Blog: 






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The following brief blog post at drhelen.blogspot.com dated Jan 6, 2011 got me to thinking if there was a relationship between the rise of nihilism in the 1960's and the rise of the phenomena of serial killers or not?


The decline of the serial killer From Slate: Statistics on serial murder are hard to come by—the FBI doesn't keep numbers, according to a spokeswoman—but the data we do have suggests serial murders peaked in the 1980s and have been declining ever since. James Alan Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University and co-author of Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder, keeps a database of confirmed serial murderers starting in 1900. According to his count, based on newspaper clippings, books, and Web sources, there were only a dozen or so serial killers before 1960 in the United States. Then serial killings took off: There were 19 in the 1960s, 119 in the '70s, and 200 in the '80s. In the '90s, the number of cases dropped to 141. And the 2000s saw only 61 serial murderers. (Definitions of serial murder" vary, but Fox defines it as "a string of four or more homicides committed by one or a few perpetrators that spans a period of days, weeks, months, or even years." To avoid double-counting, he assigns killers to the decade in which they reached the midpoint of their careers.)


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Comment:  Killing other humans in wars, or for cultural reasons/beliefs such as ensuring their soul continues, gaining strength/power, or horrifying enemies, are not the same as torturing/killing and eating humans for arousal, which seems to be one currently publicized trend in America, rare as it is.  





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2 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2012 - 4:40PM #5
mytmouse57
Posts: 9,776

Jun 5, 2012 -- 4:27PM, christine3 wrote:


I'll comment on your posts but first I wanted to get these stats in.  They are for serial killings only.  I am not finding stats for cannibalism.  There are articles that say stats weren't kept because the occurrence was so rare.


Blog: 






0






The following brief blog post at drhelen.blogspot.com dated Jan 6, 2011 got me to thinking if there was a relationship between the rise of nihilism in the 1960's and the rise of the phenomena of serial killers or not?


The decline of the serial killer From Slate: Statistics on serial murder are hard to come by—the FBI doesn't keep numbers, according to a spokeswoman—but the data we do have suggests serial murders peaked in the 1980s and have been declining ever since. James Alan Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University and co-author of Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder, keeps a database of confirmed serial murderers starting in 1900. According to his count, based on newspaper clippings, books, and Web sources, there were only a dozen or so serial killers before 1960 in the United States. Then serial killings took off: There were 19 in the 1960s, 119 in the '70s, and 200 in the '80s. In the '90s, the number of cases dropped to 141. And the 2000s saw only 61 serial murderers. (Definitions of serial murder" vary, but Fox defines it as "a string of four or more homicides committed by one or a few perpetrators that spans a period of days, weeks, months, or even years." To avoid double-counting, he assigns killers to the decade in which they reached the midpoint of their careers.)


_________




Comment:  Killing other humans in wars, or for cultural reasons/beliefs such as ensuring their soul continues, gaining strength/power, or horrifying enemies, are not the same as torturing/killing and eating humans for arousal, which seems to be one currently publicized trend in America, rare as it is.  








Yes. There might be a corelation. 

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2012 - 5:11PM #6
Erey
Posts: 17,354

I think the media can definately alter your preception of reality.  I don't think there is more serial killing - just we hear about it no matter where it occurs in this 24/7 news cycle.  Before you might only hear of a serial killer if it were say 500 miles or less from your home.  Now you hear about it almost anywhere.  I find myself stumbling across news articles describing serial killing sprees in China and Germany.  30 years ago I would have been blissfully ignorant because the news would not have spread as far.

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2012 - 6:43PM #7
mytmouse57
Posts: 9,776

Jun 5, 2012 -- 5:11PM, Erey wrote:


I think the media can definately alter your preception of reality.  I don't think there is more serial killing - just we hear about it no matter where it occurs in this 24/7 news cycle.  Before you might only hear of a serial killer if it were say 500 miles or less from your home.  Now you hear about it almost anywhere.  I find myself stumbling across news articles describing serial killing sprees in China and Germany.  30 years ago I would have been blissfully ignorant because the news would not have spread as far.




I do agree, that media saturation can make things seem more frequent -- when, in fact, they are no more frequent than they were before.


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2 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2012 - 7:06PM #8
Ebon
Posts: 9,825

Jun 5, 2012 -- 4:27PM, christine3 wrote:

I'll comment on your posts but first I wanted to get these stats in.  They are for serial killings only.  I am not finding stats for cannibalism.  There are articles that say stats weren't kept because the occurrence was so rare.



True. Cannibalism is such a rare crime, the taboo is so strong, that we don't have much in the way of stats on the subject. What research has been done with cannibalistic killers suggests that, in most cases, the killer is fixated on the idea of taking another person into themselves.


The following brief blog post at drhelen.blogspot.com dated Jan 6, 2011 got me to thinking if there was a relationship between the rise of nihilism in the 1960's and the rise of the phenomena of serial killers or not?



Extremely unlikely. Firstly, there have been serial killers throughout history. Two historic ones that instantly come to mind are Gilles de Rais and Erzebet (Elizabeth) Bathory (although the crimes of both were exagerated, there's little doubt that both were serial killers). Jack the Ripper is probably the most famous serial murderer in history and he operated in the Victorian era. HH Holmes occupied roughly the same period in the States. Nihilism is an especially unlikely culprit for the simple reason that, contrary to popular belief, most serial murderers aren't that bright. Most are pathetic inadequetes who wouldn't know nihilism if it bit them. There is no correlation.


The reason killings seemed to reach a height in the Eighties was because that was the crossover point when the media became aware of them but also when police started to learn how to catch them. There were always serial killers but before, they operated in either small communities or they wandered. The increasing population density caused by urban sprawl allowed the killer to operate in a fairly confined geographic area. The reason killings seem to have been down since then is because law enforcement techniques have come such a long way. People who before would have become serial killers are now getting caught before they get the chance.


Fox strikes me as just another guy who blames social wrongs on his pet peeve, the same way pro-lifers blame everything horrible on abortion. Colin Wilson likes to blame it on pornography. There is no correlation between nihilism and serial killing just like there's no correlation between porn and serial killing. It's human nature to want a direct cause, to want to be able to say "this is what caused it". But I've read a lot about this stuff. I'm about halfway through taking professional qualifications in the subject and the fact is, there is no simple answer. There is no ultimate cause. There is just the human capacity for evil. For as long as there have been humans, there have been killers. Look, people might like to believe that the past was this golden era but the fact is that there have always been serial killers. There have always been cannibals. There have always been rapists and child molesters and murderers. There have always been monsters among us.

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. ~ Proverbs 14:31

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2012 - 8:24PM #9
wohali
Posts: 10,227

Perhaps a very notable example of a serial killer operating when there were no serial killers is Andrei Chikatilo. He may be the record holder for number of kills. This occured when the Soviet union insisted that there were no Soviet serial killers.


They have always been there, we just didn't always know about them.


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Chikatilo


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_killer


"One of Thomas Edison's first phonograph recordings dealt with the confessions of serial killer H. H. Holmes"


www.buzzle.com/articles/famous-serial-ki...

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2012 - 8:40PM #10
Ebon
Posts: 9,825

Jun 5, 2012 -- 8:24PM, wohali wrote:

Perhaps a very notable example of a serial killer operating when there were no serial killers is Andrei Chikatilo. He may be the record holder for number of kills. This occured when the Soviet union insisted that there were no Soviet serial killers.


They have always been there, we just didn't always know about them.


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Chikatilo



He's not the most kills. That's either Harold Shipman (killed at least 250 and maybe up to 450) or Pedro Lopez (at least 110, confessed to another 240). Chikatilo is interesting because it's likely he could have been caught a lot earlier but for the Soviet's pig-headed insistence that they had no serial killers.


There have always been monsters among us. But as we learn more about them, we learn how to catch them quicker. I intend to help with that, if I can.

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. ~ Proverbs 14:31

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum

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