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    G. Sherwood

    A book by Eric W. Hickey. It is rather expensive, like textbooks tend to be, so I rented it. It has shattered countless myths established since the beginnings of the more popular serial killer studies by John E. Douglas and Roy Hazelwood. The following is some of the highlighted text that I found most interesting.

    “And for many killers, the best way to lash out against a cold, forbidding society is to destroy its children.”

    Hickey, Eric W.. Serial Murderers and Their Victims (Page 23). Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    Hickey (1986), in noting specific variations in the degree of mobility exercised by offenders, has delineated three distinct groups of offenders: (1) traveling serial killers, who often cover many thousands of miles each year, murdering victims in several states as they go; (2) local serial killers, who never leave the state in which they start killing in order to find additional victims (Wayne Williams, for example, operated in several different law enforcement jurisdictions in and around Atlanta, Georgia, but never had a need to move elsewhere); and (3) serial killers who never leave their homes or places of employment, whose victims already reside in the same physical structure or are lured each time to the same location. These“place-specific”killers include nurses (male and female), housewives, offenders who are self-employed, and other individuals or accomplices who prefer to stay at home rather than go out hunting for victims.

    Hickey, Eric W.. Serial Murderers and Their Victims (Page 42). Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    Reiss and Roth (1993), in their research on inhibition, suggest that inhibited children are less prone to aggressiveness and violence, whereas uninhibited children are more prone to violence.

    Hickey, Eric W.. Serial Murderers and Their Victims (Page 71). Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    Children who face acute peer rejection and alienation are far more likely to aggressively lash out than accepted youth. Indeed, the most aggressive children were those who had not only been rejected but also were found to have experienced the highest levels of alienation (Reijntjes et al., 2010).

    Hickey, Eric W.. Serial Murderers and Their Victims (Page 71). Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    Put another way, children may forget or repress what you say or do to them, but children never forget how you make them feel. It is these feelings that fuel the flames of anger and violence. Having interviewed several serial killers, I find considerable validation for this perspective.

    Hickey, Eric W.. Serial Murderers and Their Victims (Page 122). Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    The label of psychopath given to most serial killers may actually describe a process of maintaining control of oneself, of others, and of one’s surroundings. Indeed, a psychopath must become adept at perfecting rationalization and developing unconscious pretense, or the illusion that he or she is in perfect control of himself or herself. The truth is just the opposite—the psychopath, internally, is a social and moral cripple.

    Hickey, Eric W.. Serial Murderers and Their Victims (Page 150). Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    It was erratic. I mean, I just killed somebody and I’m infuriated because I didn’t get done what I had to do, couldn’t act out this ritual that accidentally killed this body, and within a matter of hours I had someone else. With this second victim it involved brutalizing, rape, and then killing. Actually rape ended the episode, killing was just getting rid of the witness. The first killing was not done that way. The first killing, the victim died before I had acted out even.…I did have a pattern and most serial killers do.

    Hickey, Eric W.. Serial Murderers and Their Victims (Page 153). Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    Swimming at a crowded beach, shopping in a mall, and walking home are not activities one generally considers to be risky, yet there are potential dangers in practically all public and many private activities. For serial killers like Ted Bundy (see Profile 5.16), the challenge is to exploit situations in which the risk of danger appears so remote that the victim never feels a need to be on guard.

    Hickey, Eric W.. Serial Murderers and Their Victims (Page 201). Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    This subgroup of killers particularly reinforces the belief that sex is the primary driving motive behind the murders. Because of these offenders’sexual abuse of their victims, the public believes that serial killers are motivated by particularly bizarre and perverted sexual urges. Certainly they experience a degree of sexual arousal and gratification in what they do, but this does not mean that sexual gratification is the primary motive for killing. When we begin to evaluate sexual acts as vehicles to gain control, maintain power, and degrade and inflict pain on the victim, we inevitably are making headway toward understanding the mind of the serial killer. Most offenders in this subgroup can be described as“lust killers” because sexual acts and associations are both overtly and subtly interwoven into their assaults. Lust killing, also known as erotophonophilia or dacnolagnomania, is sexually sadistic murder involving sexual arousal and gratification as part of the killing. The need for control was never more manifest than in this particular group of male offenders. Postmortem acts of mutilation and desecration were common, as were repeated and prolonged acts of sexual sadism and torture. Necrophilia also was very common. The fear of rejection appeared to be so powerful that some offenders would have sex with the victim only after she had died. In the perception of the offender, a corpse permits him to be intimate without risk of rejection. Deviant sexual acts usually are part of the killing process, not the actual reasons for killing. News accounts of these lust killers portray them as sex fiends when in reality sex is another tool they use to appease sexual fantasies and express total domination over victims. The primary motive is control; such offenders must control others in order to feel that they themselves are in control of their own lives. The vehicle to achieve control is through sexual acts. Other male killers may use different methods, such as guns, to achieve a similar sense of control. In our study, offenders in this subgroup frequently carried out acts of rape and were also likely to express enjoyment or pleasure about the murders. Offenders often cited personal reasons for the murders such as an“urge to kill.”

    Hickey, Eric W.. Serial Murderers and Their Victims (Page 201). Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    Strangulation/asphyxiation is by far the preferred method of killing, followed by shooting, then slashing, stabbing, or killing with an axe. Strangulation is common because it affords the killer direct manual contact with the victim whereby he can be in complete control of the victim’s death, can sexualize the fear of the victim (if part of his violent sexual fantasy), can sexually assault the victim (if part of his sexual fantasy), and can leave his signature as a serial sexual predator who kills.

    Hickey, Eric W.. Serial Murderers and Their Victims (Page 201). Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    Another explanation, and probably more accurate at this point in the development of serial-murder research, is simply that lust killers receive more attention from both law enforcement officials and researchers. Consequently, we are probably going to find more information on the sensational cases, especially if research is based primarily on the more gruesome statistics and facts and pays less attention to other details. Regardless of the subgrouping of male serial killers who act alone, a recurrent problem noted in most of them is feelings of low self-esteem and worthlessness. These feelings, according to offenders, appear to stem from periods of rejection or denial by loved ones, especially parents, or by society in general.

    Hickey, Eric W.. Serial Murderers and Their Victims (Page 208). Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    The element of control is so intense in the serial killer that in some cases the actual death of the victim is anticlimactic to the fantasized total control over the victim.

    Hickey, Eric W.. Serial Murderers and Their Victims (Page 209). Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    It is during the sexual assault, torture, and degradation that fantasies of the original childhood trauma may manifest themselves in acts of violence. In some cases, 10 or 20 years may have lapsed since the traumatic event(s) occurred; in others, only a short period of time may have passed. During the time elapsed between the traumatic event(s) and the homicides, the offender may have completely disassociated from the traumatic experience (which had split off from his or her consciousness) and may have protected himself or herself further by assuming a life of control and confidence. Psychologically, the offender has been experiencing less and less self-control but desperately seeks to retain control of his or her inner self. Often the victims selected by the killers stand as proxies for the traumatic event(s) experienced by the offenders. In one instance, an offender had received electroshock treatments as corrective therapy for his involvement in a gang rape while he was a teenager. In 1984, 22 years after his electroshocks, the offender tortured some of his victims by wiring their toes to electrical outlets and then turning the power on and off. In yet another case, an offender had been sexually abused, beaten, bound with heavy cords, and left in terrifyingly dark closets. Several years later, he began torturing boys by beating them, tying them with heavy cords, and holding them captive in dark places. His attempts to replicate his childhood traumas were nearly successful except that the sense of control he sought remained elusive. Each victim experienced more extensive tortures and depravities than the previous victim until he died, at which time the killer butchered the corpse. His last victim was slowly dismembered and disemboweled while still alive (author’s files).

    Hickey, Eric W.. Serial Murderers and Their Victims (Page 210). Wadsworth Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    There are of course many more, but this could get some discussion going.

    • This topic was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  G. Sherwood.

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