By: Scott Bonn, Ph.D.
Dating back to “Jack the Ripper,” who terrorized London, England, and the world in the 1880s, serial killers have captured our collective imagination while sending chills down our spines. Although they account for only a small fraction (perhaps 2%) of the 17,000 or so murders each year in the U.S., sexual psychopaths captivate many of us, in part, because of the unimaginable savagery of their deeds. There is currently an unidentified killer of ten people (including at least six female prostitutes) whose bodies, some dismembered, were found on the South Shore of Long Island, New York, between December, 2010, and April, 2011.
Those of us who have been properly socialized to respect life and possess the normal range of emotions, including kindness, empathy, pity and remorse, cannot comprehend the workings of a mind that would compel one to abduct, torture, rape, kill, and sometimes mutilate or even eat another human being. Serial killers elicit a morbid fascination from us that we also have for terrible calamities such as train wrecks and natural disasters. Simply put, we are compelled to understand why serial killers do such horrible things to complete strangers....read more