The slow injection of the knife. The twist of the knife as it rips open the pumping, loving, and innocent heart of a defenseless canine. The hoarse cry of pain as the dog’s eyes resemble a warm soul being transformed into a cold and lifeless figure. The flickering of the match as it strikes the cold puddle of gasoline sending a building worth thousands of dollars into flames. A young serial killer beginning to make his mark in the world often begins like so. Unfortunately, not only animals die a slow and gradual death at the chilling grasp of serial killers, 150 people are killed annually by serial killers as well (Bustle). Thankfully, Americans don’t have to live in a constant state of paranoia because there are many early warning signs to finding these ruthless killers before their path of bloody terror begins.
A dead giveaway in the creation of a serial killer is the harming of small and defenseless animals. A feeling of dominance and empowerment over their target is one of the key physiological aspects that is crucial in deciphering who will become a cold blooded killer. Since these killers often start at a young age, they can’t assert dominance over other humans so they must resort to inferior beings to them which is often times small animals like pets and rodents (Psychology Today). Although the animals being tortured are small, they play a large role in sieving away who will become a serial killer in the forthcoming. John Wayne Gacy; a deadly serial killer who resided in Chicago, was responsible for the murder of 33 people. Before the murders were committed, John Gacy began his bloody avenue by tormenting innocent turkeys by burning them alive (New York Post). This is one of many serial killers who have started out by torturing helpless, inferior, and innocent animals before the devastating topic of putting a human life to an end. One must be vigilant if witnessing a person torturing small animals because the chances are high this person could result into a serial killer.
Repetitive abuse as a child by one’s parents or relatives slowly starts to blossom a serial killer faster than a flower does with sunshine and water. Day after day of being beaten physically, emotionally, and mentally brings upon feelings of being utterly distraught, lost and hopeless. Serial killers want to chanel these feelings and put them deep away in their minds until they unleash this ball of chaotic emotion onto their victims (Crime Museum). According to The Psychology of a Serial Killer, “42% of convicted serial killers suffered from physical abuse as children, 74% suffered from psychological abuse.” In another study done by the FBI, having a crooked and unwarranted childhood accounted to 53 percent of the serial killers pursuing murder (Vronsky, 275). These statistics prove the case that abuse and trauma within a family is a factor Americans need to be cautious about to prevent future cold blooded murderers.
As the trickle of light slowly dies away from the end of the match, a thought of fascination is born within a serial killer’s mind. A vital sign of a potential serial killer is the setting of fires on purpose, better known as arson. David Berkowitz, a famous serial killer out of the New York area, began his road of destruction by lighting over 1,500 fires. Throughout his life he then became a serial killer, killing an estimated 6 people and wounding 7 others (Britannica). Unfortunately, stories like these aren’t rare. According to The Daily News, John Orr was the man who was supposed to be the lead man in protect California from arsonists as the Chief Arson Investigator. However, he later was found guilty for the starting of over 2,000 fires. During this time he also claimed the lives of 4 innocent people. Arson is often a precedent for one to become a serial killer because starting fires gives them the feeling of control and power that they utterly crave. Since research has shown that people make their debut as arsonists before turning into serial killers, this is a key aspect to look out for in order to prevent a serial killer from forming.
All alone with no one to guide them. No friends to hang out with. Serial killers often develop by being completely isolated from others at a young age and having extreme antisocial tendencies. This is a main warning sign to finding these killers before their path starts since these people don’t fit in with society. According to Serial Killers: The Method And Madness, “One very common factor in the childhood of serial killers is their loneliness and isolation from their peers—even in cases where there is little or no maladjustment in parental histories. As children, they rarely fit in with their playmates” (Vronsky, 271). This warning sign may be the easiest to scout out due to the fact it can be seen on a daily basis. As a young child, being distant to one’s peers and having a constant state of lost connection to the world around one may heavily impact this child in a negative way. Being alone day in and day out allows the child to develop cold and ruthless thoughts of murder to those who have excluded the child from society. Slowly, the serial killer will start to develop a false sense of reality in how one can get revenge and enforce torture onto their antagonists.
Lost in a false sense of reality where a serial killer can fight off its tormentor. Lost in a fantasy where they are dominant to every single living thing around them. As a child, daydreaming causes these serial killers to begin to develop a perception that they live in a parallel universe where the things they imagine can be reality. Since they are lost in their own fantasy, they will try and carry out these fictional beliefs in real life leading to one becoming a serial killer. An FBI study indicated that daydreaming accounted for the reason 82 percent of serial killers committed their murders (Vronski, 280). For an ordinary person, daydreaming can be an innocent and temporary loss of connection to reality often used to escape stressful times. However, the daydreaming done by serial killers is in a league of its own. They will use daydreaming as an escape hatch from their own physical and emotional trauma they endure. Consequently, while daydreaming about torture and malicious intent, these people can not perceive what is right and wrong so they believe their thoughts can become reality. Henceforth this is how daydreaming can be a precursor of serial killers.
A young child beginning to distinguish what is right from wrong witnesses a catastrophic act of violence. The more and more this child is exposed, this violent act now is deemed as a normal act in the child’s eyes. According to Cheish Merryweather, “When Richard Ramirez was 13 years old, he witnessed Miguel Ramirez murder his wife. Before Richard Ramirez was captured, he murdered 13 people and tortured dozens more”(Merryweather). Since Richard Ramirez was introduced to violent acts by his cousin, Richard began to develop the idea that acts like this are acceptable. Therefore, by getting this false sense of reality that murder is ordinary, Richard carried out 13 murders due to the pre exposure of violent acts within the family. Witnessing traumatic events within a family is a main precedent for one to develop serial killer instincts.
Some may argue that the warning sign of drug abuse is not a critical sign of a serial killer. However, many people may not realize that oftentimes serial killers will undertake the abuse of drugs before starting their killing path (Jack Rosewood). Substance abuse regularly developed as a habit in one’s preteen years. While under the influence, these killers become more violent since they are not in the correct state of mind. This is due to the fact that alcohol and other substances alter the chemical makeup of the brain and makes one feel relaxed. Since this occurs, one’s anxiety levels are nearly depleted which keeps us from knowing which situations are dangerous to be in. This combination mixed with a serial killer can be extremely dangerous which is why drug abuse is an essential warning signal (Drinkaware).
An alternative to living a life of constant fear is paying attention to the facts a serial killer displays in their uprising. The gruesome and slow death 150 people as well as hundreds of animals experience every year can be exponentially declined due to the many warning signs the serial killers display on a daily basis. If Americans focused more on the warning signs we could stop these serial killers and help them receive psychiatric help before catastrophic events occur. Each American has a responsibility to report any suspicious behavior witnessed as opposed to turning a blind eye. One never knows when you might be a serial killer’s next victim. One never knows when a family member or loved one could be a serial killer’s next victim. Staying vigilant is the most important act of potential diversion. Excessive daydreaming, animal cruelty, excessive alcohol or drug abuse, and child abuse are all warning signs that need to be reported to the proper authorities without hesitation. The slow injection of knives could be turned into the gradual process of depleting serial killers from existence.
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