What makes a common person a Serial Killer? According to research, serial killers exhibit what is known as 'Triad of Warning Signs in Childhood.'1
* Firestarting, invariably just for thrill of destroying things * Cruelty to Animals: Most children can be cruel to animals, such as pulling legs off of spiders, but future serial killers often kill larger animals, like dogs and cats, and frequently for their solitary enjoyment rather than to impress peers. * Bedwetting beyond age when children normally grow out of such behavior.
One of society's more notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer explained that wanted to remove 'free will' from his victims so that they would stay with him. In his past, he suffered from abandonment and was afraid of loss and any social upheaval. Another one of his extremely displaced characteristics was that he suffered from low self-esteem. His parents divorced during his teens, and when he did go to college, he performed badly. Upon examination of three psychologists, Dahmer was found to be manipulative, resistant and evasive.2 Further studies of Dahmer revealed that he could not tolerate rejection or abandonment; and that control was number one factor for him. One clue to his unusually sick behavior was that even in his relationships, Dahmer did not gratify his sexual partners - instead, Dahmer always expected to be pleased by them.
According to Pat Brown's Book, Killing for Sport: Inside Minds of Serial Killers '...serial killers are of average intelligence....most have low level jobs and make poor decisions. ' And, '...it is exactly these poor decisions that get them in trouble on their jobs, in their relationships, and in their crimes.'
Based on studies, serial killers usually choose victims that they can easily overpower, such as persons having short height and low weight. Additionally, 'serial killing is not about sex at all, but about power and control and revenge on society.' 2
Ted Bundy, who murdered at least 36 women, was known for his expressed desire to acquire things. From theft, to importance of social standing, he pined to break free from working class from which he was born. Additionally, he 'needed' to possess expensive items as well. Per research, Ted came from a single-parent home, was a severe sexual deviate; and women threatened him. He felt need to not only control them, but to incapacitate them as well. As a teenager, Ted Bundy became known for his violent temper.
But what do serial killers like Dahmer, Bundy and others like them have in common?
'Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Andrew Cunanan, David 'Son of Sam' Berkowitz, and Albert 'Boston Strangler' DeSalvo were ALL cruel to animals before they started hurting people.'6 Subsequently, killer teenagers Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold (Columbine HS), and Kip Kinkel were also known for their past history of animal cruelty. In study from of 'The Care of pets within child abusing families,' presented by DeViney & Lockwood, 88 percent of homes were animal abuse had occurred, children were also abused.