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Differences In Mass Murderers and Serial Killers
Topic Started: Mar 16 2007, 09:19 PM (1,207 Views)
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Differences Between Mass Murderers and Serial Killers
In both mass and serial murder cases, victims die as the offender momentarily gains control of his or her life by controlling others. But the differences between these two types of offenders far outweigh the similarities. First, mass murderers are generally apprehended or killed by police, commit suicide, or turn themselves in to authorities. Serial killers, by contrast, usually make special efforts to elude detection. Indeed, they may continue to kill for weeks, months, and often years before they are found and stopped-if they are found at all. In the case of the California Zodiac killer, the homicides appeared to have stopped, but an offender was never apprehended for those crimes. Perhaps the offender was incarcerated for only one murder and never linked to the others, or perhaps he or she was imprisoned for other crimes. Or the Zodiac killer may have just decided to stop killing or to move to a new location and kill under a new modus operandi, or method of committing the crime. The killer may even have become immobilized because of an accident or an illness or have died without his or her story ever being told. Speculation currently exists that the Zodiac killer is stalking victims in the New York City area. The Zodiac case is only one example of unsolved serial murders, many of which will never be solved.

Second, although both types of killers evoke fear and anxiety in the community, the reaction to a mass murder will be much more focused and locally limited than that to serial killing. People generally perceive the mass killer as one suffering from mental illnesses. This immediately creates a "they"/"us" dichotomy in which "they" are different from "us" because of mental problems. We can somehow accept the fact that a few people go "crazy" sometimes and start shooting others. However, it is more disconcerting to learn that some of the "nicest" people one meets lead a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde life: a student by day, a killer of coeds by night; a caring, attentive nurse who secretly murders sick children, the handicapped, or the elderly; a building contractor and politician who enjoys sexually torturing and killing young men and burying them under his home. When we discover that people exist who are not considered to be insane or crazy but who enjoy killing others for "recreation," this indeed gives new meaning to the word "stranger." Although the mass murderer is viewed as a deranged soul, a product of a stressful environment who is just going to "explode" now and then (but of course somewhere else), the serial murder is seen as much more sinister and is more capable of producing fear.

Third, the mass murderer kills groups of people at once, whereas the serial killer individualizes his or her murders. The serial killer continues to hurt and murder victims, whereas the mass murderer makes his or her "final statement" in or about life through the medium of abrupt and final violence. We rarely if ever hear of a mass murderer who has the opportunity to enact a second mass murder or to become a serial killer. Similarly, we rarely if ever hear of a serial killer who also enacts a mass murder.

The mass murderer and the serial killer are quantitatively and qualitatively different, and disagreement continues about their characteristics just as it does about the types of mass and serial offenders that appear to have emerged in recent years. Perhaps the single most critical stumbling block that today stands in the way of understanding serial murder is the disagreement among researchers and law enforcement about how to define the phenomenon.
Serial Killer
A serial killer is a typical white male, 20-30, and most of them are usually in the USA. Their main motives are sex (even though the act of sex may or may not take place), power, manipulation, domination and control. The sex motive is usually rape for an organized killer and sadism for a disorganized killer. They act in a series of 5 or more murders with a cooling off period between each murder. Serial killers can go on for months and years before they are usually caught. The victim is usually the same for every killer - prostitute, hitch-hiker etc. Their victims may also have the same or similar attributes in gender, age, race, general look, residence etc. Serial killers also stick by their modus operandi very closely and may change it with experience. Most murders occur by strangulation, suffocation, stabbing etc. Serial killers act by a sex-murder fantasy based with their control, they usually live in this dream world in their teens until they act it out for real when they get into the adult stage. As each murder occurs a serial killer may be disappointed by his murder fantasy and may act it out again to achieve it to their own satisfaction.

Mass Killer
A mass killer is a a very angry and frustrated white male, 25-40, who may be suffering from some sort of mental problem. They are wholly disorganized and show a similar lifestyle to that of a disorganized serial killer. Their lifestyle usually includes such things as - they have a large array of weapons at home, are heavily into violence (on TV or videogames etc), live by themselves or with a parent, have no partner and may have been rejected by the opposite sex too much, would have tried to get into the army, plus many other common factors. They usually attack restaurants, schools, or other public places (they may at some time have been affiliated with this place because they could of been stressed, fired there, or rejected by the opposite sex there) wearing army camouflage gear and armed to the teeth. They have a blitz style attack involving machine guns or sometimes explosives. Although mass killers usually have guns there have been a few cases like Richard Speck - where all victims (considered to be over 3 for a mass kill) may be killed by stabbing or strangulation. The blitz attack has them with an automatic weapon with many spare rounds firing at any person in their path. The victims may or may not be related (some mass killers kill their entire families), but usually they just kill anyone. In many cases the killer has killed more females than males, this goes with the rejection factor. As they become suddenly stressed and act out this large murder in a short time of usually minutes to hours, they may commit suicide or get shot by police. No mass killer ever intends or knows he is going to escape the carnage.

Spree Killer
A spree killer is like a serial killer at warp speed (without the sex motive) or a mass killer at a snails pace. There haven't been too many spree killers and people haven't usually heard of them. A spree killer is usually a white male 20-30 who acts like a mass killer, killing a lot of people by shooting, and this murdering usually happens over a period of time from a week/s to a month, with the killer fleeing the police and public fear at the same time. Spree killers usually flee with someone else and are like the typical mass killer but who intends to go uncaptured. Some cases of spree killers are Charles Starkweather or Andrew Cunanan. They are alike to mass killers in ways of victims and methods but lifestyles may have the spree killer with a criminal record and a partner.

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