Discuss your thoughts about former or current perceptions regarding Serial Killers. I would like various thoughts and opinions.
I would agree that most serial killers tend to be male. In my opinion, they often appear normal to the outside world, but they are likely to be loners and socially inept in some way. Many try out some of their sadistic fantasies as children. This might mean harming neighborhood pets or other strange behaviors. Many are kind and can be quite charming (how else would they attract their victims and earn their trust).
A lot of serial killers target women because of some traumatic experience they've had with women. Maybe at a young age they were infatuated with a girl who didn't return their affection, or by a girl who ridiculed or shunned them. To retaliate, they stalk similar women to the one who hurt or shamed them and kill them in horrific ways intended to inflict the greatest mental and physical anguish. A serial killer's mind doesn't work properly and they see things in warped, twisted ways. By lashing out at a particular segment of the population, they feel justified, satisfied, and replete.
When I picture a serial killer, I tend to picture white males who had traumatic upbringings. Stereotypically, they are middle-aged, anti-social and loners. While much of my knowledge lies in the media's characterization, many have been depicted as being abused early in life. These people began their murderous life by killing small animals and moving up to humans.
Regarding popular thinking on serial killers, it seems that in the 1990s there was quite a fascination with these criminals. The Hannibal Lector stories helped, but there were also people like Dahmer and the Unibomber in the news to keep the idea of serial killers in our imaginations.
The last serial crime spree of this kind in the States that I can remember was the DC/Beltway sniper(s), who were captured after several people at random in 2002.
Since then, serial killers have faded somewhat from their place in the media (news and movies both).
I agree with the previous post, and would add that they seem to be, in the United States, anyway, disproportionately lonely, white males. Many times serial killers seem to have a history of abuse, especially sexual abuse, or neglect by their families. I also have the perception, perhaps simplistic, that most serial killers are motivated in part by a desire for attention (perhaps stemming from their personal history.) Finally, many serial killers seem to be of above average intelligence. Their crimes are premeditated and carried out in a carefully planned way.
My perception of serial killers is that they tend to be pretty bright loners. My stereotypical view of these guys (one aspect of my perception is that they are all male) is that they were pretty smart but were not really all that good socially. I'm not sure if that's at all accurate, but it's my perception.
Thank you all for your various opinions. I really appreciate them!