You didn’t need to be addicted to true crime novels and documentaries to be puzzled by the question of why people kill and commit horrible crimes. As much as we loathe the notion that people can kill and be violent, many of our news stories and even entertainment are devoted to the topic of crime and violence.
In the United Kingdom, 12.7% of news was about crime and was considerably higher in the tabloid newspapers. This number may seem low, especially when considering how much crime material people digest on YouTube and Netflix. However, 12.7% seems high in proportion to how many genuinely newsworthy things happen in our lives.
There is no doubt that most of us are fascinated by killings and other forms of crimes. What makes someone murder, rape, torture, and cause grievous bodily harm.? There are many possible answers experts give to this question.
The classic murderer in the movies is a psychopath. It is the person who does not have any tension, conscience, and remorse. They kill because they have an almost scientific and detached fascination with the human body, human responses, and psychology. They are the typical scary mad genius with no feelings.
Some killers, particularly serial killers, like this in real life, are the rarest category of murderers. Very few people with psychopathology or psychosis are dangerous to others, and very few murderers are psychopaths. However, it is an explanation in some cases.
Human beings in former times were hard-wired to kill. There were good evolutionary reasons for the killer instinct. A formidable man who would kill another man and mate with his wife had an evolutionary advantage. Therefore, according to the evolutionary explanation, our capacity to murder shouldn’t be wondered at but part of our DNA. It may be immoral, but in some circumstances, we may have needed to kill in specific periods of history.
There may be neurological problems and injuries that can make people violent almost to an uncontrollable level. Damage to the limbic system in the brain and the amygdala can cause violent outbursts when someone is feeling threatened. This can be particularly dangerous if the person suffering from this damage or condition is physically strong or has access to deadly weapons. These issues can usually be treated with medication.
Childhood Abuse and Environment
A very high proportion of violent criminals grew up in broken homes or in homes where there was physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and use of alcohol and drugs. Looking at the biographies of high-profile murderers, it is notable that very few of them grew up in intact and stable families. This could be another issue that can raise someone’s risk factor for committing a violent crime.
The highly competitive society we live in, economic inequality, and violence within the community can be social factors that can increase violent crime. Some people claim that violent movies and games can make people more aggressive, but some studies cite other factors as more influential. In addition, the high level of stress, social alienation, the decline of the community are other stressors that can contribute to violence.
The Availability of Guns
Disgruntled employees, alienated teenagers, and terrorists have been responsible for the deaths of many people in shootings. In addition, people have identified the easy availability of guns as a reason for these killings.
Could Anyone Kill?
There is no one easy answer for why people kill and commit violent crimes. David Buss, author of The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind Is Designed to Kill, surveyed 5,000 people and discovered that 91% of men and 84% of women confessed they have thought of killing someone. The difference between thinking about it and killing someone is the key to understanding who is capable of murder.
Morbid Fascinations–Unanswered Questions
There are many reasons–societal, neurological, environmental, evolutionary, and practical–why some people kill. Unfortunately, there is no way of predicting when this will happen, but understanding the many factors involved will make these enduring questions more meaningful, even though there is no single answer.
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