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"Monsters Aren't Monsters After All"

Imagine you’re searching for something. You don’t know what it is, and you don’t know where to find it. You keep finding things you think are it, only to find they aren’t what you were searching for after all.
Or imagine, you’ve got what you need, that one thing that makes you feel right, but someone wants to take it away from you. Wouldn’t you do anything to keep it? After all, you need it, right?

This is exactly how they feel, these beings we’ve deemed “Monsters”. These “beasts”, these “demons”; or more definitively, serial killers. Most individual murders have a clear motive – robbery, jealousy, revenge – what makes serial murders different, is that there doesn’t appear to be a particular reason. So the perpetrators of such crimes just love killing, right?

Throughout human history we’ve made a habit of this. Being unable to comprehend something, we’re quick to dismiss it as evil. It happened through the Crusades, the Witch Hunts, the massacre of the Native Peoples…and it’s still happening today. But why would we make an effort to understand these monsters anyway? What is there to understand, we already know they love to kill, we need not look any farther. Yet that is exactly why we must look deeper, we must understand that we do not know why, and even more, we need to understand that it is crucial that we find out.

It’s not a mystery that serial murderers are different from us, but there are more reasons than you’d think. Take Jeffery Dahmer for example, so frightened by the idea that his lovers would leave him, that he murdered them so they’d stay. What about Eddy Gein, so obsessed with his mother that after her death he murdered women in an attempt to recreate her. Then there’s the fictional “Blind Man Killer”, who murdered male prostitutes out of resentment for his prostitute mother who tried to abandon him at a carnival. All of these criminals have something inside that tells them this is what they need. Something that they’ve probably held off their entire life.

But you can only hold off a need for so long.

Many people are quick to blame childhood experiences for the formation of this drive, but maybe we should look at the possibility that this can develop free of external stimuli. Take Jeffery Dahmer for example, he had a relatively normal childhood, but he still grew up to become a serial murderer and a cannibal. The truth is that the answer lies not on the outside, but on the inside. This feeling, this drive that exists in some of us, is the key to it all. In some instances, these feelings are no more than undiluted versions of our regular emotions; fear, greed, even love. In the words of Lionel Dahmer, Jeffery Dahmer’s father, his son was “So intimidated by their presence, that in order for him to come in contact with them, they needed to be dead.” Number 9, in Tanya Huff’s “Blood Pact”, was motivated by feelings of love; becoming so attached to the one woman who showed him kindness that he would even murder anyone who might make her unhappy.

So is it right to call them monsters, when all their crimes are centered on our emotions? You must remember that no matter what they do, they are still humans, still, just following human nature. All these things we call inhumane are just the opposite: Humans are the only creature that is cruel. So they’re not monsters, beasts, or demons, they’re human. Maybe even, theoretically, more human than us.

I am not trying to say serial killers aren’t guilty. We know the “what”. We know what they’ve done, you and I, we know it’s against the law. In this world, however, we also know there is much more than “what”, we know it goes much deeper. We need to find the “why”. We fear what we cannot understand, because we cannot learn how to stop it. Once why find “why”, we start to understand, we stop fearing, and we start learning. Once we stop dismissing it as “evil” and leaving it there, we may be able to begin stopping it; we may be able to help these people find what they are searching for. We may be able to stop them from hurting anyone else.
The actual title is "Monsters Aren't Monsters After All"
but it wouldn't fit.

Did this way back in first semester and I don't know if I was gonna submit it or not O.o
Anyway, I was sposed to find a topic that related to a book I read. My book was about zombies(and it was actually rather tedious to read). Luckily, one of the zombies killed people. And so, I could relate serial murder to it =)
I've always been angry when people call serial killers(or any killers for that matter) "monsters". I think its being just a little to closed minded. Anyway, I won't rant here, you can read the essay.
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aliceinthematrix Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2011
Careful with that thinking -- it can be tricky, indeed.

I was formally educated in forensic psychology and criminology, deciding to become a creative professional rather than a profiler. But the 'need' is still there, and it can go both ways.

What really drives a serial murderer, besides the obvious fantasy within? Who can truly say? We've likened them to vampires, werewolves, and other mythic creatures with a driving 'need'; to call it an illness, an addiction is a more progressive thought that's becoming more popular these days than it ever used to be. Reform? Could be possible, depending upon the individual. But, perhaps, not everyone.

This is what drives me to write, actually. I invite you to explore my own take on the subject -- through fiction, yes -- but always begging the question regarding 'monsters'. Especially the upcoming audio drama series which sums it up rather chillingly, I have to say.
samyemma-tobi Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2009
I agree completely
Rai-Starstreak Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Glad to hear it :)
SteelTheUnbreakable Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2008
Hey, I came across this essay looking for some visual artwork and decided to read it. I loved it. I've always had a similar philosophy bouncing around in my head.
I've always been fascinated with the idea of sociopaths, but I've always thought of it as just a label.
jaklyn-rose Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2007
*Thumbs up*
Finally looked at this after I read your autobiography ^^'
Rai-Starstreak Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
I wonder if my health teacher actually looked this up and read it when she marked my autobiography...

I wanted to use this quote my English teacher said yesterday...
"Once we start seeing someone as other than human, then we can do some pretty terrible things"
Maybe I'll write a sequel to it, lol.
jaklyn-rose Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2007
Cybil-Untrue Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2006
*claps* very nice, I agree
Rai-Starstreak Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2006  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you ^_^ I'm glad that you agree.
I was a little worried that my teacher might think I was a psycho. But he really liked it, I got a good mark =)
Cybil-Untrue Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2006
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