By Michaela Gates, Staff Writer
My Friend Dahmer, directed by Mac Myers, documents famous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s time in high school as well as his descent into madness. The movie has prompted many to begin thinking a bit deeper into the minds of a serial killer.
What drives a human being to kill not out of fear or desperation, but out of pleasure? How can a person function as a normal person by day and by night become everyone’s worst nightmare? Many psychologists have given their theories and done their research, however almost none of them have found a truly concrete answer to what makes these people tick.
It is unimaginable to think that the person sitting next to you on a train could very well be chopping people up and eating them as Dahmer was doing for so many years. While many people would have you believe that it is trauma that brings out these behaviors, I feel it has to be something you are born with to a large extent.
For example, throughout 1989 and 1990 Aileen Wuornos terrorized American highways killing seven men, from what many believe was a response to a lifetime of sexual abuse. While I can fully understand how this trauma drove Wuornos to mental instability, what I do not understand is how it drove her to kill seven innocent men.
The fact is she has a mental switch, as do all serial killers, which most people have not the slightest understanding of. They can go from normal as anything to a bloodthirsty maniac in a New York minute, not to mention, turn it off just as quickly.
I do not want to say that these people are necessarily born evil because I would wager there are quite a few people who possess this same “switch” and never turn it or even know it is there.
However, for those that make the flip I highly doubt that it is something that was learned or developed. It is something that is innate and has always been with them.
Another killer, John Wayne Gacy, was a renowned family man in his hometown and was thought to be a fantastic human being.
The man even volunteered in the children’s ward at local hospitals constantly. However, he murdered at least 33 young men, many of which he buried under his house.
Gacy would constantly flip his switch and go from loving and normal to frantic and bloodthirsty then back to normal, his family never the wiser. While Gacy was abused as a child by his father, that still doesn’t even come close to explaining his behavior.
Sadly, abuse is far more common in America than anyone would care to admit. And if abuse was all that was needed to become a serial killer then I don’t think anyone would be left alive. It is something else, it is that switch that causes these people flip that makes them the brutal killers they are.
This switch allows them to kill and continue to function in society as if nothing it happened. It allows them to bury bodies as if it was a daily chore and allows them to stay silent as the world hunts for answers to their crimes.
It is extremely strange to think that these people live among us and function like normal people, I would even argue it is haunting.
However, that is the world we live in; strange and haunting. Once you seem to have beat on it, you’re thrown another curveball. I don’t think psychology will ever really explain serial killers because frankly, they cannot be explained. They fall through the cracks of what psychology can explain, as the entire existence as serial killers is flat out unthinkable.