Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Psycho Killer, Qu'Est-Ce Que C'Est?

There's been quite a run of psycho killers getting convicted and jailed lately - the Suffolk Strangler, the Hammer Killer, the Croydon Necrophile, and now this creep. This is a good thing, but why, in covering such cases, do the media - especially the broadcast media - insist on ferreting out a 'motive'. A motive is the kind of thing murderers in whodunits have; in the real world most killing is done either in some form ot temporary rage or , more calculatedly and more rarely, by psychopaths. The 'motive' is a matter of pathology, not of intention or calculation. They kill, basically, because they like killing - a taste that's not all that unusual, but in times of peace has no outlet or usefulness and therefore only rarely comes to the surface. As Johnny Cash put it, 'I shot a man in Reno, Just to watch him die.' Nuff said.


  1. One might equally ask why the media insist on "ferreting out" - strange words! - memorable nicknames for these murderers, thus giving them a significance they don't deserve. I suspect the media does less ferreting out and more simple passing of on what the Prosecution claimed. Maybe it's just curiosity or a natural tendency to ask "why" before "how", or perhaps ascribing a motive to people who themselves don't know why they did it is part of some ancient stuff about purging evil and the inexplicably ineffable and now I'll hand over to George Steiner etc etc. Still, it's better than some appalling fat man on the TV last week who simply intoned "let them swing" full face into the camera.

  2. I call it the RatSyndrome! ... the result of confined and uncontrolled overbreeding!

    Increased aggression, for example, between group members is an inevitable social response among communities of rats in confined circumstances of uncontrolled overbreeding. The older ones destroy the younger, the stronger mutilate the weaker. Indeed, it passes as a fact that rats will mutilate themselves. The motive behind this savagery is no longer economic. Nor is the impulse predatory. The explanation seems to be - and this may be taken as proof of our own abnormality - that they are no longer capable of distinguishing between natural and unnatural impulses in what appears to be an alienation of the instincts. Indeed, never before in the history of the psychology of crime has the common delinquent expressed himself so pathologically and compulsively. And in my view, indeed, all such behavioural idiosyncrasies ought to be seen as the pathological disorders of a severely destabilized species.

    (But then, again, I don’t suppose, that any of you little SchnuppsBabies will have the slightest idea of what I am actually talking about).


  3. Well I think I know what you're talking about Selena - but what is a Schnupps Baby, and am I one? I don't like the sound of it...

  4. Schnupps Baby?

    That's just about the most affectionate term of endearment in my vocabulary, Nige...

    - and yes, you're definitely one. Unless you prefer it in French: ...mon petit choux choux

    Dreamy xxx

  5. Sheesh - that's me off for a cold shower again...

  6. Serial killing is an overlooked discipline. i know there's a lot written about it, but in a very narrow sense. It is an excellent indicator of a pathological culture, for example most serial killers are American.

    Killing is enjoyable but it's an odd sort of pleasure. Even killers often recoil from it; its a contaminating sort of pleasure, even when one kills not out of sadism but necessity.

  7. Jeez, Elberry, you sound like you really know what you're talking about!

  8. Nah, just played a lot of incredibly violent computer games at a sensitive age.