The Professors and The Serial Killers
What is a “serial killer?”
Serial killing is the rarest form of homicide, occurring when an individual has killed three or more strangers with a ‘cooling-off’ period between each murder.
There have been homicidal maniacs who followed the pattern for hundreds of years. But, Kevin Haggerty, a Professor of Sociology and Criminology, and Ariane Ellerbrok, a Ph.D. student at the University of Alberta, Canada, contend that the murderers we think of as serial killers are distinct byproducts of our modern-day culture.
In other words, we only have ourselves to blame.
Society of Strangers.
Mass urbanization is a distinctive characteristic of the modern era, something that has profoundly altered the nature of human relationships by generating an unprecedented degree of anonymity.
Whereas the average person in the Dark Ages might have met no more than 100 strangers, we in the 21st century are “immersed in a sea of strangers.”
Mass media and the culture of celebrity
For the vast majority of people is best understood as a media event, Haggerty and Ellerbrok write. They continue, “Serial killers have become an inescapable point of reference in movies, television fiction, novels, true crime books, and video games.”
The media, they argue, has fostered “a culture of celebrity,” and for some, who become serial killers, the desire for celebrity status is an unstoppable motivation.
Although most serial killers seem to select their victims at random, the reverse is true. Haggerty and Ellerbrok wrote that just as society decides who is valued less than the majority, serial killers use the same standard to determine who will die.
So it would seem that we have met the serial killer, and the serial killer is….us.
A woman’s dead body is tossed off a cruise ship. It’s homicide on the high seas, a story of murder and greed, a true crime story you’ll never forget.