Why Do People Kill?

It’s a simple question, but people have been struggling to find the answer for centuries. In a previous blog I discussed the core legal definition of murder, but I asked this very question as I researched the subject.

Law enforcement officials are burdened with this same question as they search for the core reason why a person commits murder. It’s an important legal step in determining how the accused will be charged with, and eventually convicted of, the crime.

In this enlightened age of science and technology, there are numerous methods to identify a murderer and to determine how the murderous deed was accomplished, but the “Why” of killing still baffles many Profiling a murderer has gained much ground as a science, but it falls short of definitively answering the question, “Why do some kill to accomplish a specific goal and others choose less lethal methods?”

It’s been documented that the central reasons people kill are for POWER and CONTROL. Yet, we have many influential, successful professionals who don’t murder and never say, “The devil made me do it.”

Of the numerous personality disorders, statistics show that almost 50% of Americans fit into one or more of the anti-social personality disorder classifications at one time in their lives. So, is it a coincidence that the US has the highest rate of serial killers than any other country in the world? But what makes specific people turn to murder?

People decide to kill because of a psychological build-up of physical or emotional trauma over time. The initial triggers are numerous but the major ones are fear, anger, desperation, greed and religious fanaticism.

These initial triggers can be exacerbated when ones natural inhibitions are removed (as with alcohol or mind-altering drugs). For instance, an otherwise rational person could act out inappropriate anger in the form of road rage while under the influence of a psychotropic drug.

Dr. Paul Mattiuzzi has lectured that individual personality traits play a key role in how certain triggers can evolve into acts of violence and murder. Chronically aggressive individuals as well as those with opposite traits, such as overly suppressed hostility, can react similarly in threatening situations. And those who suggested are emotionally resentful from a past severe hurt or trauma can become similarly and inappropriately aggressive in specific situations.

So we have to dig deeper to find the emotional triggers that motivate people to murder. A person may not like his or her significant other, but why does one seek a separation or divorce while another plans a murder? Why does one person work harder to outperform a competitive coworker while another plans an intricate murder? Does it all come down to an evolution of a personality disorder? That certainly makes for interesting murder mystery writing, but is there more involved?

My previous blog suggested that three factors influence a person to kill: genetics, brain malfunctions and various forms of abuse. Experts in criminology usually agree that a specific event in a killer’s life triggers the psychology that eventually preoccupies the mind to act out criminally; and, without proper psychological and pharmaceutical intervention, the need for a specific inappropriate act eventually can become an obsession. This is what leads to the development of major criminals, and certainly serial killers.

The mind and its manipulation, either intentionally or accidentally, is interesting subject matter and allows for unique character development. It’s those unusual characters that make a story interesting and give value to you as their creator. Happy Writing!

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

About James J. Murray, Fiction Writer

With experience in both pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical patient management, medications and their impact on one’s quality of life have been my expertise. My secret passion of murder and mayhem, however, is a whole other matter. I’ve always loved reading murder mysteries and thrillers, and longed to weave such tales of my own. Drawing on my clinical expertise as a pharmacist and my infatuation with the lethal effects of drugs, my tales of murder, mayhem and medicine will have you looking over your shoulder and suspicious of anything in your medicine cabinet.
This entry was posted in a killer gene, About James J. Murray, About Murder, About Writing, All About Murder, All About Writing, Better Fiction Writing, Blog Writers, Blogging, Character Development Techniques, Characteristics of a Fictional Character, Characteristics of Killing, Characteristics of Murder, Creating Emotional Drama in a Murder Scene, Creating Interesting Fiction Characters, Creating Unique and Interesting Character Flaws, Deciding How to Kill Off a Character in a Novel, Deciding What Types of Fictional Characters Fit Into Your Plot, Defining Murder, Designing Murder Plots, Developing Story Arcs, Developing Story Plots, Developing Storyline Ideas, Fiction Based on Facts, Fiction Based on Real Life, Fiction Writing - A Believable Lie, Fictional Character Development, Ideas for Murder Scenes, James J. Murray Blog, Killing Off Characters in Writing, Killing Off Characters in Your Novel, Methods of Murder, Murder - The True Definition, Murder is Defined, Murder Mayhem and Medicine, New Blog, Plot Development, Plot Ideas and Where They Come From, Plotting Interesting Murder Scenes, Plotting Murder Scenes, Prescription For Murder Blog, Reasons Why People Kill, Reasons Why People Murder, Story Development, The Art of Storytelling, The Art of Writing, The Psychology of Murder, The Science of Murder, The Warrior Gene, Types of Fictional Characters, Unique Murder Plots, Why People Kill and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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