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The Infamous BTK Serial Killer

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To kill means to put to death, whereas murder means the unlawful killing of one human by another with malice aforethought. No one should be deprived of their life because everyone has a right to live a life. There are many factors that strip this right and freedom to life. Dennis Rader, also known as the “BTK Killer” which meant to bind, torture, and kill his victims. The BTK was widely regarded as a mysterious murderer in Wichita, Kansas, with 10 murders and correspondence with authorities to play mind games leaving some sort of evidence, but not enough to get discovered. Dennis Rader's life was an example of determinism, caused by factors such as religion, psychological, and genetics.

Religion was a factor in Dennis’ determinism in which he was controlled by the devil or evil spirit in his early stages of life. Being born a lutheran, Dennis Rader participated in the church's youth group activities and became a boy scout in his youth. Due to many major religions, it predetermines that some humans will be good and some will be bad, and punishes and rewards them for something they have no control. During court, Dennis said how could a guy like me, church member, raised a family, and go out and do these absurd actions. Dennis went on to explain the urge to kill and how it wasn’t very Christian. At a young age when Dennis was in middle school, a demon was within Dennis and controlled the actions made by him. Dennis started hanging dogs and cats as a youth and kept it a secret from everyone. This explained why religion played a big part of Dennis’ determinism of becoming a serial killer because it was predetermined that people in a religion where they believe in one God or higher power would either become a good or bad person. Dennis was raised as a Christian, but didn’t follow the morals or set rules of a Christian.

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Another factor of Dennis’ determinism was psychological which was the biggest drive to have the urge to murder people. A theory from Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, came up with the theory of human beings being determined prior to birth in the womb. This is caused by their unconscious minds and by various natural drives that society practices. This theory applies to Dennis because he was a normal child raised in a normal family, until he developed fantasies about bondage, control, and torture by his own admission. Also, he became sexual and dreamed of tying up girls and having them his way. He didn’t explain why he developed all of these weird habits, but it could’ve been that he developed mental illness which made him turn into a serial killer. It’s all psychological because all of his actions were from the inside forces of himself and not the outside forces, since he was raised like a normal child. His urge started from saying a demon took over his body in middle school, to hanging dogs and cats, which then led to 10 murders in which he all planned to hang.

The last factor in which drove Dennis’ determinism of being a serial killer is genetics. Biological determinism, also known as genetic determinism, is the idea that human behavior is determined by the genes or some aspect of an individual's physiology, usually at the cost of the environment's function, whether in embryonic development or education. Biological determinism played a big role in Dennis’ life because growing up, he went to a youth group and did things that a normal kid would do except hang dogs and cats. He went to college, got married to a fellow Lutheran, and had a family of his own, but he was never satisfied with himself. He was poor by the time he got his degree, and got unemployed from Cessna which was a small aircraft manufacture. This caused him to slip deeper into his fantasy world which he had known since his childhood, and that was to strangle someone to death. Dennis probably went crazy after struggling to have success in making money, or developed some mental issues to see what it was like to strangle people.

In conclusion, Dennis’ life was a result of determinism which were affected by factors such as a demon or evil spirit taking over his body at a young age, having the urge to murder people by hanging them, and going back to his fantasized world because he gave up on his life. Dennis was born a Lutheran and participated in his community as a youth, but claimed that an evil spirit or the devil took over his body to have the urge to kill people. Also, during his days of youth, he fantasized about sexual intentions and what he would do to girls, and strangle them because he wanted his way. Last of all, he wanted to live a normal life, but he realized that he wasn’t being successful in the real world, so he fell back to his fantasized dreams and followed through with it until he got caught after his tenth murder. All of these factors were a product of his determinism because he wanted to pretty much become a serial killer after things didn’t go the way he wanted to in life. He had feelings for all of the people he killed, but he still carried out with his fantasized life of binding, torturing, and killing girls that he was attracted to. Dennis Rader could’ve been the reason to my existence because my family was living in Wichita, Kansas where he was murdering people without getting caught.

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The Infamous BTK Serial Killer. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 29, 2024, from
“The Infamous BTK Serial Killer.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
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The Infamous BTK Serial Killer [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2024 Feb 29]. Available from:
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