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The Role Of Trauma Disorders In Criminal History Of Serial Killers And Mass Shooters

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1 in 5 Americans are diagnosed with mental disorders every year. Mental disorders are social and/or mental side effects different every day issues. There are 7 main types of mental disorders that a lot of Americans go through which is: mood, anxiety, personality, psychotic, eating, trauma, and substance abuse. Within the past 50 years there has been a spike in crime specifically serial killing and mass shootings. When mass shootings happen they are different in other ways because the motives to most to all mass shootings are usually different. The connection between is that a lot of these killings and shootings is that they are under mental illness influences. Personality, psychotic, and trauma disorders played pivotal roles throughout the criminal history of serial killers and mass shooters.

The most popular mental disorders that serial killers experience are psychotic, personality, and traumatic disorders. One of the main psychotic disorders is schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects the way one would think, feel, and behave clearly which makes them out of touch with reality. Schizophrenia is also a gateway to the schizoaffective disorder which is a cause of schizophrenic like symptoms and mood disorders like symptoms. The delusional disorder is also another schizophrenic like disorder because it’s where an individual can’t tell the difference between reality and their imagination. Personality disorders on the other hand, are more so focused and developed on mental aspects. An example of a personality disorder is the Dissociative Identity disorder ( aka Split Personality disorder ). This disorder is when the presence of two or more personalities work to help avoid one with bad memories. Another example is an anti-social disorder where someone has a long term affect of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others without any remorse. Borderline personality disorder is another personality disorder which affects the way you think about yourself or others. Paranoid personality disorder is one that is a cause of a lot of crimes because it is the act of having suspicions about someone or something when there is no real suspicion and the wrong suspicion can lead to someone using self defense mechanism on others. Traumatic disorders on the other hand are more so emotional type mental disorder because it affects ones emotions towards another. Likewise, PTSD which is a traumatic disorder where someone is having difficulty bypassing a terrifying witness account or experience. Compared to PTSD, the acute stress disorder is where anxiety or other mental like symptoms appear within the month of a tragic event. A lot of these disorders are gateway reasons and motives for serial killings and mass shootings and have been evident of that within the last 50 years.

One of the most common disorders that serial killers experience is schizophrenia. For example, David Berkowitz. He was amongst one of the most famous serial killers in the late 1970’s. David Berkowitz was a American serial killer was known as the Son of Sam and the .44 caliber killer. He got his names because of the type of gun he used to in his shootings and the name Son of Sam because of the his neighbor who he had claimed had control over him. “ Son of Sam” Murdered six people in NYC between 1976-1977 victims including two teenagers who got shot in a car in the Bronx. Whenever he would've murder a victim he would leave a letter by their bodies. When caught on August 10, 1977 in front of his Yonkers apartment he was sentenced to six consecutive 25 to life jail sentences. It was known that he got caught because of an unpaid parking ticket on one of his owners vehicles. His reasoning for his murderous rampage was because he was in a satanic violent cult who was sought to be behind his attacks. His other reason was because he was given orders from a demon possessed black Labrador named Harvey who was owned by one of his neighbors named Sam Carr who he also saw as a powerful demon. In addition to his deadly rampages he had also set nearly 1,500 fires in New York City. Although,David Berkowitz was notorious there was a man called Edward Gein.

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Edward Gein aka Butcher of Plainfield or The Plainfield Ghoul was another schizophrenic serial killer. When he was a teenager his mental health started to degrade after his mom died because of the close bond and relationship he had with her. He was a handyman and a babysitter. He also never left home or date any woman. All of a sudden some of the residents within his neighborhood started to disappear. It is to be told that he murdered around 15 women but only two have proven. When his mom died he would target women who had resemblance of his mother and had thoughts of becoming a woman and what it’s like to be one. On the more vile side of his life he would dig up corpses and use the body parts for his clothing and fashion. He would use skulls as soup bowls and kept human organs in his refrigerator. When Gein got caught he was sought to be unfit for a trial due to his insanity at the time of the trial which made him got the plea of not guilty. Ed Gein was so notorious to the point where he inspired the character “ Leatherface” in the movie “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. Richard Trenton Chase was another serial killer with an even more vile background.

Richard Trenton Chase was another schizophrenic serial killer who had killed 6 people within a month. He’s mental health also degraded within his teenage years due to the strict household he lived in and the often beatings from his father. Due to that , it turned him into an alcoholic in his teen years and made the development of his fetish to mutilating animals because he would only get arousal by necrophilia and or mutilating animals. He first started mutilating animals and eat them raw and make them into smoothies. When he had murdered his first victim he said that the murder was a warm-up for the rest of the rest of his future victims. When he would get female victims he would repeatedly stab there body in while raping them. When he has shot the victims and they are confirmed dead to him he would stab the bodies in vital pressure points within the body so the blood can flow to the abdomen to be drained and drank by him. He got caught by the police in his apartment when he refused to speak to them and they ended up hiding out in his hallway until he came out with blood covered items. Richard Chase went berserk because he had a delusion that he needed to prevent the Nazis from turning his blood into powder due to the poison that he claimed was underneath his soap bar holder in his bathroom. Chase was another serial killer that inspired a movie called “ Rampage” which was based off of his criminal events.

One of the most famous serial killers nationwide and worldwide is Theodore Robert Bundy (Ted Bundy). He was the most notorious serial killer to ever live within the United States. Bundy had killed 36 young women and it’s been desired that he’s actually killed between 70-100 women because it’s the actual number is unknown. Bundy had a strong interest in sex and violence at a young age which started his criminal spark. His high school experience also played a part too because he didn’t know how to act and what people see him as and that’s what led to his diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. Before Ted started murdering women he would shoplift and was a thief. His victims were from Vermont, Florida, Utah, Oregon, Washington state ,Idaho, and Colorado Ted Bundy would first beat or strangle the victims either to death or until unconscious and the rape their bodies. His strategy for retrieving all these women was to either break in to their homes or to pretend he had an injury and needed help with items to his car and that’s when he’ll snatch them. He managed to escape prison twice. The first occasion of him escaping was during police custody and the second occasion was when he cut a hole through the cell and managed to make the hole big enough to fit himself through. During his trial he attempted to be his own lawyer within his case. He was then sentenced to the death penalty. He was on death row for 9 years until he got executed at 7:06 am on January 24th,1989 where he got 2,000 volts of electricity in the electric chair and was pronounced dead at 7:16 am. His killing spree made him the most notorious serial killer. In addition to this rampage it made him national headlines for years even still in present day. The movie industry made a movie off of him called “ Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” featuring Zac Efron.

Aileen Carol Wurnos was an American serial killer. Wurnos had killed 7 people who were all men. When Aileen was 11 she would perform in sexual activity at school for cigarettes, drugs, and food. When she was 15 she got kicked out and that was when she had to start providing for herself which made her pickup the act of prostitution. Wurnos had an early criminal history before her murders including: robbery, assault, possession of a weapon, etc. When it came to her victims she would target them on the Florida state highway. When she would get in their vehicles she accused them of rape and sexual assault and claims to shoot them in a result of self defense and she would later then robbed them after the attack. Wurnos got apprehended due to her criminal record because when they ran a fingerprint analysis on victims items that were found in a pawn shop they knew it was her because he fingerprint was on file due to her previous crimes. In January of 1992, Aileen went on trial for one of her victims Richard Mallory and was convicted of his murder. When it got to her sentencing, psychiatrics considered her mentally unstable because they diagnosed her with antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. She got the death sentence for every death she caused. She later then got a lethal injection which was the cause of her death and her body later got cremated. Aileen Wurnos was another serial killer who got a set of movies made on them which were both documentaries. The documentaries were called “ Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer” and Aileen Wurnos: The Selling of a Serial Kille

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The Role Of Trauma Disorders In Criminal History Of Serial Killers And Mass Shooters. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 22, 2024, from
“The Role Of Trauma Disorders In Criminal History Of Serial Killers And Mass Shooters.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
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