What drives humans to kill?

I’ve always wondered why a lot of people kill innocent people for no reason. Do they strive to be loved? Do they do it to make themselves noticed in society? Or do they simply love the trill and rush to take the life of another? Whats your opinion?

There are a variety of reasons/drives.
Define the circumstances.

He did actually: when guys kill for no reason at all.

The circumstances of the killer. Upbringing, biological make-up etc.

I suppose that’s what the guy asked for, now you define it as a circumstance? No, no, no.

Now, let’s ask a more practical question: what drives men to offend others who’s just trying to mind their own business?

The other’s own business is on a public forum. Their business is adressed to everyone reading it. This is where the man comes in. When the other’s business is the epitome of stupidity, the man’s drive is born. Thus calling your dumb ass out.

Let’s think a little bit deeper, shall we?

The man basically decided that the other’s business is stupid, then he offend. Ok, here is the real drive:

1 The man’s bitter and lame decision.
2 the man’s aggressive personality.

I thought this is all too obvious.

Interesting, I was actually planning on making a thread like this when i came here today. I spent a long day yesterday helping my friend with research on Serial Killers for her Criminal Justice degree. Since I major in Criminal Psychology the subject matter was (dare I say) fascinating to me so I threw myself into the research. Apart from the collection of research I have from projects for my own degree, I spent a long time at the Crime Library.

I was stuck there for 6 hours, unable to even peal myself away from the computer. This strange, morbid, horrible topic was affecting me emotionally and I lost my appetite. Yet I was still unbelievably interested.

I first started by digging up my old essays on Elizabeth Bathory. Clearly one of the most demented humans to ever walk on this planet. I will not go into specifics due to how many people may react, but legend has called her a Vampire for good reasons.

I will now give you a list why people commit such horrible acts based on what I concluded. This may be old hat to some, new info to others, and woefully incomplete. But Ill take a gander anyway.


  1. Psychopathic personality- Psychopaths are dangerous people who are remorseless and without a conscience, yet are often highly skilled at lying and charming and at faking the emotions they lack. Ted Bundy is example. They are able to live among society, undetected and often lead rather ‘average’ lives. They kill because of the pleasure it gives them. Perhaps from some sense of power, maybe from a sexual thrill it gives them or maybe from a feeling of the people around them being inferior. Also, they may focus on one type of person as a way of ‘retaliating’ against someone who hurt them in the past. Like a man killing mothers, because his mother abused him. 90 percent of serial killers are Psychopaths. Psychopaths are considered to have an extreme personality disorder and have the appearance of sanity. ( I could even break this down one down into even more sub-categories, but will leave it more general.)

2.) Crimes of Passion- Those who kill out of a particular emotional event or series of events. The husband coming home to find his wife in bed with his best friend, the person who’s daughter is hurt by another and takes the law into his own hands…even something as ‘inconsequential’ as a girl friend breaking up with a particularly amorous lover. They essentially ‘flip out’ and decide killing the people involved is the only solution. Maybe even intense fear may lead to this. A wife being beat by her husband,and feels the only way out is to kill him. These people are usually sane, and able to live productive lives. Until something happens that unlocks the more primative aspect in them.

3.) Sadistic and Massochistic killers- Those who thrive off of pain. Both inflicted on them and others. These people may kill others, and also like to be hurt in return. Alfred Fish is an example. He commited some of the most disturbing acts against humanity, and also to himself. Once again I wont go into details, but a search of the man would show a clear case of mental illness. For these people are mentally insane, to whatever degree.

4.) Munchausen by Proxy syndrome- Those who inflict damage and kill as away of getting attention from loved ones and the sympathy of the medical field. Usually these are disturbed mothers, who will do whatever means possible to keep the child sick or injured, and keep the attention on them. Sometimes nurses and doctors have this syndrome. Example is Beverley Allitt who harmed young children and killed many as a way of ‘proving’ her self to her peers and gaining the attention of saddened parents of these children. She tried to come across as the dutiful nurse, and even be friending some of the vicitims parents. These people are clearly unstable, and inflict harm and death upon others as a way to come across as the ‘Martyr’.

5.) Murder for financial gain- Those who kill for insurance money or to gain control of a will. One particularly disturbing example of this is ‘baby farming’. There was a practice in recent history where mothers who had babies out of wedlock would pay a stimpend to another family or center to raise the baby and then bring them back in years past as a ‘neice’ or ‘nephew’ or the such. People took advantage of this, took the babies, regularly recieved money from the mothers, and killed the babies. They had no cost for the baby, who was now dead.

6.) Spree Killers- The Beltway murders is simply one example. They usually go to many locations to kill their prey. It is different from Serial killings, due to the fact that its more like they are going ‘hunting’. They may do it from the euphoria and power involved. Or as retaliation to a certain group of individuals, or humanity at large. Columbine is another example, although some people may disagree with my placement. Spree killers may have serious mental illness, or just simply a disregard for humanity. Its one particularly morbid joke,about the Post man going insane from his so called thankless job and going on a rampage. The term ‘going postal’ came from this. I would label most hate crimes under this too, although im sure they could apply to most or all others.

7.) Murder of circumstance- Usually the robber who shoots the clerk. Or a fight gone to far, and the person stricking a fatal blow to the other.


8.) Messanger of God/I am God Killers- People who kill because some ‘God’ told them to. Or they feel as if it’s their duty to do so. We come again to Alfred Fish, who can really be placed in many categories. In the end and after his capture, he alluded to the fact that angels told him to do this. And if he wasnt ment to, God would have stopped him. Other people that fit under this category are the Manson Family and Manson himself. His followers likened him to Jesus Christ and considered him to be the ‘fifth angel’. (They thought that the beatles were the other four angels…pfft.) He started his own attempt at Armageddan called Helter Skelter. Manson never killed anyone personally, but instructed others to kill. Violent cult leaders and their activists also are labeled this. Clearly, such people are experiencing dellusions of granduer. They may be mentally insane or hardcore narcissists. In the example of Fish, it is clear he is insane and and somewhere in his warped mind he rationalized his murders as santioned by God.

9.) Honor Killing/Relgious right- in many religions it is deemed not only acceptable to kill others, but part of code. In many areas of Islam, adultery is punishable by stoning. The act must however be attested by at least four witnesses of good character, punishments are reserved to the legal authorities, and false accusations are themselves punished severely. Certain Arabs find it their right under the sharia, although many other Islamic Arabs consider it un-islamic. (Thanks to en.wikipedia.org for this info). Other examples of killing due to religous right would be The Crusades when the christians thought it their right to ‘rid the world of heathens.’ Many terrorist acts can also be considered religious right killings, although the terrorists themselves often twist religious doctrine to their will to do so. And we cant forget the Inquisition and the Salem witch trials…

10.) Meglomainiacs/Power- While Im sure this could probably be lumped into other categories, I think this should be addressed separatly. Hitler, Stalin, Lenin and countable other despots are examples. They feel its either their religious right to do so, their way to a “new more glorious world” by riding the world of certain people, or using their power to take a more heavy handed approach to opposing political ideas. Either way, they slaughter their way through countries, some taking particular delight in tormenting. I would also put gangs and Mobsters under this as well. They kill to determine strengh and territory.

Ok, im sure this counted as an essay…but there you go. More information then you probably even wanted. But it helped me to collect my thoughts after the rather disturbing day spent in researching this subject.

crimelibrary.com is a good source to find more information on these people, but the content may be extremely graphic.

wow!!! listen does anyone know the 13 characteristics of a serial killer? please inform me.

Yeah, actually, I think that someone here knows really really well.

Actually its 14.

Fourteen Characteristics of a Serial Killer

  1. Over 90 percent of serial killers are male.

  2. They tend to be intelligent, with IQ’s in the “bright normal” range.

  3. They do poorly in school, have trouble holding down jobs, and often work as unskilled laborers.

  4. They tend to come from markedly unstable families.

  5. As children, they are abandoned by their fathers and raised by domineering mothers.

  6. Their families often have criminal, psychiatric and alcoholic histories.

  7. They hate their fathers and mothers.

  8. They are commonly abused as children — psychologically, physically and sexually. Often the abuse is by a family member.

  9. Many serial killers spend time in institutions as children and have records of early psychiatric problems.

  10. They have high rates of suicide attempts.

  11. From an early age, many are intensely interested in voyeurism, fetishism, and sado-masochistic pornography.

  12. More than 60 percent of serial killers wet their beds beyond the age of 12.

  13. Many serial killers are fascinated with fire starting.

  14. They are involved with sadistic activity or tormenting small creatures.

Internal Association of Forensic Science, an article written by FBI Special Agent Robert K. Ressler
“The Serial Killer,” Harold Schechter

(But I will point out that through time we are coming out with a new breed of serial killer…the kind from fine upstanding familes and go against most if not every characteristic. Im sure these characterists wil alter and grow through time.)

whatever happened to just saying fear? heh heh…

S and L (now there’s a post i could take to the bank!!),

Terrific post! Just one thing irked me, though. Where did the passage quoted above come from (viz, “rid the world of heathens”)? To my knowledge the Crusades were launched simply to restore the ability of Christians to visit religious sites in the Holy Land – not to “rid the world of heathens”. (I wonder how many of the poor Saracens fell victim to the horrible Childrens’ Crusade!!!)

But the rest is terrific. That must be why…well, enough about me.

ny real name

S and L (now there’s a post i could take to the bank!!),

Terrific post! Just one thing irked me, though. (very tangental) Where did the passage quoted above come from (viz, “rid the world of heathens”)? To my knowledge the Crusades were launched simply to restore the ability of Christians, previously granted, to visit religious sites in the Holy Land – not to “rid the world of heathens”. (I wonder how many of the poor Saracens fell victim to the horrible Childrens’ Crusade!!!)

But the rest is terrific. That must be why…well, enough about me.

my real name

Well, there were many reasons why the Crusades existed. While some of them had legitimate reasons for taking part, others used it as a way of cleansing the world. There are always opportunists in every venture. Perhaps I should have mentioned that.

LOL and yeah many of us find ourselves taking the ‘test’ over rather or not we are serial killer material. I would feel relief over the fact that im female, but then there are the black widow serial killers. I have always had issues with the list of characteristics, because more often then not some of the most horrible of killers wouldnt match up with half of this list.

Yes that’s true, but is that not a reason why Jack the Ripper killed whores in England? It is an excuse, but he was indeed trying to save England from whores and sin.


The killer has to see his victim as less than human. A similar technique gets used in war propaganda, where enemies become: gooks, chinks or krauts.


The killer has no meaningful emotional ties with other human beings.

Letsm put the serial killer with our own problems but with a larger temper i punched a hole in my wall the other day for having bad grades and my parents gettin “dissapointed in me” and my g/f just broke up with me my brother hits me once in a while lets say a killer was in my shoes would he have punched a hole in the wall or would he have taken his anger out on another or would he have simply held it inside then one day explode into a terrible explosion of violence unplanned rage bursts. I believe he wouldnt keep it inside because one day he just couldnt take it like in the movie “falling down”(great movie) because none of this would have been planned he would have been caught but it could of been think about it all the largest murders were unplanned just sort of fell into there laps then they realized they need to plan “john wayne gacy” “ted bundy” in conclusion all the facts that are known as common killers could be false everyone that we talk to could be a cold blooded killer you can never tell when someone will just snap in a quick second where there world falls apart they die and there lives turn into hell and they get to be saitan for a day (pardon the spelling not my strong suit)