Monday, October 19, 2009

Thrill Killers

Murder is a perennial topic of interest for myself and sociologists. Murder is the most easily documented crime because it's so hard to get rid of the body.

There are many different types of murder: murder-suicides, serial killers, spree killers, thrill killers, manslaughters (accidental murders), self-defense murders, political assassination...

But thrill killings are especially troubling to safety geeks like me, since the murders are often seemingly random.

Boston's Sarah Schweitzer discusses patterns in recent thrill killings in New Hampshire.

[P]art of the pattern tends to be teens killing without obvious motive, specialists said. While murders by older people tend to be motivated by jealousy or greed or revenge directed at an individual, youths who kill tend to act out feelings of rage or alienation on people they don’t know or against people with whom they have little cause to be angry.

Their target is not one particular individual, but rather anyone who is available.

“The victims are interchangeable,’’ Levin said. “They look at the accessibility of the victim. They make sure the victim lives in an isolated area, with no security system. They use vulnerability as a criteria.’’

Some specialists say that a sense of disenfranchisement was bound to be stronger in small New Hampshire towns, such as Amherst and Brookline, the hometowns of the teens charged in the [killing of Kimberly Cates of Mount Vernon, New Hampshire, see also Nashua Telegraph coverage].

In small homogenous communities, teens who don’t fit in stand out much more than in cities, they say.

“A strong sense of community is wonderful if you happen to be accepted,’’ Levin said.

“But if you are regarded as an outsider, you may feel profoundly rejected . . . Their peer group is the only game in town. If they are rejected, they have nowhere else to go.’’|Some see links in ‘senseless’ killings - Boston|

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