Jeffrey Dahmer’s Criminal Activities
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Serial killing has developed into a field of considerable interest and widespread debate in the contemporary western society. The mainstream media, especially in the United States, perceives serial killing as an all-American paradox (Purcell & Arrigo, 2006). Perhaps the society came to consider this phenomenon after the psychotic criminal activities of Jeffrey Dahmer (Shuler, 1996). His bizarre case has urged the Criminal Justice System (CJS) to develop efficient strategies for understanding the behavior of serial killers and their criminal thinking. The purpose of this essay is to explain the behavior of Jeffrey Dahmer from his documentary by utilizing various theories of crime.
Description of Event
Jeffrey Dahmer’s actions qualify as a criminal case of serial killing. He was an American serial killer and sex offender (Shuler, 1996). Dahmer was born in the early 1960s in the remote area of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. According to his father, Lionel Dahmer, his son was joyful, funny, and well-adjusted (Shuler, 1996). He was very outgoing and liked playing with other kids. However, when he was roughly six years of age, his father noted a negative change in his behavior and overall attitude. Lionel Dahmer claimed that Jeffrey became increasingly isolated and displayed the lack of self-confidence. This gradual change coincided with the birth of his younger brother and Jeffrey’s medication for a double hernia. During his early adulthood, he started collecting dead animals, dissecting them in his grandfather’s basement, and dissolving the dead bodies in acids. Perhaps this is where the behavior of his serial killing began. Jeffrey became alcoholic and attracted to partners of the same sex. His homosexuality intensified when he approached a hitchhiker Steven Hicks in a bar and went with him to his father’s house to drink beer and have gay sex (Purcell & Arrigo, 2006). Jeffrey later killed Steven when he attempted to escape and dismembered his body before hiding it in the basement. In the end, police apprehended Jeffrey after his unsuccessful attemts to murder Tray Edwards. In the first half of 1991, the police took him to court where the judge declared him guilty of 15 cases of manslaughter. The court sentenced him to 15 life terms that in sum made a 937-year incarceration (Shuler, 1996).
The news of Jeffrey’s serial killings relates to the topic of interpersonal violence described in the class lecture (Proctor, 2015). It best fits in the category of murder, hate, crimes, and rape as presented in the lecture. Jeffrey’s criminal behavior is a strange case of manslaughter. Because he was alcoholic, bars, especially gay pubs, were the convenient places for targeting his victims. He enticed them with money and sex in the bar and then murdered them in his apartment. He demonstrated a severe mental disorder since he dismembered his victims and kept their private parts and skulls in the freezer (Shuler, 1996). He also established an altar with candles and human skulls of his victims in his room. This behavior proves his psychological disorder. Jeffrey’s criminal behavior was strange; moreover, murdering roughly 15 men using similar tactics makes the case even more interesting to analyze (Shuler, 1996). Besides, psychologists stress that perhaps he was suffering from a psychopathic disorder that drove him to perform such bizarre criminal acts. Because of these reasons, the news of Jeffrey’s criminal behavior caught my utmost attention.
Application of Criminological Theories
Psychological and neo-analytic theories are relevant to understand the case of Jeffrey Dahmer. The influential theorists regarding these perspectives are Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. They stress that unconsciousness develops in the early years of life, and its determinants affect human personality (Hollin, 2012). Regarding Freud’s interacting force of human personality, it turns out that his Id impulses drove Jeffrey notwithstanding the restriction of his superego’s attempt. Jung would conform to Dahmer’s father that his son was anti-social throughout his childhood. Freud asserts that there are active internal forces within the person that motivate crime (Marsh & Melvillle, 2006). He maintains that the influences of the childhood lifestyle are the origin of crime. Based on this assumption, Jeffrey’s childhood hernia surgery might be the origin of his pathological growth. Maybe he felt neglected and mistreated at the hospital and failed to understand the cause of his parents leaving him in the emergency room.
Biological and evolutionary approaches are other criminological theories. Jeffrey was perhaps inherently destined to become a serial killer since according to Gordon Alport, the human behavior is partly influenced by genes (Hollin, 2012). He maintains that social people fit well in the society, and because Jeffrey was anti-social, he had a mark of psychopathology. Additionally, from a biological approach, maybe he inherited genetic mutations that set the basis for his psychoneurotic behavior and personality. His mother had a strenuous pregnancy period with Jeffrey, and the doctors had prescribed sedatives for her symptoms (Shuler, 1996). These medications may have a negative impact on her son’s growing brain, his hormonal development or brain functioning. He was alcoholic that is an indication of physiological sensitization to mental pressure. This condition might explain why he felt so affected by the world around him leading him to become a ruthless serial killer (Purcell & Arrigo, 2006). Predominantly, the case of Jeffrey helps us to understand and identify various criminal behaviors of serial killers in the real world. The society, academicians, and the Criminal Justice Department will understand their criminal thinking patterns as well as detect and prevent them before it is too late.
Overall Reaction to the Event
Personally, I think that Jeffrey Dahmer should be administered psychological assistance to help him eradicate his deranged criminal thoughts. Although reform programs are available in prison, his criminal behavior can be addressed only by a psychologist. Generally, my reaction is shaped by what I have learned in class. The class lecture and the handouts provided sufficient criminology information to respond to the Jeffrey’s criminal case (Proctor, 2015).
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