Posts Tagged ‘Criminal Minds’

serial killers


Imagine this you wake up disoriented in a dark, damp, cold room not knowing how you got there and scared out of  your mind. You scream for help only to realize your in a reticent room for a reason. You suddenly get memories flushing back when someone suddenly came from behind you and drugged you second before you passed out. What was that…..You hear the door screech open and footsteps walking toward you coming closer, but the room is too dark to see who or what it is. With you heart pulsating it seems the air suddenly is thinning as you gasp for breath trying to remain calm, but you can’t help but shake and cry not knowing what will happen next.

I gonna stop there, because that scenario seems horrifying to live through with just the glimpse of what I made visual for you. So why are we so fascinated to watch these scenarios play out on tv? What makes tv shows like Criminal Minds which is in it’s tenth season, The Following, Hannibal, Bates Motel, Dexter and other shows where criminals, psychos and the deranged run amuck so intriguing to us.

  • Killers are Humanized– It’s hard to despise a psychopath when you watch a drama filled show and see their life unfolding in front of you. You might even become sympathetic to the characters who dismember and murder knowing they were abused or tortured as a child.
  • Killers are Glamorized– Our culture unfortunately romanticizes serial killers too much, the Ted Bundy’s, Charles Manson, Jack Abbott all have made last impressions on society for all the wrong reasons, yet even today anyone of these individuals have cult like followings that have immortalized them.
  • They put on the Charm– Suave, debonair, elegant, intelligent charismatic, cultured, meticulous and take charge. hardly the description you would think applies to a bloodthirsty, cold-blooded killer. The tv does such wonders for a killers ego huh? I just finished watching season 2 of The Following. Joe Carroll did a masterful job seducing a cult into his own meshwork agenda of anarchy and death that had his followers extol for him.
  • Bad is so so Good – In society rules and order are needed for the population to function. Sometimes though the decree and all the regulations can be overwhelming and create disorderly factions. Killers and those who appreciate them disobey the rules, are not understood by regular law biding citizens. This brings an element of “cool” and popularity and we’ve all heard the saying “Good girls like bad boys”.
  • Society has a hankering for blood– If you seen the movies like Gladiator, 300, Spartacus and other movies like them then society as a whole has a long history of turning someone else’s death and dismemberment into entertainment. Much like what the Romans did for “fun”, we get the same thrill from seeing the blood splatter on the walls and watching the arms getting torn off. It’s greatright?
  • Killing can be Sacerdotal – Even religion sanctioned killing in so way, shape or form. Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT-…….”you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock.  Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it.”  “ A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death.”  Leviticus 20:27 NAB
  • Television adrenaline junkies – Long gone are the days the Alfred Hitchcock style killings where you see knife about to stab an unsuspecting woman in the shower and see the silhouette of her body being bludgeoned to death. In the constant need to exceed audience expectations of shocking cinema, it’s not enough to imagine the murder viewers wants to see the fear in the victims eyes, the blade as it lacerated that innocent woman, the sense of melancholy as a grieving loved one sees their family member lying still for the last time.

I just gave a few reasons why watching death on tv and movies has become such a big part of our entertainment in our day-to-day lives. I can’t help but think that we are becoming more and more desensitized to killing and brutality in this country. If you seen movies like The Purge and The Hunger Games and look past the prismatic outfits and the face masks of terror you can see our society heading towards these dark unfathomable futures. The question is and always has been is life intimidating art or is art intimidating life?


Have you ever wanted to know if someone was lying to you,but couldn’t prove it? Have you ever wanted to learn what profilers know to profile somebody? One of my favorites shows on tv to watch is Criminal Minds. It’s not because they can people that are insane, or because their put into demigod like status they way they use their intelligence, bravery and strength together. It’s because know the art of profiling a suspect from tiny clues they obtain. I they know the “unsub” likes fishing they might say the “unsub” is a calm patient killer who enjoys the hunt more that the actual kill.

If you wanted to know how cops, spies and psychologist know someone is lying pay attention. They look for physical clues such as body language: sweating, fidgeting. Look for particulars in a story, if a person is lying they usually lack detail. “Liars are noticeably less cooperative than truth-tellers,” found psychologists Bella M. DePaulo and Wendy L. Morris in a review of studies on deception. “Liars also make more negative statements and complaints than truth-tellers do, and they appear somewhat less friendly and pleasant,” they write in The Detection of Deception in Forensic Contexts.

According to former CIA agent Moran and NYPD officer Parker a subject’s failure to make eye contact is often a sign of deceit. Dilated pupils and a rise in vocal pitch were common more in liars than people telling the truth according to psychologists Depaulo and Morris. Listen for a pause in a story if a person has to take a second or two, that means they are usually gathering their thoughts and need time.  Ask  person a second or even a third time for them to tell you their story.  Look for inconsistencies in the story, but be aware they may still be able to keep the details of the lie in their heads. “Smart people maintain the consistency of lies better than dumb people,” says psychologist Robert Feldman, a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts.

Suspect someone who is making you think they are being honest too much. Most people assume they will be trusted most of the time. If someone constantly uses a phrase like “to be honest”  may more likely be lying. Know thyself is the lst measurement. Don’t look for what you want to hear, listen to the story as accurately as possible and take out of the equation that you may want them to be telling the truth and just listen.

In the book “Dangerous Instincts: How our Gut Instincts Betray Us” the author Mary O’Toole a retired FBI profiler says that we tend to look at someone who goes to work on time every day, shovels the snow when it comes, asks about your children, is polite and keeps a tidy home and  lawn for most people are indicators they are “normal”. O’ Toole says this same type of person she found out can also be a sexual sadist and prey and torture women in his backyard small trailer. She interviewed such a person who was a 60-year-old park ranger at the time. He had been torturing his victims for years and no one knew cause he was a “regular guy”.

O’ Toole stresses the fact that people should be good listeners and observe odd behavior.  “In order to be A good reader of behavior, you have to watch and listen,” O’Toole said. But if you’re too busy talking the whole time, you may miss key pieces of information. She adds not to be intimidated by authority of religious figures that can cloud our judgment. Admiring someone title can hinder your judgment which is known as “icon-intimidation” where we assign onto them admirable qualities such as intelligent, courageous, compassionate and thereby harmless.

Also be aware about your own emotional state when reading someone else. If you’re depressed or lost a loved one and grieving, this puts in a vulnerable state. One myth of her profiling skills has debunked is the “myth of he straggly haired stranger”. Society tends to think it is the unkempt, dirty, unemployed, uneducated and creepy are the ones that stick out like sore thumbs and are guilty. Meanwhile it is the ones who blend in and look like “regular guys” who are the ones who can be extremely dangerous.  Another myth is the ones who “snap” all of a sudden and act violently. O’ Toole explains these have been there all along, the person may have had ways to suppress or minimize the presence of these behaviors.

O’ Toole uses an example of a couple where the male is physically abusive, obsessive and jealous. The behaviors has become increasingly volatile so the female decides to end the relationship. The male comes from a well off family background and has many friends through sports he plays and social gatherings as well. O’ Toole urges parents and those in this situation not to underestimate the situation and to this kid of behavior did not come out of nowhere and this person may have a history of violent and even criminal behavior.

Some red flags to look for when you are observing behavior is when someone becomes easily angered or talks about violence.  “violence is the answer to everything no matter what they’re talking about.” If a person has road rage, then they have anger outside of the car as well. If a person is physically aggressive or abusive to others. If they have a tendency to act like a bully, this can also transcend over into other aspects of life. Another detail is if they blame others, the example used is if you’re on a date and the person says their ex was the reason they broke up solely.

The last piece O’ Toole mentions is if someone has a lack of empathy or compassion that they can be dangerous as this is an important indicator of their character. If someone has the tendency to take over the conversation and refocus it back onto them no matter the previous content of the conversation. Psychopaths make up 1% of the general population and 10% of the prisoners in jail usually lack empathy. Some may pretend to use empathy and have feelings for their victims, but O’Toole says, “Asking a psychopath what remorse or guilt feels like is like asking a man what it feels like to be pregnant. It is an experience they have never had.” If you keep asking a psychopath about their feelings (such as “How do you feel about those victims?”), they’ll become irritated, and their façade will start to crack, O’Toole said. For psychopaths, “emotions are a pain in their rear end.” They see them as problems, not something worth having.

Jim Clemente a retired FBI profiler helped police in an investigation looking for a suspect who killed three shop owners in the Brooklyn area. He says sketching a profile of such a killer combines art, science and psychology will be used in every aspect of such a case like this. “An offender picks a particular victim at a particular place and strikes at a particular time and location,” said Clemente, who still works as a professional profiler. “It tells us a lot about him. That’s what we call leakage.” Profilers look for “behavioral cues” such as, who their victims are and where they decided to murder and the manner in which they did. “What profilers can give you is an idea of what they’re like in the rest of their life,” Clemente said. “We look at the behavior exhibited at the crime scene.”

Profilers try to deduct a killer’s confidence level and if the killer is familiar with murder investigations. “He could be criminally experienced, or trainedor watched a lot of crime TV shows,” Clemente said. “Maybe it’s something this person has been thinking about for a long time and put a lot of effort in this.” Profilers sometimes use an algorithm to find out where a criminal may live in relation to the crime.“We look at the hunting zone, where he’s actually committing these crimes,” Clemente said, adding that killers usually don’t venture too far away from their home.“(The suspect) has to get back to safety,” he said.

Please note that this does not certify you as a profiler and you still have to go through years of training and practice to obtain and refine the skills necessary to profile a killer. I like this sort of topic because in my mind I can think I am a profiler, but I have to remind myself just like I made a note for you that it takes alot more than just noticing your neighbor is aggressive to positively ID them as a killer.