The countdown for the release of Fortified Dreams has officially begun. I get really nervous during this time, which is part of the reason I begin sharing my research in blog posts. I do a ton of it and I’m always surprised by what I find.
Psychopathic and sociopathic personalities have been on the rise in the US for the last 25 years or so. Both high and low functioning diagnosed psychopaths and sociopaths have nearly doubled since 1980. However, it wasn’t until the 2000s that we saw the increase become significant. There are lots of theories as to why this has happened, but no concrete proof of causation – however, the Swedes did research that says hugging your children more does help.
With the increase in psychopaths and sociopaths, you would think there would be a significant increase in serial killers, we should be living in a Cain-like nightmare. We aren’t and there is a very definitive reason why we aren’t. It has everything to do with the rise of the “Me” phenomenon.
The internet/cell phone/selfie generation lives online. They take videos and photos that go on social media. They are more likely to brag about anything they have done, but most surprisingly, they are more likely to include friends into even questionable behaviors.
Because of this, several budding serial killers have actually been caught before their first kill and institutionalized or after their first kill, stopping them from technically being serial killers. But don’t take my word for it, here’s some examples:
2010 – Three teen boys in New Jersey lay out an elaborate night of terror that they intended to bring down on a slumber party being held by one of the boys’ younger sisters. The plans were found by their parents and thanks to some very alert parents, they decided to investigate the plans. They found the boys even had a kill order for the younger girls and which ones they intended to rape and which ones they intended to kill. Two of the young men were sent for psychiatric help. The third was not, but a few months later, when a young girl was raped and murdered, the parents thought the similarities were uncanny and tipped local police. They did a DNA test and it came back positive to the third juvenile who was charged with first degree murder, despite being a minor (he was 16).
2006 – The tragic murder of a 16 year old by horror movie buffs is tragic and telling. She was house sitting for family one weekend and when the family returned, they found her stabbed to death. She was not sexually assaulted, which was surprising to investigators. However, it didn’t take long to narrow down the suspect list to just two teenagers that Cassie went to school with. When they brought one in for questioning, he broke down and confessed to the murder. Originally, he blamed everything on the second teen involved. However, when he was showing the police where they hid the evidence of their crimes, they recovered a video tape. On it, the boys confessed to having attempted to do this crime multiple times and had always been thwarted when the girl turned out not to be alone. They referred to serial killers like Ted Bundy and the Hillside Strangler as amateurs. Needless to say, they were both convicted of first degree murder as well.
2014 – Four teen girls snuck out of the house to go to a party. However, the party was just a ruse. In fact, three of the girls turned on the fourth and beat her death. The reason: they didn’t like that she was more popular than they were. In their later confessions, they admitted to kicking and punching her until she stopped breathing and then digging a shallow grave and rolling her body in it. Of course, they had to strip her naked first, one last, final insult. They were caught when one of them bragged that the victim “would never be found, they were too smart for the police to catch them” on social media.
2011 – A twenty year old man murdered a prostitute. He actually got away with it for several months, the police honestly had no clues or evidence. Then he bragged on social media that he felt like he should “do society a favor and kill another whore.” That raised some red flags amongst his friends and he was interviewed by police. At first, the police were skeptical that this clean cut young man could do such a thing. When computer forensics went through his computer though, they found photos of the dead woman that only the killer could have taken.
These are just a few examples of fledgling serial killers being caught. I could go on and on for days about it with far more examples. The truth is that the days of the anonymous serial killer has lessened. The new fledgling serial killer is more likely to kill someone they know (this has always been true to a degree), have a partner or multiple partners in the crime (you know the saying: two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead), and is more likely to post about it on the internet (bragging is a good way to get caught). There is a distinct disparity between the serial killers born in my generation and before and the serial killers of the generation after mine. And it is leading to us catching serial killers before they become actual serial killers… so some good has come from the online, narcissistic, “me” generation.