What It's Really Like Studying The Insane
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Politics and Activism

What It's Really Like Studying The Insane

It's so important to understand the minds of those who can't understand humanity.

What It's Really Like Studying The Insane

It all started when I was in fifth grade. My teachers started teaching us about this time period called the Holocaust. As I learned about the systematic elimination of six million Jews, five million others, and probably thousands more that we haven’t unearthed, I kept hearing one name:

“Adolf Hitler.”

I was immediately compelled to study this man. What would make someone want to systematically murder 11 million people? Why would you want to kill someone’s mother, father, daughter, son, or any family member for that matter?

I started doing Google searches for Adolf Hitler and read about his life. In the sidebars, I started seeing suggestions for people like Joseph Goebbels, Rudolf Hoss, Hermann Göring, and Adolf Eichmann. Once I finished studying major members of the Nazi party, more clicking around brought me to people like Ted Bundy, Ted Kaczynski, Ed Gein, Edmund Kemper, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Aileen Wuornos. The list went on. Each of these men and women had one thing in common: the urge to commit the abnormal and sick against humanity’s most feeble and defenseless.

My eyes opened into a world of psychology called abnormal psychology; the study of the brain’s abnormalities and how it can influence people to act certain ways. Abnormal psychology can be the study of mental illness. It can also be the study of murder, rape, torture, and pain.

I love the studying of serial killers. It’s not the studying of the actual killer that thrills me, but their mind. The brain is such a complex organ. So many different neurotic compulsions reside within a blob of mass that is only about the size of a fist. So many people are so good. How do these people go so bad? Why are these people so hell-bent on hurting others?

I truly believe in studying these horrible people that we can find the triggers that set them off. For example, we now know that animal abuse is a red flag for possible abuse of other people in the future. We know that trauma – like sexual assault, abuse, the death of a family member, or severe bullying in some cases – can trigger a sadistic need for these people. This has all been found out by those who bothered to spend the time talking to serial killers and studying their brains.

Using this type of psychology has also helped to catch serial killers in action. Convicted serial killer Ted Bundy actually helped police catch Gary Ridgway, aka “The Green River Killer.” Through Bundy’s knowledge of how the mind of a serial killer works, police were able to track down Ridgway and convict him on the murders of 48 people. The idea that this type of thinking actually contributed to something good – and that someone so evil actually helped the law instead of stonewalling it – fascinates me.

Is it a form of self-satisfaction studying these people? I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. No matter how messed up I feel like my life is, I know that I haven’t murdered or hurt anyone. In reality, my life isn’t that hopeless. There isn’t anything I can’t fix. Abnormal psychology proves that to me in a roundabout way.

I think it’s so important to not only understand the mind of a normal person but to understand the mind of an abnormal one. We know what will result in daily actions of a normal person. The abnormal ones, however, have legitimate brain dysfunction that could lead to anything happening. To not study their minds, as harrowing as it might seem, is to stay in the dark about what could happen next.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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