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  1. #1
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    Ausgirl's serial killer theory: The chicken or the egg?

    This doesn't apply to ALL serial killers, I ought to state up-front. But it does apply to enough of them whose lives are eerily parallel that I think it's worth mentioning. This initial post won't contain a lot of links to specific info, those will come later when I collate the data more closely.

    For now, here's the theory in brief:

    Certain serial killers who notably started offending violently at a very early age all have what they describe as (or infer is, or are said to have had) a "domineering mother". And where the father is present, he's usually 'aloof' as well 'strict' and/or a 'perfectionist'.. It's almost a cliche, isn't it? Mommy dearest, with or without her distant/absent/punitive/weak husband, abuses the son who grows up warped and takes it out on innocent victims. It's easy to take this popular view of how serial killers become what they are as fact -- the three killers I'll be discussing and comparing in this thread all shared a similar kind of upbringing, with parents who were outwardly respectable folks, if strict on their sons. It's really fashionable to dissect the parents, looking for a cause for their children to have grown up into such monsters....

    .. which is exactly what I did. I studied the first two killers, Ed Kemper and Derek Percy, very closely and found a great many parallels in both their behaviours and early lives -- including descriptions of their parents and some analogous childhoods experiences. Among these were:

    -- Terrorising other children.
    -- Disturbing and violent forms of "play".
    -- Violent felony crimes at at an early age.
    -- Siblings which did not share this predilection for violence.

    But what got me thinking was this:

    -- Both had "strict" and "emotionally distant" parents, notably a "domineering" mother who isolated them from other children, also described as "overbearing". This is not only from the killers' own mouths, but is documented in the observations of witnesses.

    I started wondering, given all the other information above -- did 'Mommy Dearest' really cause her son to become a killer? Or were the parents of these men, as parents of sociopathic and violent children -- possibly children who were simply wired that way -- forced into a "domineering" role early in their child's life, as an attempt to control behaviour they found disturbing and probably humiliating in their communities?

    There's much which suggests this might be so.

    From early childhood, Ed Kemper used to mutilate his sister's dolls, as he would later mutilate his victims. In his early teens, very large for his age, Kemper was locked in the basement at night by his mother, who feared he might rape or otherwise harm his siblings.

    Derek Percy also was an extremely disturbed, sadistic child whose mother and father kept him well away from other children outside school hours.

    Both men spoke of these events in a way designed to elicit understanding of their natures. Both men, however, are masters of manipulation -- consummate lairs who charmed victims, parole boards, psychiatrists and law enforcement officers alike into thinking they are more harmless than they are. So why should we believe them when they hint that poor treatment and abuse at the hands of their parents contributed to their murderous behaviour? It is in their interests, after all, to viewed with a sympathetic eye, however small it might be.

    Was there any abuse at all going on in those homes? I can't find much evidence, aside from many mentions of the "strictness" of the parents, to suggest so. None of the siblings have claimed coming from an abusive environment, for example.

    Therefore, I think it might be very possible that these "domineering" mothers and "aloof" fathers so often showing up in the lives of serial killers might be a case of the egg coming before the chicken. Would these parents have been quite so aloof or domineering, if they didn't have to deal with a child who was clearly (perhaps inexplicably) doing things which disgusted, shamed and frightened them? Are these behaviours less causative than they are highly ineffective attempts to cope?

    Then I looked into the background of yet another sexually motivated killer who mutilated his victims, Peter Dupas. The parallels with Kemper and Percy are all there, the early onset violence, the teenaged explosion of felony assaults -- and lo and behold, the "domineering" mother, with her "perfectionist" husband.

    Dupas, like Kemper and Percy, is described as a "model prisoner". All three behaved perfectly well behind bars, but on release soon went out to kill again.... and again. All three were released from prison multiple times, after committing heinous, violent crimes. Clearly, they were all very good at playing a system ill-equipped to deal with such creatures.

    I am not, I must stress, seeking to absolve the parents of these men from all blame -- clearly, they were even as children a danger to people around them and some sort of help should have been sought. Perhaps their parental approach was oil to an already burning fire, adding powerful psychological fuel their child's violent fantasies.

    The point of this post is that I so often see references to the parents in a way which suggests they are part of the cause of their sons' behaviours. If there's a chance (and I think there is) they weren't to blame at all (in the way it's usually assumed they are), beyond simply floundering badly in attempts to control the monsters they'd produced, then this opens up a whole new way of looking at psychopathic killers and how they develop.

    Anyway, that's my opening post. I have a square ton of material to collate that might be of interest, relevant to this theory. Which I am not claiming is *mine* alone, I must add. I am sure there's many others who've looked at this "pattern" and asked the same questions. Of course, I'd love input from Ws'ers! Especially info on other killers who share the same 'patterns'.
    Last edited by Ausgirl; 11-07-2014 at 05:03 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Tl/dr version:

    There is a certain subset of sexually motivated, predatory serial killers and mutilators, who all tend to be viewed as "Mother made me do it" types.

    I am proposing that it's possible that these men were born with strong sociopathic/psychopathic tendencies, and that the behaviour of the child subsequently affected that of its parents, moreso than the other way around. At least during their formative years.
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  3. #3
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    Just putting this here because it's interesting, and also possibly relevant.

    http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.c...commentPage=19

    The article is thought provoking, but also the more than 3000 comments - wow. There seem to be a LOT of parents living with violent children of various degrees. So many points of view/approaches... and this is in our 'enlightened' times (or so we like to think) not the 1950's and 60's. How would parents have coped back then, with and for a child who showed sadistic tendencies? Not that the child in the article is sadistic in the same way, but the family living in fear might be very analogous.
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  4. #4
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    I've hesitated to add Ted Bundy to this list of killers. While Bundy's said to have had a 'normal' and reasonably affluent childhood, texts on him often quote that he was raised believing his mother was his sister, and that his grandfather was a bully and a bigot.

    I would argue that being exposed to a bigot doesn't make people a sadistic lust killer. Nor does being bullied, nor even does heinous levels of abuse we cannot imagine...which Ted, unlike some serial killers, did not suffer. Plenty of people suffer these things and do not become another Ted Bundy. Lots of people have convoluted families and do not become sadistic killers, rapists or necrophiles.

    I've started to become a bit annoyed by the many tomes on serial killers out there which invariably cite claims to childhood abuse made by serial killers as causative proof. As I've said - for sure, some have suffered so, and this is documented by people other than the killer, and is verifiable as actually 'abusive' behaviour. But in the cases I am talking about, NO PROOF of abuse exists, outside of what the killer has himself claimed. And what IS claimed as being "abuse" is always, always spun in those popular books in a way to suggest that parental behaviour *caused* the killer to kill. That's editorial choice, not proof. It's almost never considered that any behaviour that might be interpretable as actually abusive (locking one's son in the cellar at night, etc) could instead be a *result* of the child's behaviour. Of course, in the extreme cases where parents have resorted to such things, it probably exacerbated their child's issues to no end- but that's not to say it was a *cause* rather than a poor and ineffective reaction from parents with few or no coping skills or knowledge when dealing with a child who likes to mutilate animals, molest other kids or whatever.

    Also, the next book that states single parenting causes serial killers is going on the bonfire before I can turn the next page.

    One book I read recently speculated that, while Jeff Dahmer never claimed to be abused, he *could have been* raped as a child. Bundy, too. Both these killers being affably talky as they were and also having *every* reason to attempt sentence reduction, I cannot see either denying themselves the chance for a bit of sympathy by claiming they were molested or badly abused. But -- nope.

    Dahmer and Bundy are, IMO, very similar to the three killers I've cited. The major difference in the criteria I'm examining being, that neither claimed abuse as the others had. Instead, the idea that these killers *must have* been abused is pure guesswork on the part of those reporting on and seeking to 'explain' the killers.
    Last edited by Ausgirl; 11-08-2014 at 11:54 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Here's some background info on Derek Percy, Australian pedophile and serial killer who died recently in his 60's, having been imprisoned indefinitely from the age of 21. This is by way of of illustrating what I meant in my last post.

    DEREK PERCY- CHILD KILLER/ PAEDOPHILE- In 1969 Percy was was found not guilty by reason of insanity, of raping and murdering, then mutilating a 12 yr old girl..In 1998, Justice Geoff Eames, refused Percys release into the community. He said that Percy was still a serious danger to children and had never sought treatment for his unusual and deadly paedophile condition.

    http://www.mako.org.au/derek_percy.html

    ERNEST PERCY was a NSW railway electrician for nearly 25 years before taking a job with the State Electricity Commission in Victoria, first moving to Chelsea, then relocating his young family to Warrnambool in 1957.

    Ernest Percy's passion was sailing. His eldest son, Derek, just nine when they moved to Warrnambool, shared the hobby.

    In 1961, Percy senior was promoted and the family went to Mount Beauty, near Bright. The Percys took caravan holidays, often travelling interstate to yachting competitions in their V8 Studebaker. Much later, police would track these holidays against their murder map from the 1960s, with intriguing results.

    In 1961, Derek started at Mount Beauty High School. The school uniform included a green and gold striped tie. Other students noticed that Derek's tie was made of coarse fabric and not a perfect match for the school pattern — although it was close enough.

    He became a friend of a local farmer's son who had also just moved to town and was one of few who liked Percy. Others found him intense, abrupt and at times unsettling. But no one thought he was dangerous. Yet.

    When police from Operation Heats approached the friend, he told them: "One thing that stood out about Derek was that he was very intelligent. Most or nearly all of us at school had to work and study very hard but not Derek." He also noted that Percy was shy and never had a girlfriend.

    Banned by his worried parents from playing football, Percy would sometimes borrow a friend's gear for the occasional game, convincing his mate's mother to wash the clothes so he would not be caught.

    If the Percys were over protective, it was understandable. Their third-born, Brett, died from diphtheria when aged only 10 months. They were to have three surviving sons.

    Derek earned his pocket-money working in the tobacco fields with friends — buying a second-hand red bike with racing "ram's horn" handlebars.

    He carried his sharp knife everywhere, but in country Victoria that did not make him unusual. In the 1960s a pocket-knife was more a tool than a weapon, used to solve a problem rather than create one.

    But when Percy used his to help a mate make running repairs to the sole of a shoe during a handball game, he showed a glimpse into his future.

    "I remember Derek getting his pocket-knife out and telling me that he would cut (the sole) off … Derek began to cut the sole off my shoe and all of a sudden the blade went into Derek's left thigh about three quarters of an inch (about two centimetres). The blade went deeply into his thigh and I recoiled back in surprise.

    "I was amazed that Derek just looked fascinated with what had happened. He didn't scream, cry or really show any sort of emotion that you would expect from someone with a knife in their leg.

    "I thought his reaction was extremely odd," the friend said. "He seemed happy about it."

    Kiewa Valley's hydro-electric plant was no Snowy Mountains Scheme but it gave tradesmen the chance to raise families in one of Victoria's prettiest spots.

    There was little violent crime in the town of fewer than 2000 people, no need to lock houses or cars. But in late 1964, a small crime wave began: women's underwear began to disappear from clothes lines — and Derek Percy was rumoured to be the thief. Until then he had been a model student and a school prefect, but in 1965 his grades plummeted.

    Ernie Percy threatened to sack any hydro worker who suggested his son was the phantom "snowdropper"
    , but by late 1964 at least two locals knew that Derek was the culprit and that he was much worse than just a petty thief. He was dangerously disturbed and, they believed, a potential killer.

    On a warm Sunday, two teenagers, Kim White and Bill Hutton, walked to a local swimming hole. There they saw what they thought was a girl in a petticoat. Then they realised it was Percy in a pink negligee.

    "Well, at least it fits," one joked to his mate. But any humour was lost when Percy began to slash wildly at the clothing, then cut and stabbed at the crotch of a pair of knickers.

    Hutton could see Percy's face. "I would describe Derek's eyes as being full of excitement, a glazed look, but I recall there was something very cold and sinister in the look," he told police much later.

    The boys told a teacher the next day and were accused of making up stories. They confronted Percy but he denied everything. Most fellow students thought their story was fabricated. After all, Percy was the obedient student and his accusers loved a little mischief.

    The following year Ernie Percy took a job with the Snowy Mountain Scheme and moved his family to Khancoban in NSW, but to allow Derek to finish school at Mount Beauty the teenager boarded with another family.

    The woman who lived next door remembers how the new boarder would watch her hang out washing. One Saturday she took her daughters, then aged seven and nine, to visit a relative. When they returned they found the girls' wardrobes had been rifled through and their underwear and dresses stolen.

    The mother reported the theft to the police, who asked her if she suspected anyone. She suspected Percy but did not want to say so, she admitted years later.

    A few weeks later a local found some of the dresses in a bundle hidden under some bushes. With it was a girl's doll, with the eyes "blinded" and newspaper clippings of women in bikinis. The women's eyes were pencilled out and the bodies mutilated with razor blades. The slashes would match some of the wounds inflicted on the children murdered around Australia in the 1960s.

    The blinded doll belonged to the girl next door to where Percy was living.

    Percy moved from Mount Beauty to join his family in Khancoban after he failed his exams in 1965, a strange result for a student with an IQ of 122.

    In his entry in the Mount Beauty school magazine he revealed a little of his concealed thoughts. His favourite saying was: "It depends." Perpetual occupation: "Isolating himself." Ambition: "Playboy." Probable fate: "Bachelor." Pet aversion: "Girls."

    When Percy left Mount Beauty the "snowdropping" stopped, only to begin near his new home in Khancoban. There were also reports of a Peeping Tom.

    While at Khancoban a neighbour found that Percy had lured her six-year-old daughter into the family caravan to sexually assault her. The girl's father decided to deal directly with Ernie Percy, who promised it wouldn't happen again. And it didn't. At least not there.

    While both parents said they thought their eldest son was shy but normal, deep down they had growing fears.

    One Mount Beauty local said that while Mrs Percy allowed her middle son freedom, the elder brother was kept on a tighter rein
    . "Derek had to get permission to go anywhere with us outside of school hours and she would question his intentions."

    Ernie Percy would later tell NSW police he had once found Derek dressed in woman's clothing. The parents also found some disturbing sexual writings by their son and immediately burnt them. Later Percy's grandmother found letters filled with "rude" thoughts. Percy denied they were his. Again they were burnt.

    Percy began writing down bizarre and violent sexual fantasies in 1965 — around the time his school grades collapsed. He continued the self-incriminating habit for years.

    Much later police would allege the writings were plans for the crimes he was to commit and directly linked him to the series of unsolved child murders.

    http://www.australianmissingpersonsr...m/Stilwell.htm

    The parts I've bolded above, taken collectively, depict to me a family in deep denial, one which opted for a passive means of protecting other kids from Derek, and Derek from the consequences of his actions, rather than one which is directly abusive. And rather than seeking help - which, while it's a terrible failure for parents with a child that troubled, is a reaction to, not a *cause of*, Derek's aberrant behaviors.

    For a moment, let's examine this article as a prime example of what irritates me, insofar as people seeking to ferret out any possible means of establishing parental behaviour as a cause for the compulsion to kill, and for even innocuous things to be presented and then repeated as proof of 'abuse'.

    -- "Other students noticed that Derek's tie was made of coarse fabric and not a perfect match for the school pattern"

    I have to ask -- SO WHAT? Why would a journalist even bother to include this in article about a serial killer? Is he implying that the Percys' failure to supply their teenaged son with a proper school tie contributed to him being a sadistic pedophile? Really??? The family moved a lot, either due to Ernie's job or because of heat they got from Derek's behaviour, probably a bit of both. The fact is, it's very ordinary for kids at a new school to have makeshift uniforms. If the family is not settling in the area permanently, some kids never do get the full, proper uniform. In a country where uniforms are compulsory in every school, this is nothing unusual at all. Yet the detail of the tie is presented here -- why? I think, to suggest a suspicion of neglect, on behalf of a family who took their kids on yachting holidays.

    -- "If the Percys were over protective, it was understandable. Their third-born, Brett, died from diphtheria when aged only 10 months".

    IMO, this is absolute piffle. If the Percys were overprotective to ALL their sons equally (which they were not), or their last-born son (being the one born after the one who died) well, yes, this could be a valid point. But they didn't, so it isn't. And really, that's not the point.

    The point is, as Derek was prone to highly disturbing, shameful acts which would have been embarrassing and humiliating for a well-off, respectable family with a father who was in industry management, a local boss-man -- isn't it more likely they were, at that stage, less worried about Derek falling over and scraping his knee than they were about him hurting another child or being teased or confronted about his aberrations in front of the whole town (and Ernie's employees)?

    Yet just the fact this detail is a pretty clear attempt to bolster the stereotype of the "domineering mother", and thus draw a direct causal line between Derek's upbringing and the crimes he committed.

    It happens a LOT. In reports on almost every serial killer. Even in the ones where parental abuse IS a clear and documented factor, these weird little non-event facts pop up, over and over, hinting that "mother made me do it", adding to the drama but not really, IMO, adding at all to the case for parental causation.
    Last edited by Ausgirl; 11-08-2014 at 10:24 PM.
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  6. #6
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    From Craig, M., Catani, M., Deeley, Q., Latham, R., Daly, E., Kanaan, R., Picchioni, M., McGuire, P., Fahy, T., & Murphy, D. (2009). Altered connections on the road to psychopathy Molecular Psychiatry, 14 (10), 946-953 DOI: 10.1038/mp.2009.40

    The manipulative con-man. The guy who lies to your face, even when he doesn’t have to. The child who tortures animals. The cold-blooded killer. Psychopaths are characterised by an absence of empathy and poor impulse control, with a total lack of conscience. About 1% of the total population can be defined as psychopaths, according to a detailed psychological profile checklist. They tend to be egocentric, callous, manipulative, deceptive, superficial, irresponsible and parasitic, even predatory. The majority of psychopaths are not violent and many do very well in jobs where their personality traits are advantageous and their social tendencies tolerated. However, some have a predisposition to calculated, “instrumental” violence; violence that is cold-blooded, planned and goal-directed. Psychopaths are vastly over-represented among criminals; it is estimated they make up about 20% of the inmates of most prisons. They commit over half of all violent crimes and are 3-4 times more likely to re-offend. They are almost entirely refractory to rehabilitation. These are not nice people.

    So how did they get that way? Is it an innate biological condition, a result of social experience, or an interaction between these factors? Longitudinal studies have shown that the personality traits associated with psychopathy are highly stable over time. Early warning signs including “callous-unemotional traits” and antisocial behaviour can be identified in childhood and are highly predictive of future psychopathy. Large-scale twin studies have shown that these traits are highly heritable – identical twins, who share 100% of their genes, are much more similar to each other in this trait than fraternal twins, who share only 50% of their genes. In one study, over 80% of the variation in the callous-unemotional trait across the population was due to genetic differences. In contrast, the effect of a shared family environment was almost nil. Psychopathy seems to be a lifelong trait, or combination of traits, which are heavily influenced by genes and hardly at all by social upbringing.
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  7. #7
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    Thank you Ausgirl, fascinating reading and it does seem quite unfair that their childhoods are solely blamed, I think it's incomprehensible for people to believe a child is born bad. I've even believed exactly that for most of my adult life. Is it nature or nurture that produces the psychopath, I'm inclined these days to think that it's both.

    It's interesting to note most psychopaths don't kill, but they still yearn to fulfill a desire to con or hurt others for pleasure, and they amass quite a few victims during their lifetime, elderly people conned out of their life savings, tortured spouses or friends, lying and manipulating for the sake of it. I feel sorry for anyone who becomes involved with such a person, it must be terribly hard if they're family.

    Several documentaries I've watched over the years have mentioned violent psychopaths/serial killers have had a brain injury sometime in their childhood, or at least, pre-murder stage. Two that spring to mind are John Christie and Fred West.
    This excerpt describes the parts of the brain that can cause psychopathy -

    Recently neuroscientists have identified areas of the brain related to psychopathic behaviors. Subtle damage to the amygdala, a brain region that helps us process our emotions, may explain why psychopaths act so cruelly and cannot express emotions properly. Psychopathic behaviors are also associated with injury to the cerebral cortex, which regulates memory and self-awareness, and the frontal lobe, which is responsible for self-control and judgment.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...injury-trauma/


    In one of the docos I watched, doctors had devised a simple system which I thought was quite clever. To differentiate between the thinking/logic of a psychopath compared to 'normal' people, they gave each 'subject' a set of picture cards which can only be laid out in one correct sequence. The first card displays a person with a box matches, there are various cards between this and the last card to create a story, the last picture their actions caused a massive fire. The psychopaths they studied could not figure out the correct sequence, they couldn't understand cause and effect, that the consequences of bad choices will lead to mayhem/disaster.

    It would be great if these studies and examinations of brain functions etc. by scientists/psychiatrists, could bring about a cure or preventative.
    I also wonder what becomes of a psychopath once they enter old age, do they become more docile, is there any change at all? I haven't seen any studies about this so far.

  8. #8
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    Edmund Kemper III: Various tales.

    There's an incredible amount of information on Ed Kemper out there on the web. Any attempt for me to write about him, as a person and as a killer, would likely result in me forgoing being merely a wind-bag and lapse into some sort of thousand-page and mostly pointless book. The information on him is out there in abundance already, and only a click away.

    Suffice to say here, Ed Kemper was a good talker, according to many members of LE who have spoken to him. He was "likeable" and disarmingly forthcoming. Renowned criminal profilers have expressed regret that Ed was a killer - they might have been friends. While still free and killing college students, Ed chummed it up in a local cop bar with the same cops who were desperately hunting the Co-Ed Killer. What's plain is that Ed Kemper, despite his chilling, ferociously callous murders of three close family members and many young women, was capable of playing nice so that even experienced psychiatrists and hard nosed cops could not help but feel sympathetic to him, on various levels. He was also a very convincing liar.

    It is well documented that the details of Kemper's stories tend to change to suit whomever is interviewing him. In that way, he does fit the typical model of the socio/psychopath. And while Kemper has always and very squarely placed the blame for his sadistic and murderous nature on his "dominating" mother, Clarnell, and his "cruel, distant" father, E.E. Kemper, a different picture now and then emerges, in which his parents try time and again to both control their increasingly dangerous son and continue to offer him support and care well into his teens and early adult life, despite that they are supposed to have treated him so abominably. And while there's no question that there was a degree of turmoil in the home, with Clarnell's three marriages and verified bouts of arguing between mother and son, the character of his parents as depicted by Kemper also is at odds with people who knew them.

    Kemper had an IQ bordering on genius. He was well versed in psychiatric assessments, and what to say in order to please and thereby manipulate those who controlled his fate.

    This ought to be kept in mind, when reading the following excerpts by various authors:



    A Killer's Childhood

    Kemper’s background was what one sees over and over again in serial and mass murderers’ childhoods: chaos and abuse. His parents were cruel in the extreme, physically and verbally. A day didn’t go by that one or both of them didn’t verbally flay Kemper for his inadequacies or punish him in some way. One example from his childhood serves as a horrific illustration: As a punishment, his mom made Edmund kill his pet chicken, and then his dad made him eat it. Later Edmund was to say that he cried bitterly about it.

    When he described the killing of his mother in the documentary, he wept. He said he had actually loved her, difficult as that was to imagine. He stated that he did not “come out from under a rock,” nor was he “born to a mule”; he came out of his “mother’s vagina.”

    Kemper said that the last night of her life, his mother, whom he lived with at 609 Ord Street, was doing her usual emasculation job, diminishing Kemper more and more. Her last words to him before she went to sleep were, “I guess you’ll want to stay up all night talking.”

    When she fell asleep, Kemper snuck up, raised a ball-peen hammer high, and brought it down on her skull, breaking it like an eggshell. Then he beat her savagely to make sure she was dead. Kemper cut off her hands and her head with his pocketknife, then cut her larynx out and ground it up in the garbage disposal. Of this act he said, “Now she won’t be able to ***** at me anymore.”

    http://aboutserialkillers.blogspot.c...nd-kemper.html

    As Clarnell had done with her three ex-husbands, she attacked Edmund on many occasions, aiming at his manhood and sense of worth. Although he wanted to socialize, she refused to introduce him to women on campus. "She's holding up these girls who she said were too good for me to get to know," he recalled. "She would say, 'You're just like your father. You don't deserve to get to know them.'" This kind of talk infuriated him, and he went out to cruise for the girls that he couldn't have.

    Clarnell had acquired a university sticker for Kemper's Ford, which made it easy for him to go in and out of the campus without raising suspicion. (It should be noted that coworkers at the university found Clarnell charming and easy to get along with, which differed from Edmund's version. She did give him assistance and allowed him to live with her.)

    While most experts later claim that his killing was really about symbolic rehearsal for killing his mother, and once he'd dispatched her, he no longer needed to kill, Kemper's explanation is quite different. He indicated in an interview that he had sensed the cops closing in after Sergeant Aluffi had paid him a call about his gun and he wanted to spare his mother the embarrassment of learning that he was the "Coed Butcher." However, his treatment of her corpse tells another story.

    Kemper also said that he feared that his mother had found the items he had taken from the women he'd killed. He wondered if he should flee or kill her. "I can't get away from her...She knows all my buttons and I dance like a puppet. "He knew that he would now kill her, but he waited for the opportune moment.

    http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_k...kemper/11.html

    Kemper's crimes began before Mullin and stopped after him. What precipitated it, according to his account in several interviews, was his mother's constant needling and humiliation. When released by the parole board from Atascadero in 1969, the psychiatrists had advised that Kemper not be returned to Clarnell, because it could trigger more violence. But it appeared that no one was keeping watch. Having no means of support and no assistance from the Youth Authority, Kemper did move in with Clarnell and, according to him, she took up berating him again.

    Having left her third husband, she had taken a job at the new university in Santa Cruz as an administrative assistant and moved into a duplex on Ord Drive in Aptos. They had frequent arguments that the neighbors overheard. Whether or not Clarnell was a primary influence in his subsequent actions, there is no doubt that they had an unrelentingly toxic relationship.

    http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_k.../crimes_4.html

    Kemper seemed distant and analytical to Douglas , and wasn't emotionally moved except when he referred to his mother's treatment of him. He believed that because he looked like his father, she hated him and used him as a target for her frustrations. He claimed that his mother made him sleep in a windowless basement because she was afraid he would molest his sister. In this dark place, he said, he allowed his hatred of women to fester and grow. His mother made him feel dangerous and shameful, so he had killed the two family cats. As he grew up, his feelings only intensified, although he continued to live with his mother - the person he most hated. Because he had learned about psychological assessment in such detail, he knew how to describe himself in the proper psychiatric jargon. "He knew all the buzzwords," writes Douglas .

    http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_k...kemper/15.html

    Worsening the situation was Kemper's mother, who constantly berated and humiliated her son and often made him sleep in a locked basement due to a fear that he would molest his sisters. Kemper's mother Clarnell apparently suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder which resulted in her rages and abuse against her son.

    On August 27, 1964, Kemper shot his grandmother while she sat at the kitchen table putting the finishing touches on her latest children's book. When his grandfather came home from grocery shopping, Kemper shot him as well. Then he called his mother, who urged him to call the police. When questioned, he said that he "just wanted to see what it felt like to kill Grandma", and that he killed his grandfather because he knew he would be angry at him for what he had done to his grandmother. Kemper was just 15 at the time.

    Kemper was committed to Atascadero State Hospital where he befriended his psychologist and even became his assistant. He was intelligent enough to gain the trust of the doctor to the extent of being allowed access to prisoners' tests. With the knowledge he gained from his "apprenticeship" he eventually was able to impress his doctor at the hospital enough to let him go.

    He was released into his mother's care in Santa Cruz, California, against the wishes of several doctors at the hospital. Kemper later demonstrated further to the psychologists that he was well—and not only managed to convince the doctors he was reformed, but to have his juvenile records sealed forever as well.

    http://murderpedia.org/male.K/k/kemper-edmund.htm

    Edmund Emil Kemper III's childhood parallels that of many serial killers-his parents, Clarnell and E.E. Kemper, Jr., had a stormy marriage and separated when Edmund was nine. They divorced four years later, and he pined for his absent father through a succession of stepfathers. In their new home of Helena, Montana his domineering mother and sisters belittled him, and as he grew older they banished him to the basement because they considered his sharing a room with his sister unseemly. His ever-increasing size was disconcerting, even when he was a pre-teen, and Clarnell constantly reminded him of this.

    Not that his parents didn't try-indeed, both Edmund's parents were much more engaged in his upbringing and wellbeing than many parents were. But Edmund was difficult. He was unduly afraid of being physically hurt by other boys and unable to sustain friendships with his peers. He was unable to put the pain of his parents' divorce behind him. He tortured and killed animals, and he entertained fantasies, which combined sex and violence from an early age. His mother found him dour and unmanageable, and he was sent to Los Angeles, at his own request, to live with his father and stepmother. Their reaction to him was the same as his mother's-his strangeness was threatening, and they were quickly at their wits' end for something to do with him. With frightened exasperation, Kemper Jr. sent Edmund away. Maude and Edmund Kemper, Sr. (Edmund's paternal grandparents) had a seventeen-acre farm in North Fork, California, and Edmund was brought there during the Christmas holidays of 1963.

    He was not pleased to be left at the farm with his grandparents when the holidays ended, but he began school anyway and seemed to make at least some progress. His teachers at Sierra Joint Union High School in nearby Tollhouse, California found him quiet, rather meek in fact. He caused no trouble, made average grades, and drew no undue attention to himself, apart from his size. At home with his grandparents, the situation was tense, but bearable. They found him disconcerting, as had his mother and father, but he kept busy and out from underfoot with his dog and a .22 rifle given to him by Kemper, Sr. He shot rabbits and gophers, and he shot birds (though he had been warned not to), but evidently contained his aggression to this one outlet. At the end of the school year he returned to his mother and sisters in Helena, ostensibly to spend the summer, but within two weeks he was back at the farm.

    Upon his return, Maude Kemper commented that he had regressed. He seemed more sullen, more ominous, and now that he wasn't in school, he was ever present at the farm. For his part, Edmund found his grandmother a nag and his grandfather a bore. His violent fantasies returned, this time starring Maude. He imagined her in the outhouse as he shot it full of holes. He lined her up unawares in the sites of his rifle and thought about what it would be like to kill her. As the tension at the farm mounted, his grandmother grew more nervous. She took Kemper, Sr.'s .45 caliber pistol with her on at least one outing, for fear it would fall into Edmund's hands. She had warned him not to touch it, but obviously did not trust him to do as he was told. Edmund took this lack of trust as an insult, and brooded on it. All summer long, the tension grew.

    On August 27, 1964, Edmund sat with Maude at the kitchen table, going over proofs from a children's book she was writing. Looking up, she noticed Edmund had an odd stare, and frightening look she had seen many times before. It unnerved her, and she told him to stop it. After a moment, Edmund picked up his gun and whistled for his dog, saying he was headed out to shoot some gophers. Maude warned him not to shoot the birds, and returned her attention to her work. Edmund turned around upon exiting the house and watched her through the screen door. Her back was to him as he raised his rifle and took aim at her head. He fired once, and Maude slumped at the table. Then he fired twice more, hitting her in the back. Inside the house again, he wrapped her head in a towel and dragged the body into the bedroom. Within a few minutes, Kemper Sr. returned home from buying groceries. As he began to unload the truck Edmund took aim and shot him in the back of the head.

    Edmund was dismayed, not only because of what he'd done, but because he knew he'd be caught. His grandparents weren't the sorts to take off on a sudden extended vacation, so even if he hid their bodies, their friends and family would miss them immediately. Confused and fretful, he called his mother in Montana, who advised him to call the sheriff. He was taken in for questioning, and soon he confessed to both murders, saying he'd often thought of killing his grandmother, and that he'd killed his grandfather as an act of mercy, to protect him from seeing his dead wife and possibly having a heart attack.

    http://murderpedia.org/male.K/k/kemper-edmund.htm

    It has almost become folklore among crime writes that Clarnell was a violent, alcoholic shrew and child abuser, who suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. But is any of this true? And if so, to what extent? Are we to take *any* of her son's words for granted, as wholly factual? Who diagnosed Clarnell with BPD, exactly? This 'fact' is very often cited, sometimes in the better articles prefaced with "allegedly" -- probably because no-one can actually find any proof this diagnosis ever occurred. IMO, it very likely didn't.

    And how does this popular account of Clarnell as monster-maker tally with accounts of her as a pleasant-natured woman who held down a respectable job and repeatedly took her son in, even though he terrified her, even after he had cold bloodedly executed two elderly family members?

    What about Kemper's statements regarding his fears that Clarnell had discovered evidence of his murders? Just as his claim to have murdered his grandfather as an act of "mercy" is highly suspect, particularly as Kemper goes on contradict this claim in other interviews, it seems there could be other and even more self-serving reasons that Kemper chose to murder his mother, and her friend (whom he murdered after killing his mother, and claims in one interview to have killed only in order to throw police off his trail as a suspect - so much for Clarnell being his primary cause, and wanting to 'end the killing' with her death..)

    Check out Kemper's pity party in this 1984 interview. Complete with crocodile tears and a claim he "murdered her through love":



    Note also how pleasant and affable he seems, until the point where he starts talking about his murders..
    Last edited by Ausgirl; 11-09-2014 at 09:58 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrimeSuspect View Post
    In one of the docos I watched, doctors had devised a simple system which I thought was quite clever. To differentiate between the thinking/logic of a psychopath compared to 'normal' people, they gave each 'subject' a set of picture cards which can only be laid out in one correct sequence. The first card displays a person with a box matches, there are various cards between this and the last card to create a story, the last picture their actions caused a massive fire. The psychopaths they studied could not figure out the correct sequence, they couldn't understand cause and effect, that the consequences of bad choices will lead to mayhem/disaster.

    It would be great if these studies and examinations of brain functions etc. by scientists/psychiatrists, could bring about a cure or preventative.
    I also wonder what becomes of a psychopath once they enter old age, do they become more docile, is there any change at all? I haven't seen any studies about this so far.
    I'd love the name of or a link to that doco, PS. And yes, the recent studies of the socio/psychopathic brain are very very interesting. I know these are contributing to management programs for parents of 'conduct disorder' kids (as baby sociopaths must be called) - if I come across that info again, I will link it for you.

    I did briefly read something on how socio/psychopaths seem to generally go through an increasingly difficult period from ages 4-5 up through to their teens (where things can go very far south), and then in their 20's either develop the skills to fit in with the world in a generally non-harmful (or at the least non-criminal) way, or.. they really don't. Perhaps this is where the 'nurture' part of the equation becomes truly important. But that's just me, speculating atm.
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    Just for interest's sake, here's a link to the full 1984 documentary "No Apparent Motive", from which the above clip was taken. Featuring my personal LE crushes, John Douglas and Robert Ressler, back in the early days of profiling (and some groovy FBI haircuts). Well worth watching:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE8oqnrV4os
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    Before I move on to the next example, Australian serial killer Peter Dupas, I'll recap some of the reasons I tend to almost wholly disbelieve Kemper's claims that chronic abuse drove him to murder, and that his parents - particularly his mother - were to blame for his childhood sadism and later criminal behaviour:

    -- Claims of abuse helped him him obtain a plea of insanity for the murder of his grandparents, and a vastly shorter time behind bars than he'd done if found guilty of murder. It was always in his best interests to play up the abuse angle.

    -- Kemper tells different versions of various events, tailoring them to suit his audience. Ie, while he clearly had anger issues toward Clarnell, he confessed to police that he'd murdered his mother for fear she'd discovered his stash of murder trophies. He lured his mother's best friend Sara to the house afterward and killed her too, he said, to try to make himself look less suspect But it's my belief he feared Clarnell had said too much to Sara and he flet it necessary to dispose of her too. In other versions, he speaks (in tears!) of snapping after his mother refused to converse with him, and killing the neighbour because she was a nag, too. He also claims to have killed his mother to spare her the shame when police finally caught up with him. He changed stories very similarly, in the murders of his grandparents. He also told various versions of why his mother made him sleep in the cellar, among other discrepancies. Kemper goes out of his way to demonise Clarnella at every turn, but never describes how he contributed to the arguments, nor does he ever reflect on how his behaviour (mutilating the family pets, acting in ways that indicated he may harm his siblings, etc) might have impacted his family and their relationships with each other and with himself. The focus is -always- on Kemper and how he was done wrong by his parents, siblings and everyone else. This paranoid/narcissistic tendency can be clearly witnessed in the language he uses (in the video links above) regarding his perceptions of his victims and near-victims. I also believe that turning himself in was a tactic when he felt he was close to being caught, and that he wholly believed he'd get another easy term in a mental hospital.

    -- Kemper is an accomplished liar who takes obvious pride in his ability to manipulate everyone around him. See the episode where he threatens Robert Ressler, and the enjoyment he clearly gained from terrorising someone in a position of power who'd come to view him as harmless to themselves.

    -- Clarnell was seen as a pleasant person, by people who knew her outside of the family. She maintained good relations with workmates, and sustained friendships with local women. Much is said about her having had three husbands, always in terms which suggest instability and Clarnell being wholly at fault for the marriage failures. Nothing is ever said (except, allegedly, by Clarnell herself) in regard to the possibility that having a 6'9, near-300 pound manipulative, resentful sadist for a live-at-home son might have negatively impacted the success of his mother's relationships.

    -- I strongly suspect Kemper is a sociopath who has learned to mimic emotions and is more than capable of turning them on and off, where and when it suits him. Hence, even his tears of self-pity (which he doesn't actually shed) are a lie. He claims his murders were a loss of control of his desire to murder his mother, displaced rage - yet, his crimes were meticulously planned, his victims meticulously manipulated, and he can control himself perfectly well in the high-stress environment of prison or a mental hospital, which suits his chances of getting out.

    There's more I could say, but ... yeah, thousand page pointless book is looming on the horizon. Time to move on, methinks!
    Last edited by Ausgirl; 11-09-2014 at 10:46 PM.
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    There's quite a few Aussie criminals who have, in their lifetimes, exemplified everything that is wrong with our legal and probationary systems regarding the perpetrators of violent and sexual crimes. One of the very best examples of this systemic failure is serial killer and repeat-offender rapist, Peter Dupas.

    Peter was seen as peculiar and weak by his school friends, though now and then they'd glimpse a side of him that was dark and scary and full of cold rage. Unlike Kemper, Peter had a close and supportive relationship with his mother -- it's Dupas' "authoritarian" father that apparently is at fault for Peter's behaviour. Though after Peter's first known violent attack, age 15, when he knifed a young mother who lived closeby after duping his way into her home, it was his mother who got the blame from psychiatrists for being "over-protective" as stated in the psych report that also saw him released from the mental hospital only (and unbelievably!!) two weeks after the attack. His schoolmates barely noticed he was gone, and the reason for his absence was kept quiet. Life pretty much went on as usual for Peter Dupas. Not so much, for the survivor of his brutal knife attack...

    As with Kemper, Dupas has been pretty well documented as a serial killer, and some links I'll post later will show the extent of his crimes. Here, I'll focus on his early years, his formative relationships and the how they feature (both in fact and opinion) as influences in his later life. Dupas in many ways has more in common with Derek Percy and Jeffrey Dahmer than Kemper, as far as home life goes. His parents were a couple, middle class, and provided well for him -- and like Percy's parents, seem to have been in some level of denial during those early years, as to the true nature of their son despite there being abundant evidence of what he really was.

    Throughout his life a couple of things have remained constant -- firstly, that he's generally viewed as a highly passive, quiet indivual quite at odds with the violent rapes and murders he committed. Secondly, he's obsessed with mothers: he peeped on, stalked and attacked mothers with babies, cut the breasts off other victims and likely took some away for a trophy. His wife, a former psych nurse at the prison, whom he met and wooed in prison, was 16 years his senior and seems to have taken on the role of mother for Dupas from the outset. The woman herself notes this, and though the marriage seemed to fulfil a parallel maternal/sexual drive in herself, she would later divorce him when confronted with the truth.

    But what of his childhood? How'd Peter Dupas end up a killer? Like the other killers I've featured here, his relationship with his parents has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny, and many opinions have been formed as to what level of fault lies with his early home life. As with Kemper, and for the most part with Percy, there's a lot of theories and not many facts - and what verifiable facts are presented are generally spun as "proof" that severely faulty parenting caused Peter's paraphilias, mental/emotional issues and subsequent violence.

    In Dupas we once more find the stereotypical "overbearing mother" albeit she's depicted as overly protective, codding and smothering rather than abusive. His father is "authoritarian" and distant, we're told, and the marriage - despite it holding together for decades - is said to be shaky.

    We once more find a child with difficulty relating, particularly to other kids. Dupas had no trouble communicating with adults (including his teachers) and elderly people, though, and was generally viewed as a quiet but well-meaning boy. It's been said that Peter learned the art of manipulation by pleasing the adults around him. He apparently didn't find much success (or simply didn't try too hard) with his peers.

    For reference, here's a pretty decent doco on him:



    And a very good article:

    http://www.chub.com.au/chub-articles...prime-suspect/
    Last edited by Ausgirl; 11-10-2014 at 07:31 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausgirl View Post
    Just for interest's sake, here's a link to the full 1984 documentary "No Apparent Motive", from which the above clip was taken. Featuring my personal LE crushes, John Douglas and Robert Ressler, back in the early days of profiling (and some groovy FBI haircuts). Well worth watching:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE8oqnrV4os
    Thank you for the link and the information about Kemper, he's one serial killer I haven't read about before. I watched the program and he definitely is a master manipulator. Your comment that he didn't shed a tear talking about his mother, was exactly my thoughts. He's a despicable human being, and I think he's absorbed information to feign remorse and regret about what he's done. It's like he's talking about another person who did these horrible murders, he says that his victims should be alive and with their families, he most likely heard that somewhere else. He's cleverly conning his audience into believing if he could turn back time, he wouldn't have killed. No way that's true, I bet he relives those moments over and enjoys it immensely.
    I agree that his mother was no stricter than probably a lot of mothers of the time. He's a classic case of born bad, imo.


    This is a documentary I found very interesting. They're a bunch of neuroscientists and psychologists in the U.K and Nth America discussing the theory that psychopaths are born, not made. One of the psychologists is Prof Robert Hare, who devised the checklist for diagnosing psychopathy, it's the standard checklist used universally today. There's a bit about O.J Simpson too.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14KakSRMDwU



    This is a short episode of ABC’s Catalyst (The Psychopath) - Prof. Mark Dodds discusses his technique of training very young children with their parents, and is confident they can turn on emotions in the brain, so they don't develop into psychopaths. (he hopes)

    Incredibly, the ABC got hold of an interview made years ago by a local T.V station, with Martin Bryant as a child while he was a patient in hospital, it’s revealing about what was to come sadly.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv0LgmGtc7w

  14. #14
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    Oooh thanks for those links! - esp. the Bryant one!

    As for 'born bad'.. I think we can be born with less empathy, and we can be born with impulse issues, and we can be born with rage issues. I think some people can be born with all of the above, as well as born into what is not necessarily an *abusive* family but one which is lacking whatever that genetically unusual child most needs -- as well as lacking the ability to cope with the child or the consequences of having a child like that.

    I think most ordinary families would fall into that category -- a lot moreso back in the 50's and 60's when "spare the rod" was all the rage and kids still got beaten by their teachers, and therapists understood a whole lot less about sociopaths than they do now. I think we forget how recent it is that we've gone all new-age in our parenting. It's a matter of a single generation, really..

    And I think it's important to look with a critical eye at -- a/ whatever the sociopathic murderer says about his parents -- b/ whatever anyone says about the parents based on what the sociopathic murderer has said about his parents. And important too, to put the parent's behaviour into context with the era they come from, and also think about how any family, let alone one already under some level of stress, would cope with a young child who calmly disembowels all the family pets, steals the woman's next door's undies, or molests neighbour children.

    The Dupas' just seem utterly bewildered. All of the parents of these three killers were in some level of denial, and were obviously deeply mortified on a personal and social level by their sons' actions. Because of course, what your kids do reflects on what kind of family they come from, right? - but what we tend to forget is that applies to normal kids. Not so much sociopaths with impulse or rage control issues.

    I believe it's important to start looking at these parents more realistically, and through different eyes than provided for us for the popular (and very much media-fuelled) opinions about how serial killers come to be the way they are, because perhaps if the whole of society didn't assume the parents are entirely to blame, more parents of kids like this would seek help - and perhaps actually get it.

    There's so much more help out there, these days, for "troubled" kids and their families than there was in the era of these killer's childhoods, too. But that doesn't mean it's being accessed, and it only takes one professional to say "you're to blame for this" to a parent already at the end of their rope, for that parent to want to avoid seeking appropriate help ever again.

    I also think some of that help needs to include intense support for families who have to deal with the results of having a very disturbed child/teenager. Losing all their friends, losing self-esteem as a parent, dealing with community anger and disapproval, the effects on the child's other siblings, etc.

    What would any of us do, with a child like Dupas or Kemper or Percy? What if your next child started doing the things these men did as children? How would you feel about the child who starts resembling some strange, dangerous cuckoo hatched in your nice family nest? What help would you seek and where? How would you protect your other kids?

    The links I provided earlier, regarding parents who currently have sociopath children, reveal a few interesting things.

    1. Help isn't as easy to find as people think for these kids.
    2. Parents, even the very good ones, putting out maximum effort, have to deal with some pretty damning opinions from people who have no real idea what the family is dealing with. Both socially, and in the health professions.
    3. A child, while waiting for help, can hold an entire family hostage to their behavior. Young kids with severe sociopathy and comorbid issues can't be sectioned, they can't even be diagnosed properly. It seems they get sent home with one ineffective treatment after another, where the family is forced to hide the knives and put locks on the bedroom doors to protect their other children and themselves.

    And those are the kids whose paraphilias and killer impulses are visible..
    Last edited by Ausgirl; 11-10-2014 at 05:26 PM.
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    PS, another thing that came to mind, reading your post, is the way Kemper attempted to make use of what back then was probably the inception of a "multiple personality defense" (this, particularly, gets my goat..) which so many killers have attempted (with ever-decreasing levels of success, thank goodness) in the past several decades. He'd begun to start describing himself in terms of having two separate personalities - one, the gentle giant Ed, and the other a murdering monster. From what I've read of the reaction from police to this, I believe the cops and other professionals he was telling this to quickly put the kibosh on that particular line of re-invention by pointing out that 'gentle Ed' was the one describing the murders, and in terms which made it plain he enjoyed them. Just more manipulation, from a master manipulator.

    Also, the way Kemper describes his mother as being all over everything he does.. in this, I tend to believe him a bit more. I think the "overbearing" tag is so common because there was not a lot known back then (and marginally more now) about sociopathic children, little help was available, and these mothers who on *some* level (to a greater or lesser degree) admitted to themselves that their son was dangerous very likely were micro-managing the child's life, thinking this was the best way to keep a cork in their kid's aberrations.

    I mean, if (not-so- ) little Ed is never allowed another pet (after mutilating the first ones), if he's not allowed to go outside after dark (because disturbing things happen), if he's not allowed to read violent magazines (he liked pulp detective mags, the kind with screaming half-clad girls on the covers, one of which he'd ironically by interviewed by - much to his delight - after he was put away for good..), and so on, if she's putting a damper on all the things little psychopathic Ed finds "fun", that *could* be considered "overbearing". Especially by Ed. So the elements Kemper, with no capacity nor desire to understand his mother's behaviour, perceived as "overbearing" may have been Clarnell's best attempts to keep him under some sort of control, and for good reason. What he perceives as her endless "nagging" was likely her keeping check on him for what he'd been up to and where and why - for good reason. Note he says his grandmother was a "nag" as well. He killed her after she began taking the family revolver with her when she out, which he resented, and asking him not to shoot birds. Grandma was wise to the truth of Ed, and this annoyed and provoked him. In light of his future actions, I also wonder whether Grandma had caught Ed doing something so terrible that his first choice was to blow her away, rather than deal with the consequences...

    Dupas' mother -- well, my questions there are, if Peter was so extremely good at hiding his violent, sick nature from *everyone* else, who's to say he didn't do so equally well for hsi mother, on a daily basis? I mean, if he'd been the sort of kid always in trouble at school or showed any overt signs of being "troubled" like that, it may have been easier for her to believe her son was actually on the way to becoming a real monster, and perhaps less disbelieving when it came to him actually attacking people.

    In the vid I linked about Dupas, there's (iirc) a police officer incredulously saying that Mrs Dupas said (after he stabbed the neighbour lady) her son had suffered a "brain storm" and that was that. Also, that his dad yelled at police who came to question Peter, telling them his son had done nothing wrong, and to go away. This information is presented in such a way that we're led to think, "Oh well, there ya go, his mum and dad were sheltering him from consequences, and supporting his bad behaviour, no wonder...". It is not presented in a way that questions WHY Mr. & Mrs. Dupas may have reacted like that. Ie, they are living with an incredibly weirdly-wired, incredibly manipulative child who has every other adult in his life completely fooled, up to that point . Why should we assume his parents are immune from being similarly manipulated? It may in fact have been easier for him - most parents strive to see the good in their child, especially if that "goodness" is brought into question. It's a natural, protective thing for parents to do.

    Derek Percy's dad threatened to fire employees who speculated on whether Derek was the phantom snowdropper in town. He used his position of authority, as the man in charge of hiring and firing in the town's major industry, to cover up Derek's molestation of a much younger child. I *cannot* excuse this, but I can understand it. We don't know how much Mr. Percy knew about his son's abberations, but we do know he was kind of a big man around town, and he was not only protecting Derek, but himself, his job and by extension the well-being of his whole family.

    I think paying more attention to how a child like Derek, or Edmund, or Peter, impacts not only their victims, but also their family is absolutely essential. Not just for understanding psychopaths better, but so we can better support, as a society, the severely distressed family whom we expect to be devoted to helping their troubled child. Sometimes, the family are victims, too.

    Of course, it remains that the parents of all three killers *could have* worked harder on getting help for their sons. IMO it's far more productive to look at why they didn't, rather than how they are *percieved* to have contributed to the psychopathy.

    And looking more critically at how we (as a society, as members of communities, as individuals) percieve the parents - and why we percieve them as we do - wouldn't hurt, either.

    I watched the docos you linked, VERY interesting!
    Last edited by Ausgirl; 11-10-2014 at 09:45 PM.
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