Most violent crimes and homicides are committed by those that aren’t mentally ill, and those that aren’t mentally ill tend to be more danger to themselves than others. However, there are several serial killers that have been declared mentally ill, and their illness interestingly correlates and explains their crimes.
David Berkowitz was a U.S. serial killer who murdered 6 people between 1976 and 1977. Once he was caught, he told the police that his neighbor’s dog had ordered him to do so. He was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
Richard Chase was another U.S. serial killer diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He also murdered 6 people. Chases’ gruesome signature was drinking his victims’ blood, which gave him his infamous title ‘The vampire of Sacramento.’ Despite his condition, Chase was unable to use an insanity plea at his trial. David Gonzalez, a U.K. serial killer, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia prior to being caught. He was failed by health care and not properly treated. He then went on and murdered 4 people in London in 2004.
Needless to say, there are no excuses for killing, however, sometimes I do believe there are valid explanations. When a paranoid schizophrenic experiences chronic delusions, they manifest themselves in their brain; it is extremely difficult to prove there is no truth to the delusion even when faced with evidence. It is difficult for them to understand or see otherwise as their delusions and ideals are so deeply embedded in their mind. In cases like the David Berkowitz one, where he believed the dog was possessed by the devil and ordering him to kill women, it would have been extremely difficult for him to understand that it was but a delusion.
More than 21 million people suffer from schizophrenia and in severe cases when it is not treated by a professional, it can be dangerous. Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder which includes symptoms such as hallucinations, false beliefs, delusions, and internal voices. There are 4 different types of schizophrenia; paranoid, catatonic, disorganized and residual. David Gonzalez suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was inadequately treated by professionals. I believe that, if treated properly, 4 people’s lives could have been saved.
I do not believe there are any excuses for killing, but I do believe the human brain is extremely dangerous and when manipulated by abuse and illness for years without any medical attention, it can lead you to do the unthinkable. Most serial killers are completely devious and loved every minute of their killers, however several inflict the same pain on their victims that was once inflicted up on them.
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