Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Jeffrey Dahmer

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Jeffrey Dahmer; “The Milwalkee Monster”

Konerak was only fourteen and he was running for his life. This was his only chance to escape from the horrible smelling apartment where the creepy blond guy had slipped him some kind of powerful drug. It seemed that luck was with him that he started to come around just as the blond man had left the apartment. It took all the strength he had to get up and get to the door. He was so disoriented and panicked that it made no difference that he was naked. This was his only chance to survive. He was working strictly on instinct. Just get out of there and run away. It was just before A.M. and Sandra Smith called 11 to report the boy running around butt naked.. She didnt know who he was, but she knew he was injured and terrified. The paramedics got there first and put a blanket around the naked, dazed boy. Two police officers arrived soon after and tried to understand what was going on with this young man of Asian descent. Sandra Smith, eighteen years old and her cousin Nicole Childress, also eighteen, were standing near the boy when the Milwaukee city police arrived. The tall blond man was also standing near the boy. The conversation became heated between the girls, the blond man and the police. The tall blond man told the police that Konerak was his nineteen-year-old lover who had been drinking too much. Konerak who was drugged and incoherent wasnt able to contradict the smooth-talking blond man. Dahmer gave the police a picture ID. The two young women tried to intervene. They had seen the terrified boy trying to resist the blond man before the police arrived. They were angry and upset. The police were ignoring them and listening to the white man instead. Just to be on the safe side, the two officers went with the boy and the tall

blond man to his apartment. The apartment smelled bad, but it was very neat. Koneraks clothing was folded and placed on the sofa. There were a couple of photographs of Konerak in black bikini briefs. Konerak sat quietly on the sofa unable to talk intelligently. Its not even clear that he understood the calm explanation the blond man was giving the police. The blond man was apologizing that his lover had caused a disturbance and promised it wouldnt happen again. The police believed the blond man. They had no reason not to --he was well-spoken, intelligent and very calm. The Asian was apparently drunk and incoherent. The officers, not wanting to get in the middle of a domestic argument between homosexual lovers, left the apartment with Konerak still sitting quietly on the sofa. In that neighborhood, the officers felt that there were more pressing things for them to do. What they missed in the apartment bedroom was the body of Tony Hughes, whose decomposing corpse had lain for three days on the bed. What they missed was the blond man immediately strangling the Asian boy and having sex with his corpse (Bardsley, 15).

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Above the horrible tale of one of the homicide cases of Jeffrey Dahmer. Who was he, to what criminal theory does Dahmer belong to and why, and finally what did we learn as a society, if anything, from this predator?

Jeffrey Dahmer had a decent upbringing in Milwaukee with his parents, his father being a student at university studying chemistry while his mother was a teletype machine operator. When Jeffrey was 4 years old he was subjected to a double hernia operation which was to have a catastrophic effect on developing personality. During his childhood he would act “differently” to other of his age group because he discovered the world of “DEATH”. He scoured roadsides


for freshly killed animals to take home to dissect. Throughout the years he became very good with a scalpel dissecting his roadkills with immense precision (Lester, 15). During his teenage years he became a loner, experimenting in alcohol and drugs which effectively pushed away what few friends he had. Problems between his parents, which ended in them divorcing in 178, caused him to hide deeper inside his “shell”, very rarely speaking to anyone. As times got unbearable he found himself out of food, drink and money which consequently made him sell what few possessions he had in order to buy more alcohol, when that money ran out he ended up selling his blood to thirst his need for booze. Dahmer then enlisted himself into the army to be posted for training in Alabama. His career in the army was hounded by punishments from his superiors because of his inability to stay sober; he was therefore discharged and returned home to live with his grandmother in Bath Township (Hickey, 17).

One fatal day in June, Dahmer went to see his father in order to borrow his car so he could go to the movies, but instead of going to the movies, he just drove around the countryside. He then spotted a young hitchhiker bare chested and offered him a lift into town. The hitchhikers name was 1 year old Steven Hicks. Dahmer took him to his grandmother’s house for refreshments, it was here that his wrath began. It would last for yrs and 17 victims later (Crime library web page, 00).

During his killing spree Dahmer became more and more fascinated with death he obtained a sexual fetish for death. Each victim was stripped, placed in various positions, sleep with the bodies, take photographs of each stage of dismemberment he would also masturbate into the carcasses, he became a necrophilliac and a cannibal. All this so that he wouldn’t feel alone anymore. Dahmer was sentenced for a total of 1070 years in jail for killing, committing


necrophillia and cannibalism of 17 people. Jeffrey Dahmer was beaten and killed Nov. 8, 14, by a fellow inmate at the Colombia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wis. The attack occurred while Dahmer and another inmate were cleansing a bathroom in the prison gymnasium (Douglas, Olshaker, 15). Why did Jeffrey Dahmer kill?

Criminologists have long been trying to get the answer to this question. I believe that social process theory gives the most logical explanation concerning Jeffrey Dahmer. This theory suggests that the reason why people submit to crime is because of their personal socialization. The relationship that the individual has with societal institutions, their families, peers and the processes that make up their society influences their actions. Hickey states Social process theories contend that criminal behavior is a function of a socialization process. This includes a host of sociopsychological interactions by the offender with institutions and social organizations. Offenders may turn to crime as a result of peer group pressure, family problems, poor school performance, legal entanglements, and other situations that gradually steer them to criminal behavior. The fact is that most serial killers have average or above average intelligence. On the other hand, serial killers always seem to be the subject of dysfunctional homes, child abuse, negative labeling in an educational and professional level, and peer discrimination. When speaking about an analysis conducted by the FBI composed of twenty-five serial killers and eleven single or double offenders Lester (15) asserts

As they grew up, the role of fantasy, primarily of the violent and sadistic kind, became important to these men and many had shown cruelty to animals and neighborhood children. Twenty of the men had rape fantasies before they reached the age of eighteen. Despite their intelligence, the men performed poorly in academic, occupational, military


and sexual settings… The majority saw themselves as failures and had low self-esteem. They saw themselves as loners and were insensitive to the needs of others. They saw the world as unjust, desired to be strong, powerful and in control and favored autoerotic sexual activities, especially masturbation. How an individual interacts with the society in which they inhabit is extremely important to how the person chooses to live their life. (p. 50)

In my view, Jeffrey Dahmer is an ideal example of how social process theory operates. One branch of social process theory is the social control (or social bond) theory. It states that all people have the potential to violate the law and that modern society presents many opportunities for illegal activities. Social control theory maintains that everyone has the potential to become a criminal but that most people are controlled by their bonds to society (Siegel, 001). Hirschi, who developed the social bond theory, argues that the social bond a person maintains with society is divided into four elements attachment (refers to a person’s sensitivity to and intersts in others), commitment (if people build a srtong commitment to conventional society, they will be less likely to engage in acts that will jeopardize their hard won position), involvemnet (heavy involvement in conventional activities leaves little time for illegal behavior), and belief (if beliefs are absent or weakened, individuals are more likely to participate in antisocial or illegal acts) (Siegel, 001). Jeffrey Dahmer was neglected by his parents. He was a loner throughout his childhood and into adulthood. He was not able to do well in school. He exhibited the incapability to establish safe and humane means to meet his ends. He wanted stable relationships with his partners but lacked the skills needed to maintain


them. Jeffrey enjoyed enacting sadistic behavior on animals, a condition that developed into his sexual sadism. He killed his first victim when he was eighteen years old. He picked up a young

hitchhiker, killed him instantly and proceeded to dismember his body and scatter the remains in his back yard. After this, he tried to lead a normal life but “continued to fail in his attempts to succeed in his education or employment. (Lester, 15)” What did we learn, if anything, from this serial killer?

After reviewing all the information and materials concerning Jeffrey Dahmer, one can only wonder what society could have done to prevent a person from committing these horrible crimes. Do we need to revert to traditional methods of upbringing, do we need to establish more sytems to recognize children and people in “emotional need?” I feel that Jeffrey had lost complete control and touch with reality. He had no parental attachment, no close friends, performed poorly in school and in the army, and on top of that he was a heavy drinker. All indicators supporting the social control (bond) theory. Perhaps early psychological intervention, as a child, could have prevented the development of this “antisocial” human being. Perhaps not. I don’t think we will ever completely understand why some people commit these horrific acts, and why others do not. We, as a society, can only focus on trying to prevent other people from committing such crimes. As for Jeffrey Dahmer, I don’t believe that rehabilitation was an option, he was too far gone. Let us just say that the world is a better place without the “Milwalkee Monster.”



Bardsley, Marilyn (15). Butt Naked, Crime Library web page (00, February 1). [On line]

Available http//crimelibrary.com/serial-killer/notoriuos/dahmer/naked1.html

Douglas, James. and Olshaker, M. (15) Mindhunter Inside the FBIs Elite

Serial Crime Unit. New York Schribner.

Hickey, Erick W. (17) Serial Murderers and their Victims (nd ed.) Belmont

Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Lester, David, Ph.D.(15) Serial Killers The Insatiable Passion

Philadelphia The Charles Press.

Siegel, Larry J., Ph.D.(001) Criminology Theories, Patterns, and Typologies

(7th ed.) Belmont Wadsworth Publishing Company.

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