Why Does the US Have the Most Serial Killers?

Serial Killer Sources!


First source/database: IMDb, or the Internet Movie Database. This source has provided me with much of my information regarding serial killers in the media. The myriad of American-made movies, television series, or documentaries revolving around serial killers is evidenced prominently on many of IMDb's lists of "Best Of" crime movies; the only serial killer films on the lists are American-made. I was able to attain all of my media graphics and video footage from the site, adding a more visual layer to the presentation rather than simply listing films or shows.

IMDb, if nothing else, heavily demonstrates the obsession that Americans have with serial killers, especially in contrast to the UK, which has a thriving media yet barely any portrayal of serial killers in film or shows. It shows that the nearly ubiquitous presence of serial killers in the media may have a correlation with the number of serial killers in our country, as no other nation comes close to us in either regard.


Second source: Statistics compiled by researchers at Radford University and Florida Gulf Coast University about the background, characteristics, and motives of serial killers. Perhaps my most striking statistic (regarding the amounts of serial killers in various countries) comes from this source. These statistics also disprove many widely held beliefs that the public has about killers; though fictional programs often depict serial killers as genius stranglers, the true 'type' of serial killer (taking note of all exceptions, of course) is commonly a shooter with below-average intelligence.

Hard facts like these (as the percentages prove) help balance out other aspects of my presentation that are more speculative, such as the media's role in serial killers, as there is no hard data in that regard. This source allows me to provide concrete evidence regarding the reality of serial killers around the world, helping separate fact from the fiction about serial killers that so permeates our culture.


Third source/government piece: The national archives and policy information for the UK's police force. This source only provides one piece of information, but a striking one nonetheless: that police in the UK are expected not to be armed on the job, as it compromises the character of the police force as a whole. When contrasted with the prevalence of gun-toting police in the US, not to mention the controversies that ensue due to police negligence (Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, etc.), this policy stands out as a potentially huge factor in the gun culture in various cities.

Again, this fact is not directly related to the amount of serial killers in various countries, but it is indicative of how prevalent guns are in societies around the world - the very notion of policemen, who are employed to enforce the peace, do not need to carry guns, speaks volumes to the common dangers in UK versus other countries (most notably the US).


Fourth source: PBS News Hour article on gun policy worldwide. This source provides a great in-depth comparison of gun policies around the world. Even though I'm primarily looking at the USA and UK, it's mind-boggling to read about the dearth of gun-related incidents in countries like Japan, Canada, and Australia in comparison to those in the USA. The article also describes the gun culture in many countries, quick to highlight the gun-crazy American nature (as well as providing stats that support this assertion) in contrast to the lukewarm (at best) gun culture nearly everywhere else.

This source also serves as a direct comparison against my chart about the number of serial killers in each country; it seems as if the gun culture in each country mentioned in this article directly relates to the amount of serial killers it has produced. That's not to say it's an exact science; more so that the US's globally incomparable gun policies may play a large role in its production of serial killers.


Fifth source: Popular Science news article on gun legislation. This source provides real-world effects of national massacres involving guns, and pretty damning statistics at that. It tracks the obligatory public swell of gun control advocacy following any serious shooting in multiple countries, yet easily distinguishes between nations that take serious action versus those that don't. Its post-Columbine gun legislation statistics are baffling, and definitely subvert any assumption one would have about the topic. The source highlights gun measures taken in other countries that have significant impacts.

This source allows me to drive home the point that a major factor in serial killer numbers could be the gun policy of the killer's country. The US is notorious for not being gun-shy, but especially given our history of tragic massacres (Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, etc.), it's shocking to read about the effectiveness of other countries' actions in comparison to our dearth of action.

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