Does 'bullying' create serial killers?

An accused serial killer has been arrested in South Carolina, and his mother says that bullying is to blame for the series of horrifying crimes he is accused of committing. This brings to light a very important question: Are serial killers the products of their environments, or are they born with the dynamics that push them to committing unthinkable crimes? It's the old nurture vs. nature argument, but is there some actual evidence to stand behind the idea?

Todd Kohlepp was arrested after a woman was discovered chained up on his property. While it's fortunate that the young woman survived, multiple people are reportedly dead because of the man who stands accused of kidnapping her. One of those reported victims is the boyfriend of the young woman who was lucky to be freed from captivity. However, Kohlepp has reportedly confessed to the murders of several other people -- including a group of three men, and a woman, who supposedly "laughed at him," when he once tried to ride a motorcycle.

Kohlepp's mother says that her son "isn't a monster," even though he has confessed to the serial killings of more than five people. She says that the murders of four bike shop employees, in 2003, came to be after the alleged victims "bullied," her son. Todd Kohlepp reportedly attempted to ride a motorcycle at the shop -- as he had never done before -- which ended in him falling over. This reportedly resulted in the four employees bursting into laughter at the South Carolina man.

"Todd was bullied and embarrassed and I think he just held it in long enough," said Regina Kohlepp.

While it appears that Regina Kohlepp is trying to make excuses for her son's alleged actions, there does appear to be some kind of evidence to back up what she is saying. Multiple serial killers throughout history have been reported victims of bullying, prior to their crimes. For example, teenage serial killer Jesse Pomeroy was the reported victim of relentless bullying at the hands of his peers. His mother notoriously blamed this bullying on his murderous actions. However, there are also plenty of reports which indicate that Pomeroy, was himself, the bully.

Notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy, was also the target of childhood bullying. As a child, Bundy was incredibly shy and quiet, which made him the target of his peers. Later in life, Ted Bundy sort of "blossomed," into the quintessential good-looking law-student. However, he had also blossomed into a vile serial killer, who targeted numerous innocent women.

Jeffrey Dahmer was also the victim of bullying as a child. Much like Ted Bundy, Dahmer was a shy and quiet child. He was also reportedly "awkward," which caused his peers to single him out, and target him with cruel treatment. A homosexual (although not "out"), Jeffrey Dahmer was frequently targeted with homophobic slurs as part of the bullying against him. Dahmer moved on to kill several young men, whom he committed a multitude of atrocious acts upon, post-mortem.

Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was also a victim of bullying as a child. When he was a kid, Gacy suffered from a heart condition that rendered him weak and sickly. Not only was he the target of  bullying by his childhood peers, he was also treated callously by his own father -- who hated the fact that he had a "weak" son. Struggling with homosexual tendencies, Gacy targeted young men and boys during his serial killer career.

Another famous serial killer, Edmund Kemper, was also bullied as a child. Kemper is known to be a rather large man, standing at approximately 6'9". He was 6'4" at a young age, causing him to tower over his peers. This made him an easy target of ridicule.

There have been studies trying to find a correlation between violence and bullying. A study presented by Michael J. Turner has reportedly found that 14% of bullied children end up in prison as adults. The study cites that "more than 20% of those who endured chronic bullying were later convicted of violent crimes."

Do you think bullying may be a factor behind what makes a serial killer? Or is this just a convenient excuse given by those who are trying to sympathize with people who commit horrendous crimes?


Popular Posts