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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Suspects > Kosminski, Aaron

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  #11  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:22 PM
robhouse robhouse is offline
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Hello Lynn,

I am not trying to imply that schizophrenics are likely to be serial killers. I am aware that schizophrenics are a small subgroup among serial killers, and that some (like Gacy, Sutcliffe, Berkowitz) have been mis-labelled as schizophrenic. Also I am aware that there is debate over the label of schizophrenia, in opposition to a focus on a cluster of symptoms. And I am also well aware that schizophrenics are not generally more violent than the general population (although recent studies suggest they might be, but it is by a small margin.) --- In any case, with respect to this last point which is repeatedly stated, I do not see the point. Most people in general are not violent. This is similar to the logical fallacy: "Most men are not violent. Therefore serial killers are not likely to be men." I tend to think that the tendency to be violent predates the onset of schizophrenia... ie. the mental illness is not usually the causal factor in a person becoming violent.

I have tried to look at actual schizophrenic serial killers, (and I do not know of any reputable study on this topic). From a long list I have compiled, it is striking how many of them focus on disembowelment, cannibalism, organ taking etc. In other words, they focus on mutilation of the body after death as the Ripper did. I am not saying that all killers who exhibit such behavior are schizophrenic (Dahmer Chikatilo etc), but instead that a large percentage of killers who are schizophrenic exhibit such behavior. I am simply pointing out that it appears that there are "common" characteristics of MANY (not all) schizophrenic serial killers. Several of these characteristics match Jack the Ripper, which is why the American FBI concluded in their profile that Jack the Ripper was schizophrenic.

You say schizophrenics are more likely to be spree killers, because "Schizophrenic delusions typically don't have the staying power to cause a prolonged killing spree". I agree to an extent, but this is clearly not always true. Nor do I believe that schizophrenic delusions are always the causal factor in motivating a person to commit murder, or serial murder, as I stated above. Sometimes, it clearly is. Other times, I think it is not, although it may be the causal factor in many of the characteristics of the murder. I think the desire to kill is more often motivated by other (external) factors, that lead to great anger and hatred.

Rob H
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  #12  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:43 PM
lynn cates lynn cates is offline
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Hello Rob. Thanks.

"I tend to think that the tendency to be violent predates the onset of schizophrenia... ie. the mental illness is not usually the causal factor in a person becoming violent. "

Completely agree.

"You say schizophrenics are more likely to be spree killers, because "Schizophrenic delusions typically don't have the staying power to cause a prolonged killing spree"."

Not I. Perhaps you are thinking of Errata here?

Cheers.
LC
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  #13  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:44 PM
The Good Michael The Good Michael is offline
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Originally Posted by lynn cates View Post
However, the schizophrenic WILL become violent if there is a perception of being harmed.
As in a voice telling you that there's danger?

Mike
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  #14  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:50 PM
Abby Normal Abby Normal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robhouse View Post
Hello Lynn,

I am not trying to imply that schizophrenics are likely to be serial killers. I am aware that schizophrenics are a small subgroup among serial killers, and that some (like Gacy, Sutcliffe, Berkowitz) have been mis-labelled as schizophrenic. Also I am aware that there is debate over the label of schizophrenia, in opposition to a focus on a cluster of symptoms. And I am also well aware that schizophrenics are not generally more violent than the general population (although recent studies suggest they might be, but it is by a small margin.) --- In any case, with respect to this last point which is repeatedly stated, I do not see the point. Most people in general are not violent. This is similar to the logical fallacy: "Most men are not violent. Therefore serial killers are not likely to be men." I tend to think that the tendency to be violent predates the onset of schizophrenia... ie. the mental illness is not usually the causal factor in a person becoming violent.

I have tried to look at actual schizophrenic serial killers, (and I do not know of any reputable study on this topic). From a long list I have compiled, it is striking how many of them focus on disembowelment, cannibalism, organ taking etc. In other words, they focus on mutilation of the body after death as the Ripper did. I am not saying that all killers who exhibit such behavior are schizophrenic (Dahmer Chikatilo etc), but instead that a large percentage of killers who are schizophrenic exhibit such behavior. I am simply pointing out that it appears that there are "common" characteristics of MANY (not all) schizophrenic serial killers. Several of these characteristics match Jack the Ripper, which is why the American FBI concluded in their profile that Jack the Ripper was schizophrenic.

You say schizophrenics are more likely to be spree killers, because "Schizophrenic delusions typically don't have the staying power to cause a prolonged killing spree". I agree to an extent, but this is clearly not always true. Nor do I believe that schizophrenic delusions are always the causal factor in motivating a person to commit murder, or serial murder, as I stated above. Sometimes, it clearly is. Other times, I think it is not, although it may be the causal factor in many of the characteristics of the murder. I think the desire to kill is more often motivated by other (external) factors, that lead to great anger and hatred.

Rob H
Hi Rob
Good post.

Several of these characteristics match Jack the Ripper, which is why the American FBI concluded in their profile that Jack the Ripper was schizophrenic.

Do you know if there are any other unsolved serial murders where the killer was suspected and/or profiled as being schizophrenic?
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  #15  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:53 PM
lynn cates lynn cates is offline
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Hello Michael. Sure. In my "Isenschmid piece" there is a story about a schizophrenic who assaulted a woman. He claimed she was focusing a laser beam on his testicles, trying to sterilise him.

If I were a Kosminskiite, I'd pursue this scenario:

1. Aaron's family were related to Martin and Jessie.

2. As such, they were overachievers.

3. Aaron's immediate family taught that sex was dirty, etc.

4. Hence, his curious recreational habit.

5. When solicited, he felt that his virginity was threatened.

Something of that sort.

Cheers.
LC
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  #16  
Old 04-17-2012, 10:19 PM
Errata Errata is offline
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When I went into my whole spiel, it was not with the intent of accusing anyone of being unjust, or saying that someone is a bad person for engaging in diagnostic related discussion. I myself have done it. It is true that every time a schizophrenic killer shows up life gets a lot harder for other schizophrenics, so I think a little sensitivity is in order, but I don't think anyone was being insensitive.

Shifting the discussion from diagnosis to symptoms is simply more accurate. People have an image in their head of what a schizophrenic is, generally fed through television and movies. And some schizophrenics absolutely typify that image. But many don't, so if one talks about a schizophrenic the image that the audience gets in their head may be very different from the reality. So if you are talking about a schizophrenic who has delusions related to religiosity, and your audience is picturing the guy rocking back and forth in a corner with tinfoil wrapped around his head so aliens don't steal his teeth, no one is served.

The characteristics that are common in schizophrenic serial killers (ritualism, cannibalism, etc.) are common of all delusional serial killers. Jeffrey Dahmer was absolutely delusional, but not schizophrenic. Had a profile come out stating that Dahmer was schizophrenic, he would not have fit the profile. His onset of delusion was quite late, he had no thought disorders, etc. Saying that he was delusional as opposed to schizophrenic, and it would have fit.

Basically what I am saying is that symptoms communicate what you mean in a far more precise manner that diagnosis. And in the spirit of full disclosure, as someone with a mental illness, I am sensitive to the possibility of an illness being blamed for monstrous acts as opposed to the person. I mean, you get used to people taking a step back when they find out that you are bipolar, but it still kinda sucks. On the whole, if the disease does not inform the crime, I'd rather it be set aside as an irrelevancy. But that's me. I am aware of my bias on the issue.
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  #17  
Old 04-18-2012, 11:44 AM
John Wheat John Wheat is offline
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Errata
You make some good points. It is also worth noting that in the late 1800's people with conditions other than schizophrenia would have been labeled as schizophrenic's. I'm largely talking about people on the autistic spectrum.
John
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  #18  
Old 04-18-2012, 07:17 PM
Errata Errata is offline
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Quote:
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Errata
You make some good points. It is also worth noting that in the late 1800's people with conditions other than schizophrenia would have been labeled as schizophrenic's. I'm largely talking about people on the autistic spectrum.
John
Well, with a copy of the DSM IV (and insomnia) one can easily pick out any number of conditions that would be labeled as schizophrenia by LVP diagnostic criteria. Even today people are misdiagnosed or prematurely diagnosed. But even inside delusions there are any number of factors that just depend on the individual. Delusions of persecution are not the same as erotomania. Both could cause someone to kill, but the way they kill and who they kill would be very different. If Jack the Ripper were delusional, erotomania would make much more sense that delusions of persecution. So if you think Jack the Ripper killed these women because he perceives that they rejected him after leading him on, saying that he was erotomanic would communicate the point much more clearly than simply saying he was delusional.
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  #19  
Old 04-18-2012, 07:39 PM
John Wheat John Wheat is offline
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Errata
I used people on the autistic spectrum as an example because certainly in the late 1800's autistics would have been likely to have been labeled as either schizophrenic or plain mad. I personally think it unlikely that Jack was a schizophrenic. He may of course have been delusional and suffering from erotomania.
John
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  #20  
Old 04-18-2012, 07:48 PM
The Good Michael The Good Michael is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Even today people are misdiagnosed or prematurely diagnosed.
People are misdiagnosed because it isn't an exact science. The human mind is too complex to be categorized into neat little files.

Mike
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