Serial Killers

Prior to discussing what serial killers do, we must identify and pinpoint what a serial killer is. We generally tend to attribute the same name for serial killers and mass murderers. This is incorrect because they are two independent and different types of killers. While both of these individuals may kill many people, the difference lies in the reason they kill and the period over which they kill their victims. An event or a build up of circumstance triggers mass murderers and causes them to act. This can be the result of a stressful situation or frustration either at work or in their private lives. For whatever reason, they may choose to use a weapon and kill people that they feel are responsible for their problems. They may also kill total strangers in a bid to get even with whomever or whatever they feel wronged them. Whatever their reason is, they are usually cooperative and quite often docile if they survive the episode. It seems that this one-time outburst of violence, once enacted, puts an end to any future events of this type for that individual. While the mass killer may kill many people in one attack, when the attack is over, their mission is complete. The mass killer\'s victims may not be chosen for any other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“A serial murder occurs when one or more individuals commit a second murder and/or subsequent murder; is relationship-less ; is at a different time and has no apparent connection to the initial murders ; and is usually committed in a different geographical location. Further, the motive is not for material gain and is believed to be for the murderer’s desire to have power over it’s victims. Victims may have a symbolic value and are perceived as powerless given their situation in time, place or status within their immediate surroundings.”

Serial killers are a totally different and more dangerous threat to society. They may not kill many people at one time, but they may kill for many years without being detected. They are able to kill again and again without being caught because they are careful in their choices of victims. They typically pick victims who are vulnerable and unable to defend themselves such as children, the elderly or women. They also pick victims who will not be missed by society, such as migrant workers, prostitutes, hitchhikers or homosexuals. They may even pick victims based on specifics such as physical build or hairstyle. The serial killer may plan his victims in advance and may “case” surroundings, or he takes advantage of opportunities that are presented to him at random. He may use deception to lure a victim or he may use force. A few characteristics of serial killers stand out ; the two main ones being their charisma or pleasant personalities, and the fact that they are psychopaths who feel no remorse for their actions.
Because of the fact that many serial killers may be mobile, similarities in crime scenes may go undetected by law enforcement agencies. The nation\'s police departments often lack the modern equipment and technology needed to track and recognize connections between cases. It is generally accepted that many cases of serial murder have not been reported because of lack of evidence or the person murdered is never noticed to be missing.
Canada hasn’t had many occasions of serial killers since it is mostly of U.S popularity and because it is hard to pinpoint victims of serial killers. Victims of mass murderers (4 murders or more) are easier to distinguish because of the time frame in which the killings took place. Of course, such names as Paul Bernardo (not too much of a killer), Marc Lépine and Clifford Olson come to mind. In Canada, there is such a thing as “The faint hope clause” (section 745 C.C.) that can allow murderers to obtain a parole hearing before they would normally be allowed to by their sentence. Between 1960 and 1990, there were seventy-two cases that involved four or more victims in one incident. The seventy-two cases resulted in 359 victims, an average of almost five people per case. Several cases involved between thirteen and forty-eight victims, and at least some included multiple killings