Serial killing and mass murder are not unique to American society. An examination of the literature will show numerous incidents of multiple murders in many different countries. The crucial concept to remember is: different cultures view serial and mass murder differently. Each culture’s perception of homicide is culturally specific; consequently, the impact multiple murders has is also culturally specific. In the U.S., criminal justice officials are required to act quickly because of pressure from the public and the media when a murder of any kind occurs. In countries with a nondemocratic form of government, the public and the media may not be able to outwardly report or express their fears of a killer at large. Many cases in other countries may be hidden from the public in an effort to minimize the effects on society. The impact serial and mass murder has on the societies in which it is perpetrated is not as well studied as other areas of this type of crime. However, it is important for us to discuss the society’s reactions both historically and currently.
Choose a serial or mass murder and analyze the resulting impact it had on the citizens of the immediate area in which the crime occurred, along with any regional and international affects.
– Which crimes are more highly publicized in the media, serial or mass murder, and why?
– What does the term “mass hysteria” mean, and where did it originate?