Welcome to The American Serial Killer Guidebook!!!!
Jan. 7, 2022

What Does it Mean to be a Serial Killer?

What Does it Mean to be a Serial Killer?

In our very first episode, Cherish and I delve into what separates serial killers from other types of killers. Many people mistakenly group serial killers, mass murderers, and spree killers into the same category but we are about to dispel those mistakes with some murderous truth. Make sure to listen to the end to hear our personal introduction and find out which killer we'll be investigating next week.



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www.taskg.net

Support the show


In our very first episode, Cherish and I delve into what separates serial killers from other types of killers. Many people mistakenly group serial killers, mass murderers, and spree killers into the same category but we are about to dispel those mistakes with some murderous truth. Make sure to listen to the end to hear our personal introduction and find out which killer we'll be investigating next week.

HELP SUPPORT OUR SHOW

Preferred - Cashapp: $TASKGUS


Visit our store
  HERE for all of your favorite serial killer gear!!!

Following the link lets Buzzsprout know we sent you, gets you a $20 Amazon gift card if you sign up for a paid plan, and helps support our show:
https://www.buzzsprout.com/?referrer_id=1876119

Buy Me a Coffee
Patreon

Review us on PodChaser

Please send all correspondence to:
The American Serial Killer Guidebook or TASKG
P.O. Box 3689
Lawton, Ok. 73502

Email Us:

Elton@taskg.net

Cherish@taskg.net

Website:
www.taskg.net

Support the show


Transcript

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Episode summary:

Hello everyone and welcome to the flagship episode of The American Serial Killer Guidebook. We’re your hosts, Elton and Cherish Morgan and in this week’s episode, we will be answering the questions what exactly does it mean to be a serial killer and what’s the difference between a serial killer, mass murderer, and spree killer? Make sure to listen to the end to hear our plans for next weeks episode and remember to check us out on Twitter at @TASKG_, Instagram at _TASKG_, and our The American Serial Killer Guidebook Facebook page to stay informed on everything we’re doing and to stay updated on your favorite American serial killers.

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Most people who are into the serial killer genre have heard the term serial killer originated from former FBI special agent Robert Ressler who was a founding member of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit which many people know as the Mind Hunters. Special agent Ressler was the inspiration for the character Jack Crawford in the Hannibal Lector trilogy written by Thomas Harris. Ressler says that he came up with the term after hearing a lecturer at a British police conference in the 1970s refer to crimes as a ”series of rapes, burglaries, etc.” and when he returned to Quantico he started using serial killer in his own teaching.

Ok, that’s his story but we have another origin we’d like to suggest that makes a little more sense. The 1961 version of Merriam-Webster’s Third New International Dictionary contains a quote from German critic Siegfried Kracauer stating, “He denies that he is the pursued serial murderer”. The term serial murderer is used often in books throughout the 1960’s so some believe that Ressler heard the term while in Britain and changed it to the more commonly known, and cooler-sounding serial killer.

Now that we’ve covered the possible origins of the term let’s move on to exactly what defines a serial killer. The official FBI definition of a serial killer is “Three or more separate events in three or more separate locations with an emotional cooling-off period between homicides.” This definition requires 3 murders in 3 different locations with a period of time of hours to years between kills. The 2 final requirements, 3 locations, and time between kills is to differentiate between serial killers and mass murderers who usually explode into a fireball of rage-fueled violence killing as many people as possible in a single instance such as a school or workplace shooting and usually end in suicide but not always.

Our problem is that if you go by the FBI’s definition of a serial killer, it would classify people like famous mafia hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran as a serial killer for murdering multiple victims around the country over decades while removing infamous murderer John Wayne Gacy from the list because, although he killed 33 young men and boys, he killed all of them in the same location, before burying them in the crawlspace under his house. 

 

Another, more realistic and accurate definition, comes from the National Institute of Justice.  They define serial killings as “A series of two or more murders, committed as separate events, usually, but not always, by one offender acting alone. The crimes may occur over a period of time ranging from hours to years. Quite often the motive is psychological, and the offender’s behavior and the physical evidence observed at the crime scenes will reflect sadistic sexual overtones”. This definition better serves the classification of serial killers in my book because it maintains the cooling-off period while dropping the number of kills from 3 to 2 but includes that they can occur from separate or a series of singular events and usually contains psychological and sexual motivations. 

These ideas fit with the common conception of what defines a serial killer. Many killers get lumped together into one classification or another simply because people don’t understand the differences in the categories of killers. Some people think serial killer, mass murderer, and spree or rampage killer are interchangeable terms for the same thing, but they couldn’t be more wrong. We’ve just defined serial killing so let’s take a look at its close cousin’s mass murder and spree killing. It’s true that they all include multiple killings but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. A serial killer tends to be more of a predator while a mass murderer is more akin to a human pressure cooker slowly building up pressure until they explode taking as many people with them as they can.

The definition of mass murder is the killing of three or more people within a single instance in a single location. A prime example of a mass murder duo are Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold who were responsible for the tragic 1999 Columbine High School Massacre in Littleton Colorado. On the morning of April 20th, Harris and Klebold entered their high school and, after two 20 lb. propane bombs failed to explode, began shooting teachers and students and didn’t stop until 13 people were dead with another 24 injured. At the time, it was the worst mass school shooting in US history and unfortunately, has been the inspiration for other school shootings across the country in the decades since the tragedy.

Spree killers, on the other hand, although similar to mass murderers in the respect that they usually result from one or more persons finally exploding with rage and seeking revenge usually ending in suicide, are usually not focused on one person or place specifically. The definition of spree killing is the killing of two or more people in at least two separate locations with no cooling off or significant time period between killings. While a mass murderer may kill multiple coworkers or fellow students in a single place, a spree killer typically seeks revenge against society and the world at large for the perceived injustices they feel have been perpetrated against them by rampaging from place to place. 

This doesn’t mean that a spree killing won’t start with specific targets like a current or ex-employer, a school bully or group of bullies or someone the killer feels has wronged them in some way but usually ends up with them taking out anyone unlucky enough to cross their path on the day they choose to unleash their vengeance on the world. One infamous spree killer, Mark Orrin Barton, decided July 27th, 1999, was the beginning of his vengeance spree. Barton began his day by killing his second wife Leigh Ann Vandiver Barton, and followed up with his two children from a previous marriage, 12-year-old Matthew Barton and 10-year-old Mychelle Barton, on the following day July 28th with hammer blows to their heads.  

On the morning of July 29th, 1999, Barton drove to the Atlanta offices of former employer Momentum Securities to exact retribution on those he felt contributed to his financial difficulties since he had recently lost over $105,000 on high-risk stock investments causing his employer to cancel his investment accounts resulting in his termination. According to witnesses, Barton had a short chat with some former coworkers before pulling out two pistols and killing four people. It would have been five but another ex-coworker he shot three times survived his injuries. 

Barton then walked calmly down the street to the All-Tech Investment Group building and immediately opened fire killing five more innocent people before jumping in the family minivan and making a run for it. Less than four hours after his murderous spree, he attempted to kidnap a young girl in Kennesaw Georgia but she was lucky enough to escape and avoid becoming another notch on his belt of kills for the day. She called police who spotted Barton and began a pursuit that ended with him stopping at a gas station in Acworth Georgia where he blew his brains out before police could arrest him.

HELP SUPPORT OUR SHOW

Preferred - Cashapp: $TASKGUS


Visit our store
  HERE for all of your favorite serial killer gear!!!

Following the link lets Buzzsprout know we sent you, gets you a $20 Amazon gift card if you sign up for a paid plan, and helps support our show:
https://www.buzzsprout.com/?referrer_id=1876119

Buy Me a Coffee
Patreon

Review us on PodChaser

Please send all correspondence to:
The American Serial Killer Guidebook or TASKG
P.O. Box 3689
Lawton, Ok. 73502

Email Us:

Elton@taskg.net

Cherish@taskg.net

Website:
www.taskg.net

Support the show

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