Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Motive to Kill

Instant judgment is one of the building blocks of human nature, and an important part of our survival instinct. We judge everything – our own attitude, our flaws and strength, but mostly, the attitude, flaws, and overall behavior and choices of others. Of course, some actions we encounter are a natural trigger for instant judgment, and we don’t think twice before we point our finger toward the guilty party without even thinking about what might have motivated that person to act a certain way.
Judging from our point of perspective alone offers a limited view, and leaves us wondering why certain behaviors take place at all. Since early childhood, we are taught that our impulses should be kept under tight control, and we should never do or say anything that can offend or harm anyone around us. Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way, egos get bruised, and perceptions shift, leading some people to act in ways that are condemnable by our society standards.
So, what could possibly motivate someone to behave in such a way that will attract unpleasant consequences? Are they unable to judge situations? Are they mentally impaired? Do they just not care at all? And if the latter is the right answer, why do they feel that way? History shows that most serial killers and psychopaths have a higher I.Q. than the average person, so obviously, intelligence is not a factor. Many criminals are also able to orchestrate their crimes with such finesse that they walk free for many years, so they can apparently think and judge. In a process of elimination, the answer to our question is down to the last possibility: Criminals don’t care. But why don’t they?
The human mind is an intricate maze, one that even the most skilled psychiatrists haven’t been able to fully explore. Each experience forms a different, unique pathway that can lead the mind to craft multiple “travel plans.” Most of us follow the beaten path, while others stray away and move against the current. Strangely enough, criminals whose brains have been picked, often share a common trait: Unhappy, abused childhoods. Many tell stories of abandonment, physical or emotional discomfort, and unease with their early environment in general.
When I wrote Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery), my goal was not only to write a thriller, but also to explore the reasons behind the killings. Stepping into the mind of a murderer is a brain-jolting experience, and it can open our eyes to the inner suffering of the perpetrators. I once read something that really caught my attention: “We are all victims of victims.” Such a simple statement speaks volumes, and it confirms that happy people don’t do things that will make others unhappy.
In Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery), a young woman is found murdered in a public park. When Detective Tom Lackey is assigned to the case, he realizes that things aren’t always as they seem, and in order to find the killer, he has to step outside the box and explore possibilities he never considered before.
What about you? Are you ready to walk the pathways of a killer’s mind? Like Tom Lackey, you might be surprised at what you will find.