Killers don’t necessarily always look monstrous or appear to be freaks at first glance. They exist in the same world that everyone inhabits, quietly nursing a grudge against their victim and later committing a crime which could either be premeditated or out of sudden aggressive emotion, say psychologists when asked about the mental correlation with such criminality. It’s also the ease of access-to both true crime shows or to the internet throwing up ready information-that inspire perfect ways to clean up after a crime and dispose of evidence.
“In fact, some of the most loathsome killers in history have been very charming. You don’t realise there’s an underlying illness until the time they’re found to have committed violent offences,” says clinical psychologist Radhika Bapat. A lot of times people question their act in post-hoc or in retrospect-of whether the person had trouble while growing up, lacked empathy or were they intoxicated at the time.
To jump to the conclusion that people diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder or ASPD commit such crimes can be stigmatising, adds Bapat who believes the psychological needs of a murderer can be nuanced. However, the minds of murderers who kill impulsively and those carrying out premeditated crimes differ. “Sometimes people also have anger issues and in a fit of rage lose all sense of control. On top of that, if strong and intoxicated, they can do things that don’t seem dangerous anymore and they go out of their way to cover it up,” says Bapat.
While “past resentments, elevated rage, need for control and power” could have been predecessors to violent behaviour, increased interest in and popularity of the true crime genre and information on the internet could have played a part. “With social media and crime series dominating TV, people are getting smarter at committing a crime and cleaning up evidence so that it can’t be traced back to them,” says criminal psychologist Meghana Srivastav recounting such cases from rural areas as an act of vengeance. “But this seems like a big city problem of an intelligent boy looking for a cleaner way to hide the crime.”
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