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Motivations to Murder

Serial killers select their victims due to the victims availability, vulnerability and desirability. A killer who watches a singe female spend her evenings alone at home may be more likely to be attacked due to her availability. If a woman in walking alone down a dark street, she is viewed more vulnerable to an attack. Finally, a victims desirability is all in the eye of the beholder so at that point any person can become a victim to a murderous attack. With the use of the 2005 FBI Symposium attendees on serial murder identifications, Luminol Cocktail discusses the seven general categories of motivation: ideology, anger, criminal enterprise, financial gain, power or thrill, psychosis and sexual desire.


When understanding a killer who is motivated by their ideology it is important to look at their goals and ideas. For example, a terrorist group or an individual who targets victim due to their specific racial, gender or ethnic identity is someone working with ideology as their motivation. In many cases, this subset has some overlap with those who kill due to anger, but the main difference is the way the plan is carried out. Usually, ideology killers are perfectionists and plan such attacks and murders with precision. Joseph Paul Franklin (left) and the Unabomber (right) are both prime examples of a ideology killer.