Dahmer and an Examination of the Chances of Evil


Graphic by Jonathon Carmona for El Paisano Media All humans are born and wired differently. Is evil made? Or does evil not exist and it is just by chance that some people turn out to be serial killers? Think of an answer, then think of another one.

Jeffrey Dahmer, for those who don’t know, was a serial killer and sex offender who killed 17 people. He did not just murder his victims, he also dismembered them and ate some of the remains. 

A Chance of Evil

Many of these victims were boys, some were men. All murders, except one that took place in Ohio, were committed in Milwaukee.

While Dahmer was in prison, a cellmate later bludgeoned him to death. Dahmer wrote in a will that he wanted to be cremated. There was some debate about whether or not his brain should be donated to science to study it and see if there’s any particular reason why he was the way he was. 

So this brings up the question, is there any real reason why serial killers or “evil” people are the way they are? Or is it just the science of chance that people are born that way? 

The Possibility of Nurture

Dahmer did not have the best childhood. He was constantly neglected, even as a baby, his father was a research chemist and constantly at work. On the other hand, his mother was a hypochondriac and suffered from depression. She constantly needed attention and was always tense. 

The parents constantly argued in front of Dahmer, and if you combine that with neglecting the child, it’s no wonder Dahmer showed symptoms of abandonment. Along the way, Dahmer became interested in animal bones and would ask his father questions about them. His father believed Dahmer was taking a liking to chemistry and science, so he encouraged and taught Dahmer how to dissect animals and preserve their bones. 

This liking of his obviously would carry on into adulthood. His father would later blame himself for his son’s actions. He voted in favor of cremating Dahmer’s brain and respecting his son’s wishes. The father just wanted to move forward, however, Dahmer’s mother would want to know why exactly her son was the way he was. She voted in favor of donating his brain to science. 

This back-and-forth reasoning tends to happen when someone like Dahmer is discovered and brought to justice. Many people want to point out and blame a reason in particular, however that may not always be the case. When looking at our population of over 7 billion people, you have to believe that not everyone will be wired the same way. 

Law of Averages

Each and every one of us is different in our own ways. Some people like cars, some people like fashion, and others grow up to like animal bones and dissect them. Humans are social creatures, however, some people are not and, actually, don’t like to be social. 

Everyone is different, and since that is the case, I raise the question: does evil really exist? Is it just by chance that someone like Dammer is pre-wired to think, act, and look at things from a different perspective that just happens to not line up with society? 

One could say that Dahmer’s childhood led him to be the way he was, and that may be true. However, there are millions of children worldwide whose childhoods are also bad and full of abandonment, abuse, and bad parents. Serial killers are usually known to have bad childhoods or upbringings, but many of them claim they had normal childhoods and grew up okay. 

Another serial killer, Ted Bundy, who as a child his grandfather tried to convince him his mother was his sister, said he had an uneventful and normal childhood. So, the connection between the killers and a bad childhood is there, but I wouldn’t say it’s the main reason. So, what is it? 

Chance, the roll of the dice that is life. Coming from a mathematical standpoint, I believe it is by the law of averages that we get people spawning in like Jeffrey Dahmer. No one has the exact statistic, but for every one million babies that are born I’m pretty sure more than a few will turn out to be serial killers, and many more will kill at least one person in their life. 

We Are All Humans

It is a sad and disparaging way to think of these things, no one should kill anyone. We as humans are all the same scared animals that just want to be okay. I believe that all anyone ever wants, is to be okay. What their version of okay is, that’s up to the individual and how they are wired in the brain. Dahmer’s okay was murdering and dismembering the bodies of his victims, sometimes eating them. 

It’s a scary thought to think the person next to you at any given time could be a serial killer, but just like life, that’s the chance we take, that’s part of the chance you receive as a human being. So, there is probably no real reason for the way serial killers turn out to be. It is simply by chance that a particular human was wired to be okay with what they were doing. 

My condolences to the victims’ families, and anyone out there who has suffered any loss.