He chooses to look at people whose crimes fit his paradigm- with that kind of research I tihnk I could prove that Elvis was really Hitler's love child.
Several times he says "a lot of people are abused." or he looks at cases where the killer wasn't abused and pretty much incites that as an example. His argument is pretty much "A lot of people are abused and don't grow up to be killers." and "not all killers came from abusive childhoods." Then at the very end of the book he says these killers have issues that play into it, so he doesn't deny it, but he downplays it, and it took until the last few pages for him to even say this and what about all the stuff he said before where it seemed to downplay it and imply it's largely cultural? Yet he never looks at the opposite extreme of that where killer's came from incredibly privileged families and developed a narcissistic personality. A narcissistic personality that allows them to feel as though they are better then others and therefor can use and abuse others who are "lower then them." Instead he once again states the social and economic pressures. It also never focuses on why Ted Bundy or any of the others specifically saw these hierarchy issues at such a young age and were very much effected by it and why they became serial killers as opposed to others. At one point he brings up lack of families or other facts, but many serial killers have families, have stuff to loose. Serial killers like John Wayne Gacy, Israel Keyes, Robin Gecht, etc had successful businesses. Also I felt like saying "A lot of people feel isolated and disenfranchised, and yet don't become a serial killer or go on a shooting spree." Instead they kill them selves, become a nazi or a social justice warrior, fundamentalist religious person, or something else less harmful as killing people. I don't know if Essex's small frame bothered him and played a role in him possibly having a flawed image of him self, which played into his fantasy of wanting to be a "revolutionary." going after Whites and "pigs." but with many serial killers and mass murderers stuff like this along with speech disabilities, weight, and so forth do play some role. The book near the end goes into the pre industrial age and Leyton is right in a lot of ways, but misses a lot of points. It wouldn't be until the 18th century France that the first serial killer profile was made. I am willing to bet there were multiple serial killers around this time who were just never ever caught or had their murders linked. So those who would of probably become serial killers would of found a legalized form in the army. So theres no telling how many cases of serial murder were in fact discovered but lost to history due to war. Many serial killers in California during the 70s loved to use the freeway. In the beginning the author dismisses serial killer's intelligence. He absurdly compares the absolutely laughable Hannibal Lector to other serial killers to make his point. He then states the truth is that the ONLY reason why serial killers are able to get away with it for so long and kill so many because they attack strangers. Albert Fish said he liked to target black children to torture and abuse because of racist cops who wouldn't dedicate any time to try and catch him. Another serial killer referred to poor children as "throw away kids." Prostitutes are a popular target for this reason. Instead Leyton describes this as simply the middle class killers going after the lower class. The only people who see serial killers as all brilliant masterminds who are larger then life are people in hollywood and people who believe in an absurd exaggeration portrayed in fiction. It's unfair to compare real life serial killers to a gross exaggeration as Hannibal Lector. James Fox who Leyton cites in this very book says serial killers tend to be "cunning" others would say "street smart." and of course that doesn't mean highly intelligent. So I would argue that this is a straw man or he's speaking to the poorly misinformed who think they know everything about serial killers because they watched too much CSI. Now because I am a true crime fanatic who studies several cases like Leyton does....I know what he is referring to when he talks about "freedom" gave way to multiple murder rising. He says that they kill for "trivial reasons." He never mentions schizotypal personality disorder, he never talks about paranoid personality disorder. I must also point out a problem I have with a case he mentions a few times but never actually goes into it. He mentions James Huberty who shot and killed 21 people at a Mcdonald's in 1984. His neighbor said the Huberty's "seemed to be against the world a lot of the time and against people." 2.He moved with his family to Mexico because he hated the United states. 4.He told his wife "Society had it's chance" and "I'm going hunting for humans." If he was gonna target specifically mexicans, then he would of said mexicans. Huberty hated everyone and his attack was a statement and revenge against a society that alienated him since childhood and destroyed any happiness he did and could achieve and this included Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Huberty's attack was not like Marc Lepine who went into a college and killed 14 women. As another expert said condescendingly "they were taking man's jobs away." Lepine blamed women for his failures. Leyton largely blamed Lepine's abusive misogynistic father. Huberty blamed society and over all white politicians who "controlled your government." as his wife said in an interview. Leyton also at one point sounds like he is blaming movies and in fact does. He also mentions what is known as the Mean world syndrome but like everything else barely goes into it. I'd like to say me, but I'm gonna go with the president." same goes with the Mean world syndrome. but then you look at TV and as the narrator says "In the real world they don't fair any better." where hispanics are brought up obsessively over and over again within "the context of a single issue" and that is immigration. Richard Dawkins back in the 90s blamed the awesome TV fictional show The X files for spreading pseudo science and conspiracy theory nonsense and so forth. That is what the Mean world syndrome is describing and I don't blame fiction. I mention Rambo because Leyton cites Rambo in his blaming fictional media glorifying war and justifying violent retaliation.
The author basically said serial and mass murderers were striking back against the economic and social hierarchies in American society by their choice of victims, that the killers were attacking the middle class which they had been unable to enter themselves.
Like In Sorcerys Shadow or Money Has No Smell, it is not a work of fiction nor is it even based on a true story: it's a textbook, written by a respected social scientist that just happens to be the worlds most consulted expert on serial killers and multiple murderers. Even though it's very scientifically written like Money Has No Smell, because of the subject matter it's much more accessible, even more so than In Sorcery's Shadow. The reason is that this book excels where others have failed is the subject matter of serial killers and multiple murderers. There are two versions of this book, the original and the updated 20th anniversary with new killers such as the DC Snipers.
Los ejemplos que toma para ilustrar su teoría son muy limitados y cuidadosamente escogidos para que cuadren con sus intereses, y cuando le conviene omite la violencia que algunos asesinos en serie tuvieron que pasar en la niñez (como en el caso de Joseph Kalinger o el de Carl Panzram, a los que alude casi de pasada al final del libro).
Elliott Leyton is a Canadian social-anthropologist, educator and author who is amongst the most widely consulted experts on serial homicide worldwide.