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  • Ordinary Bloke

    Could Jack the Ripper have been an ordinary bloke driven to crimes through frustration or some other reason?

    Those familiar with Milgram's research into obediance will know that ordinary people are capable of violent acts (for those not - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment), add this to the fact that we all know short term enviromental frustration can lead to violent outbursts and we have the possibility that the Ripper could have been an ordinary bloke who just lashed out in an extreme way.

    Horizon had a fascinating documentary on aggression last week, which is still available for fewing on iplayer (though I think only those in the UK can watch it) at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00kk4bz.

    Anyone like to counter/add to this?
    Jon

    "It is far more comfortable to point a finger and declare someone a devil, than to call upon your imagination to try to understand their world."


    http://www.jlrees.co.uk




  • #2
    Jon:

    Thanks for the link.

    IMHO, the Ripper may have been at one time an ordinary bloke. However, the excessive damage done to these victims doesn't strike me as being spontaneous acts born of frustration by someone with all their marbles...rather premeditated acts of a psychopath... or spur of the moment actions by someone not of right or sound mind for reasons only known to him...

    Just my opinion,sor....
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    • #3
      Yes! without a doubt a local grey loonie!! (IMHO)

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      • #4
        Thanks for the opinions there guys.

        Does anyone agree with the points expressed in the first post? Or think it might be a possibility?

        BTW: People from the UK, that episode is well worth watching, just for the fact they subject Portillo to sleep deprivation and send him half way to a nervous breakdown!
        Jon

        "It is far more comfortable to point a finger and declare someone a devil, than to call upon your imagination to try to understand their world."


        http://www.jlrees.co.uk



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        • #5
          LOL Portillo, must watch it now then!

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          • #6
            Hello Jon,

            your post gave me something to think about.
            It was a bit difficult to express what I meant even in my native language, let alone say it in English. So if that reads somewhat confusing, please, ask.

            Humans for sure are aggressive beings, but a lot of that aggression is contained because of the norms of society - either because you accept them or because you are afraid of punishment.

            The Milgram experiment as well as a lot of real life situations (for example war crimes where horrible acts of violence are committed) occur within these norms.
            The test persons in the experiment were urged on by an authority figure. He approved of their behavior and kept telling them that everything was okay. In wars you follow the order of your government and you are told that you do what you do for your country.

            JtR acted outside of the norms (unless we go with a conspiracy theory or involve JtR into gang or organized crime - which would be an alternative society with it's own norms) and he did not just take a small step, but with his excessive violence he went very far over the boundaries of norm.

            As for the grades of violence: Milgram offered quite an anonymous "method of killing". The percentage of test persons who went through with the electro shocks and the voltage they (thought) they used decreases the closer the contact to the actor is. And even the most violent scenario - test person wearing a glove and pressing the hand of the actor on a metal plate - is a long way from eviscerating someone.
            Now some soldiers/ death squads etc. will do exactly that.
            But I wonder whether they are still ordinary blokes at that point.

            I think, you could get most of the test persons in the Milgram experiment to commit atrocious crimes over a longer period of time in a convincing setting, by letting them get accustomed to violence and then increasing the violence they have to commit by and by.
            But while you're doing that you numb them, you remove their empathy, and in that way you dehumanize them.
            Imo, a ordinary bloke has at least some empathy, is human in some way. If you can't feel anything for other people something wrong with you.

            So, no, I don't think a ordinary bloke acting out of frustration could commit the excessively violent acts that JtR committed.


            Helga

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            • #7
              Hi UV,

              Thanks for the reply. All very good points. I had forgotten about that particular replication Milgram undertook (on a related matter, I've always wondered how well the acting skills of the stooge were when in full view of the participant).

              Milgram also had a stepping stone effect going on, the voltages were gradually increased to the biggie, not a straight jump to the fatal one (though he might very well have tried that out, knowing his thoroughness he probably did!).
              Jon

              "It is far more comfortable to point a finger and declare someone a devil, than to call upon your imagination to try to understand their world."


              http://www.jlrees.co.uk



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              • #8
                It was a bit difficult to express what I meant even in my native language, let alone say it in English.--Helga

                For someone whose native tongue isn't English, you do pretty damned good Helga.

                I agree with you, once more, that for someone to kill in the fashion the Ripper did ( All these murders at roughly the same time of day...same strata of victim...similar pattern in the infliction of wounds on several victims...), it seems that the pattern diminishes the spontaneity-factor one would look for in a murder by a merely over-frustrated and ordinary bloke.
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                • #9
                  Crossing lines?

                  The more I read about serial killers, the more questions I come up with:

                  "The McDonald triad" for example. Aside from the fact that there are enough serial killers out there who displayed none or only one of the three symptoms in their childhood, aren't these three points just a disproportionate version of behaviour that a lot of kids show during their development?

                  Many children display some cruelty towards animals at a certain stage in their life. Same goes for fire setting. All kids I know are/were at some stage in their development very fascinated by fire. At which age starts bed wetting become a cause for worry?

                  Do they already cross that indistinct line between normal and pathological behavior in their childhood/youth?

                  Is it a disability to recognize limits? Or are they so focussed on themselves that they don't accept given limits as valid for them?

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                  • #10
                    Hi Jon

                    I think there are many examples that show mans ability to cruelly and sadistically torture mutilate and kill other human beings

                    The Yugoslavian and Rwandan conflicts are just two that produced extremes of rape/torture/death

                    I think there is a case for the Ripper being not only ordinary and "sane" - but quite consciously committing super-horrific crimes for effect only

                    Obviously this iwould not be classed as "normal" behaviour, but there are many levels to madness and I'm sure such a killer would otherwise be totally "normal" in his everyday life

                    Who can judge and diagnose such subtle madness?

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                    • #11
                      I think there is a case for the Ripper being not only ordinary and "sane" - but quite consciously committing super-horrific crimes for effect only--Nemo

                      It is quite possible that the murderer of Liz Stride( as one example ) did not care if anyone saw him, because its very possible that the man who did kill Stride was seen. I, for one, think he was seen, did kill her and that he was the Ripper. In addition,I do not think it is etched in stone that it mattered to him if he was seen at any of the murder sites... ( Chapman and Eddowes )

                      That doesn't matter or mean anything,obviously. But what could be worth considering is that the acts & effects that we, as normal individuals would naturally shy from,may have not meant anything to the Ripper.

                      The act of disemboweling a woman on the street. The act of taking organs from two women, one in a backyard,the other a public square. The act of dealing with ( and lets face it...it would have been an ordeal if one of us had to endure the horrific odors coming from the victims' bodies...or touching their intestines...and so forth) the eviscerations...etc.

                      Now going back to what Nemo mentioned...if the Ripper didn't care one iota about what he had done, he may well have known and probably did know what effect it would have on the populace. So I for one agree with Nemo's premise that the crimes could have been committed for effect only or at least with the knowledge that what he was doing was disturbing ( to say the least) people.

                      Maybe Helga or some other Ripperologist who is investigating serial killers at the present time....could look into the case histories and see whether other serial killers confess that some of the things they did were for effect.

                      As always,Nemo...good points
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by How Brown View Post
                        Maybe Helga or some other Ripperologist who is investigating serial killers at the present time....could look into the case histories and see whether other serial killers confess that some of the things they did were for effect.

                        As always,Nemo...good points
                        I actually have a question there whether they give an explanation why they committed the crime. So far there's no one who said he did it for the effect, but I have just begun the research. If anything like this shows up, I post it right away.

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                        • #13
                          Hi All,

                          While one could argue that any man who could do what the ripper did, without apparently worrying too much about how busy the streets were where he was operating, must have been tuppence short of a shilling, I tend to think he would have been caught in or soon after the act had he not been acutely aware of his surroundings and the fact that a dozen witnesses could be around every corner as he picked up his prey (or allowed himself to be picked up) and went in for the kill. Whenever he appeared to lack caution, he still got away with it, which could suggest he was as mad as a box of frogs and just very lucky each time. But equally it may indicate a keen awareness of his limits and how far he could afford to push them, calculating the risks each time and adjusting his behaviour accordingly.

                          Assuming he killed MJK (and personally I have very little doubt that he did), he went to town this time because he had more time and privacy than before. I know that much has been said a million times, but in the context of his general mental state that year, it indicates at the very least a sound awareness of other people and the impact of their constant presence on his own behaviour. If he knew his situation was different this time, because previously he'd had to take into account police beats and the ubiquitous passer-by, it may be a small point, but would it not eliminate certain forms of mental illness which adversely affect social awareness?

                          It would also leave the door open for a killer who cared about how much impact he was having on everyone around him.

                          Love,

                          Caz
                          X
                          I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by How Brown View Post
                            Maybe Helga or some other Ripperologist who is investigating serial killers at the present time....could look into the case histories and see whether other serial killers confess that some of the things they did were for effect.

                            Hi Howard / Caz / UV

                            I've definitely come across at least one modern serial killer who displayed (IMO) the bodies of his victims openly on the street in obscene poses often with items inserted if I remember correctly - I'll try to track down his name - (he left one victim by a "dumpster" near some fast-food outlet?)

                            Other killers have posed victims indoors on many occasions - either in a signature manner such as the BTK or in a display of horror designed to terrify the population such as in the Richard Ramirez case where Satanic symbols messages were left at the scene accompanied by gruesomely mutilated victims, or the obvious Manson family murders. The Boston strangler and numerous others often displayed their victims in obscene poses.

                            One of the classic cases (IMO) of a "sane" type psychopath is Carl Panzram who epitomises an otherwise sane and lucidly talking person who is infused with hatred for practically all mankind and expressed it with extreme violence and merciless cruelty and by killing, and often homosexually raping beforehand, many people who he had only recently met.

                            If it was his MO to rip up women on the street, I feel he could accomplish this and be fully aware of his surroundings and of the risks and dangers, and he would react accordingly.

                            He would not necessarily show any form of mania at the time of the crime, indeed, Panzram would probably have hardly raised his heartbeat.

                            Peter Kurten is another good example of someone who thought nothing of violating and mutilating his often very young victims on the street, fully aware of the terror extant in the population that he was creating

                            BTK and Zodiac certainly revelled in the "effect"

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                            • #15
                              I would just add that I find it interesting to consider the final pose of the victims as being the ultimate goal of the crime

                              The mutilations would be a means to that end, but the important thing to the killer may be the last image that he sees of the victim - displayed and "ripped up like a pig in the market" - in the knowledge that that would be the image the innocent finder of the body is going to experience, and due to the usual customary crowd gathering etc, many members of the public would have been witness to the sight on the street.

                              He may or may not have been consciously attempting to create and propogate the idea of a coherent monster in the mind of the populace

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