Jeffrey Dahmer: Sane or not?

Throughout my research of Jeffrey Dahmer I have pondered whether he was truly sane or not during his childhood and his adult life. I think I can safely answer those questions after looking and reading at all my sources. The psychological analysis, the chapter covering his life and murder spree, and the documentary were the most important sources to me and they ultimately gave me the insight of his life and mind that assisted me in answering my questions. I learned so much about an individual that was so interesting, but ultimately filled with evil and had no mercy on his victims.

My answer, based upon my research and opinion, are that Jeffrey Dahmer was indeed sane throughout his entire life. When he was younger and was fascinated by animal bones, he may have been going through a phase in life and the journey of growing up but he knew what he was doing and could distinguish right from wrong and what was good and bad. He was fascinated by the animal bones and bones themselves because they’re so complex, yet they are somewhat simple and sometimes underestimated by humans. Jeffrey seen the beauty in humans and the human body, unfortunately he carried his appreciation into an obsession that would lead to tragic deaths of many innocent individuals. Later in his life, Jeffrey knew exactly what he was doing and that it was bad. He felt guilt for having to kill his victims, but he covered those feelings of guilt with his alcoholism and drug use. Alcohol and drugs were like water to a fire for his guilt. They were temporary things to hide and tuck away the guilt he had for killing those seventeen individuals. In conclusion, Jeffrey Dahmer was sane and was a very bad person while he was alive, but thankfully and fortunately we don’t have to worry about him anymore and hopefully the victims families have some closure.

Jeffrey Dahmer Documentary

I watched a documentary on Jeffrey Dahmer and it was very eye opening on several different levels regarding the case and his personality. This source is geared towards individuals who are interested in researching  the life and case of Jeffrey Dahmer and his victims. I selected this source because I had never heard what Jeffrey Dahmer sounded like in person and it gave exquisite details on the case that none of my other sources did. Over all this is one of my more valuable sources for researching this particular topic.

The documentary goes back to Jeffrey’s childhood and has an interview with his father, Lionel Dahmer, to help discover the roots of where his disturbed thoughts began. It covers each step in Jeff’s life from adolescence to teenager to adulthood. Some things were self explanatory so they weren’t covered as much, whereas things that needed explaining were either covered by Jeffrey’s father in his interview or simply answered by the narrator. They show images of his apartment, the house where he grew up in, and his grandmothers house as well. Video from the court case is also included in this documentary. This documentary covered nearly, if not all angles of the case and life of Jeffrey Dahmer. I appreciated this source as much as I did the psychological analysis and they will both be used to the fullest as to gain the best understanding of Jeffrey Dahmer and his mind. Something that I wish the documentary would’ve covered a little more was that they showed where Lionel Dahmer had taken the animal bones out from under the house; essentially where Jeffrey began his fascination with bones and anatomy.

This source is a huge contribution to my full understanding of the topic I’m researching and essentially Jeffrey himself. As I’ve said about my other sources that they’re extremely valuable, as they are, this source fills in many of the cracks and ties everything up for me as a researcher and what I needed to gather for my full understanding of the case and question that I’m researching. From this point on, I feel that I’ve done as much research as I can to fully get a grasp on the full case and Jeffrey’s sanity or insanity and essentially need to put the puzzle together and paint the full picture of all the facts.

The accumulation of all my research has gotten me to the point where I can see nearly every aspect of the case and to ultimately determine, in my opinion, whether Jeffrey was sane or not during both his childhood and when he committed the killings of his seventeen victims. Researching Jeffrey Dahmer has made me realize that he is truly one rare and extreme individual who was clearly organized and very ritualistic. Jeffrey Dahmer was not dumb or stupid, he had a clear thought in mind and worked until he felt he had reached his goal in mind, unfortunately. He is and will continue to be known as an individual who was removed from reality and pushed the limits of extremes in the world and humanistic values and ethics.

Works Cited

Jeffrey Dahmer-The Monster Within. Towers Production. A&E Television Networks, 2004. DVD.

Secondary Source – Serial Killer Timelines

My second source, a secondary source, is from the book Serial Killer Timelines: Illustrated Accounts of the World’s Most Gruesome Murders. It covers many different serial killers, but one in specific, Jeffrey Dahmer. It takes an in-depth look at the timeline of events of the time frame that Dahmer killed his victims. I chose this source because it offers some help with the specifics of the case that other sources are vague on. It takes readers step-by-step through the events that occurred when Jeffrey was killing his victims. This source is for anyone looking into serial killers and their timelines. Dr. Chris McNab wrote this to give information on the rare, dysfunctional people in the world that are nothing but dangerous.

From the beginning when I started reading, I could tell that this source would be beneficial to me for my research. This source gives a look into Jeffrey’s background and how his family was nothing but dysfunctional. That dysfunction, for the most part, pushed everyone away from each other. It then takes a look into the full life history of the Dahmer family and  Jeffrey’s parents divorce. Next, a full look into the timeline of events gives readers a sense of when Jeffery killed and who he killed. It just goes to show how unnoticed this killing spree went until it was finally halted.

After taking a look into Jeffrey Dahmer’s background and case history, readers get a sense of what the court proceedings were like. Jeffrey demonstrated undeniable guilt and regret for the actions he committed, but everyone really wondered if he truly did feel regret and sadness towards what he did. People can wonder and wonder forever about whether Jeffrey felt anything, but everyone can agree on the fact that he was a mentally ill individual who needed help. A picture is on the left side of one of the pages of the reading; it shows a poster, that hung in the courtroom, with a list of several of the victims and when they were murdered. More killings occurred in 1991 than any other year, 8 total. I took everything from this source in because it helped piece together a timeline of the time period when everything occurred. Although it did help piece together the timeline for me, it was very vague on certain aspects of the crime. It never covered whether he was deemed sane or not for trial and whether he was sane or not his entire life. All in all though, a very valuable source.

There were many things that I learned from this source. I learned how long Jeffrey Dahmer’s entire sentence was; his jail sentence would last 941 years, although he would never make it that long. I also learned who ended up taking Jeffrey’s life. Christopher Scarver, a convicted murderer beat Jeffrey to death in November of 1994. This source holds value for helping to fill in some of the cracks in the background of Jeffery Dahmer and his jail sentence. Again, missing from this source is a look at Jeffrey’s sanity throughout his life and during the killings. From this source, I intend to look into more about his sanity level. Taking a look at many different sources gives you many different perspectives, some have information that others don’t and others have small details that the larger sources don’t include. As a result many sources help to make a great representation of one event that caused so much uproar in a state and community.

Works Cited

McNab, Chris. Serial Killer Timelines: Illustrated Accounts of the World’s Most Gruesome Murders. Berkeley, CA: Ulysses, 2010. Print. 3 Nov. 2013


Secondary Source – Psychological Evaluation of Jeffrey Dahmer

My first main source is a psychological evaluation of Jeffrey Dahmer and I am beginning with this particular source so that I can get some insight to what Jeffrey was suffering from and possible determination whether he was fully sane during the time period when he killed his 17 victims. This source is definitely for someone who can understand psychology terminology and can keep an open mind as to why an individual, more specifically JD, commit the things they do, whether there is reasoning behind the act(s) or not. The evaluation is from a combination of three medical doctors. Their evaluation of JD ranges from his case history to possible neurobiological issues, such as Asperger’s Disorder, and the other many possible issues that Dahmer had or suffered from.

The evaluation is started out with the discussion of how serial killing has become a very popular topic in our society and how JD was an influence on other serial killers behaviors. The three doctors go in depth to the background history of JD and when the possible thoughts of killing and death began. It was concluded that JD suffered from an autistic developmental disorder, simply that a person suffers from social and communication difficulties and behaviors that are considered different and even repetitive compared to other individual’s behaviors, and also began to have a fascination with bones and the processing of them by way of chemicals. It was noted that when JD did have social interactions with fellow children or classmates, he would turn them into zombie-like individuals; he relished being able to have complete control over people. Throughout the evaluation it is heavily focused upon the fact of JD’s Asperger’s Disorder. The three doctors tie in how there is a connection between Asperger’s Disorder and sexual pathology, aggressive behavior, mood and personality psychopathology, and simply environmental factors as to gain insight as to why JD was an extreme case in this particular instance.

My response to this source was that JD was one case and that this is a rare type of individual. Now by rare, I simply mean an individual who suffers from a wide range of disorders and has the inability to have control over his urges of extreme unsocial norms (many of us have minor unsocial norms, we just normally control them or keep them hidden as to not gain attention). With this reading I tried to stay as neutral and unbiased as possible when building my response as to whether JD was truly sane or insane during this horrific killing spree that went unnoticed for such a long time. I do have difficulty accepting the fact that many people argued over whether he was sane or insane during the killing spree time period. A large majority of people believe that he was sane enough to understand what he was doing. I personally believe that there were separate times where he was sane and insane, I’m not concretely sure on when those times were, but with further research hope to narrow that down and have an answer.

This particular source really adds to my research, both in the beginning and later on, because it offers multiple views on JD and his full background history regarding disorders and possibly why he began this obsession with bones and chemical processing early on in life. I am always learning a new disorder that JD suffered from (it sometimes appears that he suffered from pretty much every disorder known to man). This source, to me, is incredibly valuable to my research. This source offers so much to me and my research question and really helps me to gain a full understanding of JD and his mind. There really isn’t much missing from this source, aside from a full timeline of what fully happened within the killing spree time period. From here, I will have an easier time with other sources and won’t have that vagueness that I began out with on this case. I fully look forward to my extended research into JD and his mind.

Works Cited

Silva, J.; Ferrari, Michelle; Leong, Gregory. “The Case of Jeffrey Dahmer: Sexual Serial Homicide from a Neuropsychiatric Developmental Perspective.” Journal of Forensic Science Nov. 2002 Vol. 46 No. 6. Web. 29 Oct. 2013

Jeffrey Dahmer Research Question

My research question regarding the Wisconsin serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, is when did he first begin having thoughts of killing and was there a purpose for it or was it just there. I’m interested in this question because the mind has always intrigued me and also why certain people have those disturbed thoughts. The question is important, because it will help shed light on why certain people’s brains have neuron misfires and ultimately why those individuals have disturbed thoughts. I don’t have a clear understanding of my question because there were many psychologists and psychiatrists that evaluated Dahmer and they all had different reasons as to why he did the things he did and the possible solution(s) to his disturbed mind.