When in the mind set of an FBI profiler or someone working in the criminal intent unit, there is a need to understand how to separate work life from social life. The person doing this cannot be like a seasoned homicide detective who builds a wall of what they call the `isolation of affect’ between themselves and the horrors they see. To do this job effectively one must be able to laugh and joke around with some child-killer or look at the horrors of some case and casually discuss what had happened to a victim. By trying to visualize and imagine what the victim experienced and try to figure out why the subject did these things to this victim. To be able to do that it really becomes emotionally and physically draining says John Douglas, but it is what has to be done in order to stay sane. As John shared more of his experience with us, he told us about some questions he would ask the prisoners he would visit just to better his knowledge and skills. He would ask questions like: Why did this killer select this victim over that one? And how did they get that child out of that shopping center? Did this suspect follow the press (reports)? Asking these questions helps give a better idea of what was going through the killer’s mind when he chose that specific victim or chose to commit that crime in this specific area.
To know the killer, one must know the victim and the crime scene. When it comes to the victim one must know everything there is to know. For example, how and where the crime took place, what happened verbally, physically, and sexually because without these aspects it is hard to really know who he is; to know the artist you must look at the artwork as John stated. John then goes into detail about his process prior to the interrogation with the killer: Before the interview he has to know the scene, he must look at the crime scene and the crime scene photographs. He also has to look at the preliminary police reports, autopsy photographs and read the autopsy protocol. John has to do an analysis of the victim called victimology, where he tries to ask the question, `Why was this victim the victim of this particular crime?’ Then, armed with all that information, he’ll go in there. Talking with the criminal is a crucial part of investigations, especially when there are multiple suspects. Talking with each one will help narrow down the options. Also with the more verbal communication the more John Douglas can watch the suspect and get a feel for his body language and the answers the suspect gives to the questions he is asked. Body language speaks very loudly to the types of people who study human behavior and criminology.
With different kinds of murderers comes different amounts of victims and different kinds of kills. There are three main categories murderers fall under and what makes each one different. For example, as John puts it in to perspective, a serial killer is a killer who kills three or more victims and there is a cooling-off period in between each of the killings. And the crimes are relatively sophisticated. They’re premeditated to the point the fantasy is there and they are looking to act out the fantasy. The mass murderer is generally one event. All these post office cases and school shootings are mass murders. We say it’s four or more victims are involved in the slaughter. Generally, it ends in suicide by the subject or suicide by cop, where the subject puts himself in the position. The spree killer–Andrew Cunanan, Angel Maturino Resendiz–is generally known to law enforcement and is in a fugitive status and is killing, killing, killing. He continues to talk about how most serial killers are male. People will sometimes say that it is unusual to have black serial killers. That was true up until 1981 with Wayne Williams (child murders in Atlanta). But we’ve had cases since then. Proportionately, by population generally it is the white male, and when he does kill it is much more bizarre, like decapitation. Women usually will kill people close to them. Serial killing is really a male thing, a testosterone kind of a thing. Which is something I found to be really interesting because in a lot of crime shows I have watched, there is a good number of women killing people they don’t know or abducting children and making them their own.
Anonymous. INSIDE THE MIND OF THE MIND HUNTER: An Interview with Legendary FBI Agent John Douglas. 2017, Spring.