So,
I'm a horrible forensics/crime addict (real forensics, not CSI), it's one of my biggest personality flaws, and trust me, that's tough competition.

But it suddenly struck me the other day, what in god's name makes a person think "you know, I've been chewing on this, and the very best solution to my problem is to whack X."
I'm not talking about crimes with no planning, where the murderer tries to cover up afterward, but the guy who thinks killing his wife is a good solution to a custody battle, or killing a business partner is the best way to hide his own embezzlement activity etc.
It seems to me a different sort of thinking process than "I know how to steal a million bucks and get away with it."
What is it that makes people think it's a good idea? Otherwise reasonably intelligent folks?
1 2
Oops, posted before I was finished.
I am just trying to get my hands on this idea or feeling that outside of gang environments, there is some kind of self-hypnosis at work that makes a person stop examining their options and focus in on murder. Something I can't quite figure out, something akin to a child-like lack of awareness of the context a person actually lives in...I dunno...

Anyway, I have a hard time motivating killers in my stories as a result. My killers are always impulsive, would love to branch out. Any insights most appreciated.
Mysti
Mysti Berry wrote in too much haste:
Oops, posted before I was finished. I am just trying to get my hands on this idea or feeling that ... in my stories as a result. My killers are always impulsive, would love to branch out. Any insights most appreciated.

It's because to some people murder simply isn't all that big a deal, and in between getting away with murder or getting away with embezzlement, the former seems more likely than the latter.
jaybee
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What is it that makes people think it's a good idea? Otherwise reasonably intelligent folks?

Um... 'cause the can? No, now really, what are the stats of unsolved crimes? So, killing your wife is just dumb (among a rather vast array of other negatives) as the husband is the first suspect. But statistically a discrete knock off just may be a practical solution for a certain class of interpersonal problems.
-sam
Er, not that I'm recommending the practice...
-sam
(snips)
But it suddenly struck me the other day, what in god's name makes a person think "you know, I've been chewing on this, and the very best solution to my problem is to whack X."

A friend of mine who's a cop once told me, "If smart people ever started committing crimes regularly, society would collapse."

And when you think about it, killing somebody is pretty dumb.

But people do get away with it. OJ got away with it. Robert Blake probably got away with it. (In Blake's case, he lucked out and got a Texas-style jury that was only concerned with the question, "Did the victim have it coming?") For every one of those "Cold Case Files" episodes are dozens of unsolved crimes people have gotten away with. Bank robbery is a crime that has an extremely high rate of arrest and conviction, still there are scads of cases of serial bank robbers who get away with many heists before they're finally caught.
Americans tend see somebody do something and think, "I could do that!" Think of the people who've never sung a note in their lives who show up for "American Idol" auditions. Remember the Texas Cheerleader Mom? She thought she had the perfect plan, convoluted as it was, that killing her daughter's rival's mom would somehow upset her daughter's rival at cheerleader try-outs and her daughter would make the squad. That's real house-of-cards logic but she thought it would work.
It parallels the anti-intellectualism that pervades American society. So very many Americans hate smart people. The whole term limits movement in politics is fueled by people who think they know more about politics than politicians. Folks turn their backs on real cancer specialists and travel to Tijuana to drink herbal remedies that reduce the size of bank accounts rather than tumors.
Recently, a friend of mine got word that a business loan she thought had been approved, suddenly and (from what the bank told her) arbitrarily was denied. We got off on a revenge fantasy of robbing the bank. I was in full screenwriter mode and conjured up a caper which with the proper research and everything going right might just work! It's kinda spooky, in retrospect, how charged we got over the plan. (Okay, there was liquor involved. Sue me.) But if we were a little dumber, we might have tried to pull it off. Hell, we may still.
Joe Myers
"Dishonesty is the second best policy."
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So, I'm a horrible forensics/crime addict (real forensics, not CSI), it's one of my biggest personality flaws, and trust me, ... and get away with it." What is it that makes people think it's a good idea? Otherwise reasonably intelligent folks?

I suspect that for many people there's a progression toward the decision.
A casual thought (if only my boss died I could take over his job) can fester until it's the thing that makes the most sense because the eventual victim becomes a huge monstrous problem in the eyes of the killer.
Another thing: A lot of sociopaths don't foam at the mouth. They're just not burdened with the same kind of conscience that most of us are.

Ever see "A Shock to the System"? A fave film of mine, with Michael Caine as a conscience-free charming killer. He manages to justify every murder perfectly from his POV.

"You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you've got something to say."
F. Scott Fitzgerald
What is it that makes people think it's a good idea? Otherwise reasonably intelligent folks?[/nq]Well, what other choice do they have? By their thinking, it's just the best way to solve the issue once and for all - eliminate the source of the problem. I have a theory that crimes are perpetrated by stupid people, because chances are they will get caught - but they're stupid enough to that think they will get away with it. I have a friend that used to work in homicide, he told me that he would sit around with the other detectives and try to think of the perfect murder.

They couldn't do it. They would mull around a plan for a few days, and one of the detectives would say "Hey... you forgot (something)." "Of course", he then told me, "The best murders are those where there is absolutely no connection between the victim and the perp. They're simply random acts of evil." He doesn't work in homicide any more.
But that's just the thing. Until the drug wars started, homicide solve rates were INCREDIBLY high, even before DNA testing.

Still chewing on it. Lifetime risk liability, I just don't get it...

Mysti
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