When I was an undergraduate English Literature student, I had the opportunity to write a dissertation in my final year about (relatively) whatever I wanted. I had just finished a module on American Literature, with a emphasis on war-related fiction and I knew what I wanted to write about: the representation of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Gulf War Literature. So started a life-long interest in the effects of killing on individuals serving in the armed forces and in civilian life, such as serial killers. There are a wide range of different angles this type of interest can take and I will start covering some of them over the course of the next few months on this blog.
Needless to say, regardless of the situation, taking another life is a pretty big deal. You are effectively extinguishing a life and reducing a living being to a motionless body that will then need to be disposed of in whichever method is most culturally appropriate. The effect of this kind of death in far-reaching, from the individual to the family of the deceased. However, understanding the reasoning (or sometimes lack thereof) behind a killing and the subsequent effects of that event can be of great value to immediate communities, the legal system and society as a whole.