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John Wayne Gacy: The Role of Childhood in Becoming a Serial Killer

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The factors of a person’s past can influence the way they will succeed or fail in the future. For example, John Wayne Gacy had a horrible childhood and from those experiences became one of the deadliest serial killers. The terrible early life he went through influenced the outcome of his subsequent years.

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Trauma from early years can have detrimental effects on the human brain. John Wayne Gacy grew up watching his alcoholic father beat his mother and siblings, while being beaten himself. This obviously caused Gacy to become a different person than what he would’ve been without watching and experiencing this abuse. The psychological effects on a child witnessing domestic violence that relate to Gacy are poor judgement, lying, and assaul). This childhood trauma helped cause the decisions Gacy would make in the future.

Gacy grew up in a blue collar family and but had a pretty awful early life. Not only was Gacy an outsider at home, he was at school too. He could barely play with other children due to a heart condition. Gacy later discovered he was attracted to males which caused more confusion and pain. Eventually, he grew from some of these circumstances and during his adulthood he was well liked in his community. He often dressed up as a clown for children’s parties, which made his community like him even more.

Even though the people around him were fond of him he still clearly had some issues. A quick assumption to why Gacy became a killer was because of his past. Another reason might be because he was obviously boxed in with his sexuality. He married, divorced, married again, and had a few children. While being closeted with his sexuality, one could assume he tried to hide it by marrige and children. This is most likely the main reason why he targeted his sexual assaults on young men.

John Wayne Gacy, also known as “the Killer Clown” murdered about thirty young and adult men. He used his construction work to lure the boys in promising them work, but eventually captured, sexually assaulted, and killed the hopeful youth. In some of his killings he would dress up in his clown costume to sexually abuse and strangle his victims. Police would eventually find that Gacy would hide most of the bodies in a crawlspace and a few underneath his home. Evidently, he was caught by suspicious police who obtained a search warrant for his house and found the bodies of the young boys. Gacy was soon put to trial, found guilty, and in 1994 he was executed by lethal injection.

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A person’s life can be altered by the experiences they had as a child. The psychological damage a child goes through ensures the pain will follow them straight into adulthood. Thus, this causes the adolescent to thrive or wither. John Wayne Gacy’s story proves that one may crumble from their past, because his terrible childhood turned him into the monster we all know today as “the Killer Clown”.

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John Wayne Gacy: The Role Of Childhood In Becoming A Serial Killer. (2022, April 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 6, 2023, from
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