Jack The Ripper: A Clear Motive Of Neutralization

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Feigenbaum’s ability to lead his normal life alongside his murderous tendencies is a clear motive of Neutralization. Neutralization is the theory that killers will often go onto murderous highs to satiate their psychotic needs, before returning to a calm low state where they may conduct their proper life without suspicion (Matza, 1964). If Carl Feigenbaum was indeed Jack the Ripper, his job as a seaman would have allowed him to travel from place to place without drawing attention, but also enable him to go about Whitechapel unnoticed. Feigenbaum passed as an ordinary merchant seaman for most of his life, proving that he had to ability to rationalize his own crimes in order to reach the calmness required for his normal life. This was also believed to be the case for Jack the Ripper, who, like Feigenbaum, could slip around suspicion by maintaining these calm lows. After being fired as a gardener, Feigenbaum murdered his landlady, which could be related to his lack of a stable life and way to neutralize his own crimes.

Another sign of neutralization is that the serial killer will often deny responsibility for the crime committed because they have already de-escalated or ‘neutralized’ the crime to the point where they don’t believe they’ve done anything wrong (Matza, 1964). Feigenbaum did this by making up a whole story of his friend staying with him to push the blame off of himself and therefore eliminating his own guilt or natural morales completely. Another theory that has been debated is Social Control Theory, which states that since the supposed killer never had a family structure (absent parent/s), they never learn the boundaries of society (Hirschi, 1969). Whitechapel police reports from 1888 speculated that Jack the Ripper would have an absent father figure due to his hatred of women. Feigenbaum fits this perfectly because he never had a father, therefore creating the sort of fracture in his family life that could have led to his lack of knowledge for the laws of society.

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Another sign of this theory is that serial killers with this motive often kill impulsively out of fluctuating hatred (Hirschi, 1969). All of the Jack the Ripper murders appear to be impulsive as nearly all of the five canonical victims were killed in the middle of the street and not seemingly planned. This is apparently obvious in the case of Catherine Eddowes, who was supposedly killed and mutilated because the Ripper didn’t have a chance to maim Elizabeth Stride nearly 40 minutes earlier, and therefore being an unplanned, impulsive kill. Similar to Stride’s murder, Feigenbaum did not plan the landlady’s murder because he didn’t have an escape route or believable cover for the matter. He was known to be crafty and intelligent, so there is no reason that he made a mistake when he had supposedly been doing this for a long time. If Feigenbaum hadn’t killed so impulsively that night, he would have gotten away, just as he did with the Ripper murders. Feigenbaum’s psychological state is undeniably the same as Jack the Ripper’s would have been, and therefore bringing very strong evidence that Feigenbaum was, in fact, the cause of the mysterious murders of 1888.


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