So help me out with this.
1) Correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel sure that it’s not uncommon, when a guy is murdered for a pair of shoes, or for the 23 cents in his pocket, that we tend to read commentary about how this murder is made particularly tragic and/or reprehensible by the fact that the killer gained so little.
2) The murder of schoolteacher Katie Locke is being widely condemned as particularly tragic and/or reprehensible because the killer had sex with her corpse, which was apparently his goal all along.
Do you see my problem here? How can a good outcome for the killer make a murder both better and worse?
Alright, let’s ask what the key difference is. Here’s one: Robbing a corpse (or a soon-to-be corpse) is a zero-sum game. What the robber acquires comes from the pockets of the heirs. Sex with a corpse is probably a positive-sum game; it’s unlikely to interfere with anyone else’s plans.
Unfortunately, that only makes things even more unsettling. It leads to this syllogism:
- People feel better about a murder when they learn that the killer stole $10,000 from the heirs as opposed, to, say, 23 cents. This suggests that they care more about the killer than they do about the heirs, who could be pretty much anyone.
- People feel worse about a murder when they learn that the killer got some satisfaction even if it came at nobody’s (additional) expense. This suggests that they care a negative amount about the killer.
Put all that together, and these people must be pretty much seething with hatred for the world at large.
Or to put this another way: It appears (taking the murder as given) that people want killers to achieve their goals when and only when those goals are achieved at someone else’s expense. That’s pretty much the definition of “anti-social”.