Luka Magnotta: The Problems Behind The Killer

Luka Magnotta. Known from the documentary series about him, “Don’t F*** With Cats.” He was a sadistic man who uploaded 3 videos of killing cats which would eventually lead to the murder of Lin Jun, a Chinese undergrad student who was attending Concordia University. The path that led up to this moment in time was a brutal one, and it’s time people address it with full facts and information.


Magnotta suffered much abuse and trauma at the hands of his family. Homophobia, emotional and psychological abuse, Magnotta wasn’t given the attention that any child needs. He went to numerous doctors and psychiatrists to help him after hearing voices and being paranoid all the time and after some time, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, which his father also had.


When looking at cases or experiences that have mental issues involved, an invisible line sprouts out of nowhere and a common question pops into the heads of people looking at the case. How does one decide when someone willingly committed the crime, or if that person was influenced by their illness and wasn’t in the right state of mind? It’s hard to determine when and how to give sentences when taking mental illnesses into account. 


As someone who has suffered through traumatic experiences also involving my mother, I can confidently say that I don’t feel the need to go kill some cats using a vacuum or killing an innocent person for the attention I lacked as a child. But, with anything, people perceive trauma differently. For me, I use dark humour and comedy as an outlet so I can avoid talking about it. For Magnotta, my methods wouldn’t work for because he needs that support from doctors and psychiatrists. But, regardless of what he had suffered, no one forced him to make videos of himself killing cats and an entire human being. 


When approaching cases and experiences involving mental illness, people need to keep in mind of how that person was affected by the experience and that not everyone will react the same way; our different reactions tell us that we’re human. 


Another big idea is that when it comes to animal cruelty is that people don’t seem to take that seriously in comparison to the actual murder or crime. As any crime show can say, psychopaths want the attention that murder of anything brings. Before killing anyone, psychopaths will start out with something small: smaller animals because they’re defenseless and can’t do anything to fight against something bigger than they are. Magnotta, before killing Lin, made 3 videos killing kittens because A) he wanted the attention and B) he wanted to test out his desires before he started to escalate. 


Magnotta made those videos because he knew it would get him attention, and even though it was negative attention and there was a witch hunt out for him, he still got the attention that he wanted from people. By killing something that is beloved by everyone on the internet, he had everyone’s eyes on him, which is what he has craved since he was a child.


When looking at psychopaths, mental illness and animal cruelty are so intertwined that they become synonymous with one another. These two are big indicators that someone will escalate in their crimes and the fact that neither of these are taken seriously in our society and when someone actually dies, people will say, “I never saw it coming.” They did, but they just didn’t take those red flags seriously. 


To any student reading this, it seems like this has no real relevance to their everyday lives. But, I can say that it does. Mental health is something that affects everyone’s lives. Last year, a 16-year-old male took his own life and he was described as outgoing, friendly and always ready to help. Even with showing no, “clear signs” of degrading mental health, he was still suffering without broadcasting it. Everyone is suffering to some extent; the only difference is who’s broadcasting it and who isn’t.


Always be looking for people who are suffering, whether it be publicly or silently. Not noticing could be the difference between life-and-death for that person. Speak up and voice your concerns. Withholding your concerns doesn’t help anybody, and it certainly doesn’t help the person who’s crying out for help.