The true crime behind true crime

Victoria Kirova, Copy Chief

With the current true crime obsession many individuals share, questions arise about when this infatuation with real-life terror becomes problematic. Though some people innocently view this type of media in order to delve deeper into the mindsets of these inhuman people, consuming too much true crime content is downright concerning. 

To put it plainly, true crime dehumanizes the victims of these abhorrent crimes. When shows and movies are created detailing the explanations behind the killer’s means, the victim simply becomes another casualty. They are another unknown name that is used to drive the main “plot” surrounding the actions of the abuser. 

The problem with this occurrence is that most of the time the victim or a relative of theirs is still alive, and is forced to revisit their trauma. They are also often not even contacted prior to filming, so they have no say regarding what they would feel comfortable about sharing with the world. While this media is a form of entertaining pastime for some, for others this extremely insensitive approach to showbusiness is disturbing and often even inaccurate portrayal of the real-life events.

This common issue also glorifies the person committing the barbaric crime. It makes their name memorable, as these shows and movies are often named after them, and feature an attention-getting title. A known example of this is the Ted Bundy movie, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.” The inclusion of these adjectives make the deeds of this cynical man seem like that of a character. They make Ted Bundy the equivalent of a villain in a storybook, instead of showcasing the very real man he was. 

Another controversy surrounding true crime is the fact that some people feel sympathy for the murderers, rapists, and sociopaths of the world. These despicable people often have traumatic backstories that are showcased in these mysteries. Their actions are then blamed on an absent parent, an internal conflict, or another type of scarring occurrence. While it is important to understand the full story, there is absolutely no justification for the crimes committed, and any pity on the audience’s part is quite frankly disgusting. Though it is not their fault because they are made to feel these sympathetic emotions. 

These feelings of empathy that viewers are made to feel almost praises the killer and makes them seem like just another misunderstood person. The desire for movies and tv shows to include these tragic backstories stems from their need to include some conflict and turmoil, resulting in the unfair rehabilitation of these sinister people. This completely disregards the feelings of the victims and their families, stirring up even more agonizing emotions. 

True crime content has been viewed and encouraged to a point of toxicity. Though they make some feel powerful as they dissect the true motives behind a criminal’s behavior, Hollywood is blending the line between fiction and reality, creating the nauseating glorification of these abominable individuals and a reduction of their crimes.