Being immersed in true crime media is exciting and exhilarating. It lets us see the darkest parts of people and lets us dive deep into the minds of the most twisted. It’s an escape, though not exactly a pleasant one, from our everyday lives. But, like everything else, there are aspects of true crime that makes the hair on the backs of our necks (and not in a good way).
There’s so much focus on the killers and not at all on the victims
The people who are most affected by these human monsters get little to no recognition.It’s easy to rattle off several names of serial killers, but it’s a struggle to come up with even one name of a serial killer’s victim. To understate it, it feels a little disrespectful.
Media sensationalizing tragedy
We trust the news to give us the truth, but we also expect them to give us exciting stories. So in order to boost clicks and views, the media will stretch the truth. It seems harmless, but it affects the victims, their families, and sometimes even legal proceedings in extreme cases.
Hollywood casting hot actors in roles as killers
Yeah, ok, we get that Ted Bundy was handsome and that’s why he got away with all his murders, but that’s no excuse for how killers are romanticized. There is a difference between being interested in a person and being attracted to them. The line should be very clear when dealing with people this sick.
Coverage of high risk victims vs low risk victims
Trans women, POC, and people living in poverty are all significantly more likely to be killed than any other demographic. So why is it that the murders that become famous are almost exclusively white, cis, straight “ordinary people”? Solving the murders of high risk victims should have the same energy behind them as do low risk victims.
Perpetuating toxic masculinity
A strong, deep trend throughout true crime stories is toxic masculinity: dejected men who take their feelings out on others by taking others’ lives. By ignoring it, it’s being reinforced, which keeps making more killers. It gives troubled men a horrible example that he could seek his revenge and get famous doing it.
The system is flawed
All the police miscommunications, all the untested rape kits, all the tampered evidence, all the hoops to jump through: getting to know true crime means getting to know the US justice system. And boy does it need some freakin’ work.
Unsettling unsolved mysteries
If cold cases are your thing, then you know how frustrating they can be. There’s never closure for you, for the victims, or for the families affected by the crime. It’s the complete opposite of a fairytale ending.
The presumption of innocence is nice in theory, but impossible in practice. It’s as little as the choice of photos in reports that could change the public’s (and jury’s and judge’s) opinion. Whether guilty people get to go free or innocent people take the fall, it is agonizing when justice isn’t served based on biases.
Exploitation of violent photos
Social media makes it so easy for graphic photos and videos to be spread around like wildfire. It’s unjust to allow these explicit images of these helpless victims to be passed around on public platform for the benefit of clout.
The families of victims being forced to relive the experience
Not only is the person who took away their loved one regaled as a public icon, the families of these victims do not get the chance to grieve when the tragedy keeps being revisited. It is human nature to want to study others, but the public should let cases rest so the families can rest as well.
We will never stop investigating people who commit heinous crimes, but maybe we should re-evaluate how we’re doing it.