News broke that a man named Justin Mohn beheaded his father and posted a video of it on YouTube on Wednesday. Is there a deeper meaning behind the fact that this story got so much coverage, or is it simply because newsworthy stories include values like unusualness?
Throughout our lives, we are exposed to stories that are painfully gruesome in several ways. All news and media are publicized regardless of age, and I often wonder if negative or violent behaviors stem from such stories. Not only do children become exposed to brutality, but everybody, regardless of identity, will be exposed. At the point I am at in my life, I am stuck between the idea that publicizing will bring forth a sense of recognition of wrongdoing, and that it will inflate the idea of potential attention.
Crime is an unfortunately prevalent factor in everyday existence. People will commit crimes until the sun swallows the earth, and nobody can do anything about it regardless of the advocacy to stop crimes from happening. There are many different reasons as to why crimes are committed, and some of them can include mental illness, vengeful mindsets or the lure of being noticed by a large number of people. Though these are not excuses for the behaviors that can occur, it does play a role. This is what we need to advocate for, as we need to begin prioritizing the physical and mental health of everybody. When people show signs of harmful thoughts or are executing uneasy habits, it is our job as spectators to capture it and make a difference.
It is evident that we will never be able to stop every crime from being committed. As we have seen, things happen out of nowhere; however, if crime becomes less glamorized by the public, fewer people will feel inclined to perform such acts.
There is a balance between informing and romanticizing. There are many controversies in terms of what is balancing and what is romanticizing. Several people think that the Netflix original “Dahmer” was a show that romanticized the horrors that Jeffrey Dahmer committed. Evan Peters, the actor who portrayed Jeffrey Dahmer, is a widely enjoyed actor who is known for playing unsettling roles. Due to his societal appreciation, many people think the show was taken in a different direction. It is similar to the way people felt about the series “American Horror Story,” as many found his role appealing even though it was dreadful. I personally love the show, but I understand the controversy.
Similarly, the Netflix original movie “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” was seen as a glamorization of the terrors committed by Ted Bundy. Within the movie, it showed women at his court trials being obsessed with him. A woman named Liz Kendall was in a very long relationship with him and became heartbroken over him. The movie also showed Bundy being his own lawyer throughout his trials. Because of this, many people believe that it made Bundy look innocent and loving.
On the basis of news coverage, stories are consistently shown and talked about in extensive detail; our population — likely — does not need to know every detail. For example, a frightful case known by the media as the “Idaho Murders” became very popular in November 2022 when a man by the name of Bryan Kohberger became the prime suspect in the killings of four college students. There were ample details shared about the case. A news reporter named Brian Entin covered a majority of the case, and he often panned the camera to gruesome sights. One of the details shown was blood dripping down the walls on the outside of the house.
There are several other stories that have been shared in sickening specifics. Cases such as the unsolved JonBenét Ramsey murder, the unjust murder of Nicole Brown Simpson by O.J. Simpson, the prolific serial killer John Wayne Gacy, the CTE-influenced murders by Aaron Hernandez, the murder-suicide of Gabby Petito by Brian Laundrie and the unsolved Black Dahlia-Elizabeth Short murder have made an enormous impact on society. Additionally, school shootings have been publicized to an unforgiving extent. Though it is important to be talked about and advocated against, school shooters often seek revenge or crave a sense of attention. The information needs to be given in a way that does not give school shooters, murderers or dangerous individuals the power to be seen by others who have had similar thoughts. It is an incredibly difficult topic, but it has become far too prevalent to be so outwardly announced.
To move forward with the idea that crime is too broadcast in a sense of maintaining safety, the inclusion of unnecessary descriptions of criminals must be eradicated. By including the ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, race, class or age of a person committing a crime, it sets a sense of stigma and stereotyping to the minds of news consumers. It does not matter what your identity is. It matters about the crime and how the rate of these crimes can be lowered.
I believe that crime is an important thing to talk about. Though it can be controversial, scary and discomforting to think about, the only way a solution can be made is to enlighten others on the power of desensitization. By inflating the crimes to the media so unsympathetically, it leads to the idea that crimes of these proportions are normal. We should not see this every day, and it is not normal. We need to become resensitized.