True crime stories captivate us, or should I say, capture us?
NOTE: As some grieving families feel like fodder for entertainment, others feel joy that their story is being told, keeping the name of their loved one alive. My empathy for the victims has only deepened with the viewing of these shows. Life matters. It is up to each one of us to be a loving, kind person. We need to act out of love and kindness if we are to make a positive impact upon others.
A Guilty Pleasure
During this past year of pandemic, I filled my free time with these shows. It became a guilty pleasure; I knew I shouldn’t have a desire to watch…but I did anyway. I know I’m not alone, though. In fact, that’s why the Investigation Discovery network exists…it’s all true crime programming.
Scott Bonn, author of Why We Love Serial Killers, says:
“Serial killers tantalize people much like traffic accidents, train wrecks or natural disasters. The public’s fascination with them can be seen as a specific manifestation of its more general fixation on violence and calamity. In other words, the actions of a serial killer may be horrible to behold but much of the public simply cannot look away due to the spectacle.”
Bonn goes on to say, “People also receive a jolt of adrenaline as a reward for witnessing terrible deeds. Adrenaline is a hormone that produces a powerful, stimulating and even addictive effect on the human brain.” That’s why roller coasters, horror movies, haunted houses, and such exist, and why some people participate in risky activities such as skydiving, bungee jumping, zip lining, and the such. It’s experiencing fear in a controlled environment.
As a child, I loved reading Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown. Suspense is a rush. It’s good versus evil. It’s the curiosity of WHY? As a young teenager, the idea of being a detective drew me in, but I also knew I could never really have that career. I liked being a safe distance from crime scenes; I have no desire to get up close and personal.
Interest Spawned in Youth
My interest is also likely seeded in a few incidents of my younger years: