Morbid Curiosity

After a very detailed discussion this morning about a news article rabbit hole I fell into about a toddler being raped and murdered, my husband asked me, out of curiosity, “Why do you like watching those programs?”

I explained it wasn’t a program, but a news article that I read and that I was very disturbed by it, not that I liked it. But I immediately apologized by saying, “I know, it’s bad. I shouldn’t read this stuff. It’s probably bad for me.”

And he reassured me. He wasn’t judging me, simply curious as to why I would fill my head with the tragedies of man.

And I had to ask myself the same question. Why?

The simple answer is, like police officers, prosecutors, media producers and consumers, I am fascinated by the horrific details of true crime. I watch 38-3 on over-the-air TV. The Escape channel. Constant 24-hour true crime programming. The most bizarre, twisted, real-life legal cases and the contorted faces and lives of the victims and criminals who are found therein. I should stop watching this stuff. But like many Americans, I totally binge-watched the Netflix doc Making a Murderer.

I wish I could quit you, True Crime.

The long answer would be…a reminder. I like to remind myself of how far a person can go. What a human being is capable of. Because that is a reminder of how good most everyone is on a daily basis. We don’t rape each other, kill each other or hurt each other even. Most of the time. And when someone does act heinously, I like to ask the seemingly unanswerable question of why. Why did this person go so far? And the answer is frequently simple actually. That monster was made.

Making a Murderer was a most apt title. Murderers are made. By their parents, by society, by rejection, abuse and fear. By ignorance. By hate.

Reading about terrible circumstance is like pricking your finger to see if you’ll bleed. Do I still feel bad when I hear horrible news? The answer is-always.

Guess what. Even if someone rapes and murders. Even a toddler. Even a one-year-old baby. Jesus asks us to forgive that person. We’re supposed to love that person. This is truly the seemingly unanswerable question. How?

Someone commented on the news article.

“If that baby was mine, there would be no question of jail time. I would kill the man who did it.”

Me too.

That’s how I feel. Stealing that man’s life. If someone touched my daughter, laid a finger on her, I would be a mad dog.

But God asks us to forgive. To love.

That’s a great question. How?

I will always be fascinated by psychology, true crime and the extent of evil in humankind. And I will always be fascinated by the extreme opposite. People are also capable of the most extraordinary good. And I am endlessly interested in the motivations of humans and the details of what they do.  Observation brings understanding. Understanding brings the ability to change. And the ability to change brings hope.

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