As reporter Rachelle Hampton told Elon Green of The Appeal in 2020, real crime “defines the justice system as inherently fair, and it views long prison terms as something to aspire to.”
The real crime may be based on reality, but it depicts a fictional world, where every Uber driver is going to kill you, every coworker is a secret murderer, and the American landscape is far more violent than it actually is. . (It’s perhaps no surprise that I heard an ad for a security system on an episode of one of my favorite true crime podcasts on a recent morning.)
But the perpetrators of the real crime are responding to public demand – an audience of which I am a part. When I listen to a true crime podcast or read books about the Manson family murders, I listen, for my pleasure, people’s worst moments.
On my long journeys, or while waiting for a train, I listen to real crime podcasts with titles like “Serial Killers”, “Crime Junkie” and “Medical Murders”, immersed in the stories of the worst people. possible committing the worst possible acts for my own entertainment. I want the crimes to be brutal, I want the case to be complex, even labyrinthine, then I want to take off my headphones and continue with my day.
But for the families of those affected by these horrific crimes, the stories of what happened to their loved ones never really end. In an interview with Time magazine, Rosalee Clark, an Australia-based woman whose brother, stepfather and mother were brutally murdered in 2014, said, “We are being treated like fodder. We fuel people’s fascination.
In real crime, the victims can take the back seat, while the people who killed them take precedence. Filmmakers make movies about serial killers and the people who hunt them – but we rarely see the stories of the people they killed: what their lives were like, what their dreams were for the future, the families. that they liked.
I asked Morrison how he was able to talk to people in their darkest times. He told me that when he was a young reporter, an editor asked him to interview the widow of a sergeant who was hit by a car and killed. He came “dangerously close” to quitting. “The last thing in the world I wanted to do was land on someone at the time of their most intense grief and ask them all these invasive questions.”