OPINION: The Human Fascination with Murderers


Zoe Long, Writer

In 2019 Netflix released a true crime documentary named “Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer”. I truly recommend it, as it is able to so brilliantly explore the inner workings of the mind of a murderer. The three part documentary follows Luka Magnotta as he moves from taking the lives of kittens up to taking the life of a human. Every detail of how he planned his murders based on horror movies, and framed himself for attention, is explored. Three episodes, each around an hour long, are spent indulging this man’s ego even more. Out of all that time, minimal is spent talking about Jun Lin, Magnotta’s human victim. I’ve watched this series 3 times, and although it is fascinating, there is also a sense of guilt that comes with watching it because, as all viewers of it should know, this is exactly what Luka Magnotta would’ve wanted: Lots of airtime and lots of people watching. 

Thankfully, I am not the only person I know interested in true crime, but it also made me curious as to why humans have such a fascination when it comes to murder and destruction. Why is it that whenever something horrible happens, we always talk about the story of the killer, instead of the victims? Why is it that more people are most likely to know the name of the Boston bomber and not the names of the people that died that day? Our brains fixate on the wrong things, but why? 

Many psychologists have answered this question, but not always in the same way. Dr. Paul G. Mattiuzzi, a forensic psychologist, says it is because evil is fascinating to us; That we want to know what drove these people to kill somebody, since we would never do it ourselves. Dr. Marissa Harrison, an associate professor of psychology at Penn State Harrisburg, says that she believes people are interested in true crime because “we’ve evolved to pay attention to things that could harm us so that we can better avoid them”. Others say that we watch because we are glad we aren’t the victim, while others say we are glad we aren’t the killer. My personal two favorites, and the ones I feel are the most accurate to why I get so entranced, are the fact that watching true crime gives a person that same jolt of adrenaline as one would get on a roller coaster, information from Scott Bonn, a professor of criminology at Drew University, and that we enjoy trying to solve the mystery. At the end of the day, the reasons as to why true crime is so intriguing definitely vary from person to person. 

Personally, I see mainly no issues with the idea of true crime and the human interest in it. My only objection would be a build off of points I brought up earlier. The idolization that can manifest itself from these shows, podcasts, books, etc can be dangerous. Just from a quick google search one can find serial killer coloring books, shirts, posters, and most anything else one can think up. It is so incredibly unfair that people continue to put the spotlight on the killers, instead of the actual people killed. The feeding of these people’s self-conceit will most definitely do more harm than good, and set an example for future serial killers as to just as much publicity and fame one can get from murdering someone.  

***This opinion article reflects the voice of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of The Viking Times as a whole.  Like most news outlets, The Viking Times is a non-partisan media platform.***