Opinion | Stop romanticizing serial killers

By Neshmia Malik, Columnist

It’s no secret we live in a corrupt world with corrupt people. As a society, we have decided that prices must be paid for committing corrupt or harmful acts. These punishments include prison, fines, injunctions and other consequences. We consider these punishments necessary to deter crime, so it seems unfathomable to consider a notorious violent criminal achieving the stardom that comes with being the subject of a documentary.  Yet this very thing happens today. 

Over the last couple of decades, there have been several notorious serial killers who, for some reason, capture the attention of the public. The way our society has started romanticizing the lives of serial killers and murderers is unhealthy. From Jeffery Dahmer to Ted Bundy, serial killers have become the meat of too many horror and crime movies. Producers want to make such stories more alluring by basing them on real events. 

Jeffery Dahmer is one of the more “popular” serial killers, and a few movies have already been made on his life story and the crimes he committed. As exciting of a topic it has become, we, as a society, should not be giving so much attention to the psychotics of dangerous people. 

Netflix released a series on Ted Bundy, along with the recordings and tapes made while he was on death row. The documentary  highlights the nuances and inner workings of the serial killer — a form of publicity that no murderer deserves. Another series that creates a similar phenomenon is the show, “You.” Although the show isn’t based on real events, it creates a sort of empathy for the serial killer, who, as he reiterates throughout the show, is “just trying to find love.” 

A common theme among these “serial killer” shows and movies is how much attention is paid to the upbringing or childhood of such killers. In the second season of “You,” the story did an excellent job of showing the viewers how the main character’s childhood may have shaped him into the killer he became. The same happens in the movie, “My Friend Dahmer,” showing how Jeffery Dahmer’s negligent parents and his difficulty making friends led him to a path of killing. 

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Some may say the empathy created towards these serial killers is necessary. They claim learning more about these kinds of people can help prevent such crimes.  

This is an excellent step towards psychological analysis and providing care to youth who may be going in that direction. 

But there is a difference between learning from past mistakes and glorifying obscene crimes as a form of entertainment. It should be left to public health professionals to learn how to treat young people with mental illness and to ensure the safety of the public. The stories of serial killers should not be glibly used as our next binge-watching stint or as Netflix’s next quick buck.

Neshmia is a sophomore in Media.

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