When Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, all presumed dead, were rescued from a decade of captivity in Cleveland the entire world cheered and clamored for details of what must have happened to the young women during their captivity.
Forget the fact that these 3 women and a young child will forever face the arduous task of rebuilding their lives after such a tragedy, we want to hear the whole story. We want the details, the drama, the dirt and the mayhem behind the situation. But why is it our business? Why are we so fascinated by the horror stories that have overtaken the media? Why are we so fascinated by true crime stories?
Criminal Minds. CSI-LA. Cops. The Usual Suspects. All entertainment based crime dramas commissioned to allow us a peek into the underworld of American society. In my opinion, there is only one reason why these type of stories will be celebrated, debated and recounted for years to come; these true crime stories make us feel alive.
Do you remember how you felt when you first heard about this situation? Your heart was pumping, you called someone to speak about it excitedly and you read everything you could about it to satisfy some unknown need to prolong the adrenaline. Unbeknownst to you and most others, we are programmed to celebrate victimhood, disaster and most notably, danger. Our true nature as warriors and hunters go unrecognized in today’s polite society. We only feel the deepest heights of our human experience through the exhilaration of sex, physical competition and outrage.
When everything in life is going swimmingly we decide that life is boring. When circumstances are in disarray and unpredictable, we may tell people that we are upset and frustrated but the very dedication that we use to relive the horrific details of undesirable circumstances tells us that they evoke a particular emotion that we find pleasing or else we wouldn’t talk about it as much.
In most households couples are feverishly discussing the possibilities of what could have happened to the captive women and cell phones are lit up with girlfriends pondering the exact ways that the young girls were probably abused. We want the details because we want to feel the excitement of the forbidden nature within us, the part of ourselves that longs to attack or be attacked, to run away and go against the behavior that our polite society had dictated to us.
Our efforts to conquer, to release our inhibitions and to follow our carnal instincts are quelled by the rules that protect us from harm. But deep in our minds we are longing for chaos, a sense of disorder and disruption that only a deviant mind can evoke. We want the details so that we can lose ourselves temporarily in the sordid bliss of lascivious mischief.