Staff Editorial – Glorifying Murder Needs to Stop

In 1964, Truman Capote’s’ In Cold Blood ‘, generated a record-breaking level of excitement for horror stories, skyrocketing the popularity of true crime in pop culture. However, this attitude of entertainment towards these real-life horror stories encouraged a detachment from the seriousness of the stories. In recent years, the use of Tiktok has brought these retellings to an audience of millions as if they are simply old ghost stories instead of real-life people.

In September 2022, Netflix released Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. The series dramatizes the life of the notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, starring actor Evan Peters. Netflix cast Peters in the role of Dahmer as a conventionally attractive man, encouraging consumers to identify him as a protagonist in a sick and twisted way. The series quickly topped Netflix’s charts and became a prominent discussion topic on social media. Several lines from the series became popular TikTok audios that Dahmer fanatics could lip-sync to. Teenagers purchasing merchandise of this killer as if he was an idol or celebrity became increasingly more common. Many people would disregard the disgusting reality of what was actually taking place in the show for the development of a fan base for a serial killer. Even Jeffery Dahmer costumes became popular during Halloween 2022. 

Unfortunately, this turned the public focus on Dahmer. Not the victims. Our society is idolizing serial killers rather than focusing on acknowledging their victims.

Errol Linsley, nineteen years old. Oliver Lacey, 23 years old. James Doxtator, fourteen years old. These are just three of Dahmer’s seventeen confirmed victims. Boys with lives, families, friends, and futures. 

Shirley Hughs, the mother of victim Tony Hughs, spoke out after Netflix released Dahmer. She told The Guardian, “I don’t see how they can do that. I don’t see how they can use our names and put stuff out like that out there.” For their own benefit, Netflix dramatized the trauma these boys and young men had to endure. They held no regard for the families of the victims, with the sole purpose to make money and appeal to self-proclaimed ‘true crime junkies’. And it worked.

This kind of media gives power to these terrible excuses for humans, even beyond the grave. There is no series named Linsley, no series named Lacey, and no series named Doxator. This is the glorification of murder. These consumers are sitting behind a screen, enjoying the gore and sick dramatization of this story while the victims are dead and their families continue to mourn.

With 701.3 million hours of watch time for Dahmer, it is known that this craze is not dying down any time soon. People consuming this sort of media need to take a step back and look at themselves. If you want to dive into the thrill of serial killers, watch a fictional series. The popular Netflix series You is a great example, as it follows serial killer Joe Goldberg who tries to keep up a normal facade while hiding dark secrets. 

True Crime consumers have options. These are real lives, not just a standard TV show. People need to learn how to distinguish the two.