To Love a Murder Through Art and Media

More than a decade ago, twenty-six students and facility members were murdered by Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook shooting. It is counted as the second most deadly shooting at a school, and the fourth most deadly in the country. To say that the mark of this tragic day still lives on (whether in anti-gun activism, mental health, and societal issues) would be a dramatic understatement. Many mourn the deaths of innocent lives to the total capacity. Others, flip the narrative around to the man behind the gun.

Lanza lives in many lives as a monster, a villain, and a pariah in the worst and most vile ways. His legacy has twenty-six, twenty-seven if his mother is included, lives connected to him. Lanza doesn’t deserve the acknowledgment of his legacy, he doesn’t deserve to be talked about or even sympathized with. However, those ideas aren’t shared with people. Instead of seeing people like Lanza as the monsters they are, some see Lanza and others as points of interest, people who are misinformed and misguided, and even innocent. Just looking up the name Adam Lanza on social media sites like Tumblr, Twitter, or Tiktok, there is a subsection that adores him, sympathizes with him, that idolizes him. He is seen as cute and misunderstood.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. The “true crime community” has been around for a long time. Whether it’s a podcast, Netflix documentaries, Youtube videos, or fan engagement (letters, fanfiction, and fanart) there has always been a strange curiosity about murderers and the public masses. When there weren’t the Columbiners, Niko Cruz, or Adam Lanza, there were Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, and Jeffery Dahmer. Where there wasn’t fanfiction, fanart, and podcasts, there were fan letters and mass media perception. History and human curiosity haven’t changed.

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Love Stephens

4 thoughts on “To Love a Murder Through Art and Media

  1. I think one reason for trend is that these people weren’t experiencing the terrible disaster. So they weren’t able to empathize with the victims. Knowing the news online and commenting behind the computers will dramatically weaken the level of violence and horror people feel and make them be less considerate and prudent in narrating comments.

    For certain anti-social people, murderers are seen as models for those who have thoughts to do the crime but do not conduct actions because of different reasons (deterrence, lack of courage, …). Their potential desires for crime transformed into the pursuit of the murderers.

  2. Hey Love,

    I thought this was a really interesting approach to this topic, having read several articles on the fascination with murders and the romanticisation of killers. But I thought it was interesting that crime is what created the art and not the other way around. As you focus on the reaction to this criminal thought art as opposed to a criminal expressing themselves through art or an artist committing a crime. I think the fascination is unsavory but kind of understandable, people will sympathize and victimize people for all kinds of terrible things and this was no exception.

  3. Hello Love, hope all is well. It’s crazy how criminals are idolized by the masses. Like what is it? Is it because of their ability to disobey societal norms? I like how you focused on Lanza and then eventually mentioned other criminals that were idolized by the public. It’s crazy because I wonder if the fantasizers of these criminals ever think of the victims and their families. I hate this idolization of brutal criminals. It almost incentivizes other psychopaths to cause harm to others because of the fame.

    Also, I’ve listened to the “True Crime” podcast too! It’s so good. It’s crazy how this fantasization of criminals has been a constant theme throughout history. You’d expect people to learn right?

  4. The idea to love a criminal base on their appearance is a lack of remorse, empathy, and compassion towards twenty-six lives that were lost in this horrific tragedy, plus the life of the woman who gave birth to this person.There is no justification for shooter to be “misunderstood,” Adman Lanza will always be known as a monster, no matter what. It’s easy for people to make jokes about this tragedy, but it is absolutely disgusting. As time seemed to pass by, people are starting to wake up and realize of the dangers of gun control because how is it that an event that occurred in 2012 is starting to become so normalized in an everyday life that we do not give an condolences towards a mass shooter.

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