Newsweek Mulls America’s ‘True Crime Obsession’


Newsweek’s Walter Mosley mulls America’s “obsession with crime” as part of a series that the magazine calls “True Crime Week.” He writes, “True-crime stories, murder mysteries, up-to-the-minute online news reports, and (as always) rumor and innuendo grab our attention faster than any call for justice, human rights, or ceasefires. This is because most of us see ourselves as powerless cogs in a greater machine; as potential victims of a society so large and insensitive that we, innocent bystanders in the crowd, might be caught at any time in the crossfire between the forces of so-called good and evil.”

He says issues of guilt and safety may be at the root of our interest in crime. Mosley writes, “What if you saw a man shoot somebody? Should you tell the police? Would they protect you from murky vengeance? You saw a true-crime TV show once that profiled a man who identified a murderer and was himself murdered for giving evidence. Would you be guilty of being stupid for doing what you were taught was right?”

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