5 Basic Lessons From True Crime Shows
True crime shows have gained and continue to gain a lot of popularity on our television screens. Watching shows like Snapped, Forensic Files, The FBI Files, Cold Case Files, Dateline NBC, Homicide Hunter, The First 48 and Solved can be a huge eye-opener.
If you don't watch true crime shows because you don't want to see dead bodies or you are simply scared, you are doing yourself a huge disfavor. In an unpredictable and cruel world, a little lesson you might have learned from watching a true crime show can be the difference between life and death.
1. Be Careful Who to Trust
One of the most notorious serial killers of all time, Ted Bundy, wore his arm in a sling or in a fake cast. He would ask his victims to help him carry things to his car or help load or unload things from his car. Once the victims got in his car or were leaning into his car he would strike them over the head with a crowbar.
The famous black cab rapist tricked young professional women into drinking with him by claiming to have won the jackpot at a casino or on the lottery and showed them bundles of cash to prove it. Of course, he had already spiked the drinks with powerful prescription sedatives and over-the-counter sleeping pills.
It's even common for killers to use the church which most people would consider as the safest place in the world as their hunting ground. This was the case with UK's most prolific serial killer, Peter Tobin, who worked as a handyman at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Anderston, Glasgow. He went ahead to take advantage of the trusting nature of a 23-year-old student, Angelika Kluk, who was working at the church to help finance her studies.
There are countless examples of criminals who have exploited the trusting nature of people for their own selfish desires.
Documentary on the Black Cab Rapist
2. Family is the Most Important Thing
No matter what you are led to believe, nobody really cares about your well-being more than your family. Your family is the most important thing in the world and you don't realize this until you are gone. Watching true crime shows makes you realize the depth of their love.
You get to see what victims' families are willing to go through to ensure that the perpetrators of heinous crimes against their loved ones are captured and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Some family members of victims never give up on finding answers even after several years of the death of their loved ones and keep pressing until the perpetrators are finally captured.
It also portrays the level of grief and pain victims' families go through on a daily basis as a result of the loss of their loved ones. Some family members are not able to deal with it and commit suicide so they can be together with their loved ones again.
Seeing what these families go through makes you appreciate every moment with your family and also pushes you to go out of your way to spend quality time with them because it might be the last time you might see them.
3. Always Stay Alert
Learning to be constantly aware of your surroundings should be an attribute that everyone should possess. Unfortunately, due to the stress from school and work, most people go about their daily activities absent-minded and do not pay much attention to very important details which can be the difference between life and death. True crime shows helps to increase your situational awareness. This can help you react quickly when you feel there is imminent danger.
For example, you find yourself walking alone along a path and realize a man has been walking behind you for the past five minutes. Some people might attribute it to nothing and probably go ahead to text on their phones. However, somebody who has learned a thing or two from watching crime shows knows immediately never to take any situation for granted. Your ability to sense impending danger gives you a slight advantage and helps you react quickly before the danger becomes fatal.
In the first place, any woman with a great situational awareness wouldn't risk walking alone in quiet areas. However, most people are complacent and believe no serious danger can befall them. When danger strikes, it is usually too late for them. This was the case with Dawn Ashworth, a 15-year-old girl who was beaten, savagely raped and strangled to death by Colin Pitchfork. This occurred when she took a shortcut instead of taking her normal route home. Her father had warned her of the dangers of walking alone along the thickly overgrown footpath called Ten Pound Lane because of a previous murder of a teenage girl called Lynda Mann, three years earlier.
Colin Pitchfork was subsequently arrested and became the first person to be convicted of a crime based on DNA fingerprinting evidence and the first to be caught as a result of mass DNA screening.
Documentary on Colin Pitchfork
4. Never Jump Into Conclusions
Sometimes all evidence of a crime might point to one perpetrator. However, if you have been watching crime shows for quite some time, you know all too well the significance of the phrase "innocent until proven guilty". Emotions and gut feeling shouldn't be relied on when determining if somebody committed a crime or not. The physical evidence should always be the "key witness". There should be enough physical evidence to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that somebody indeed committed a particular crime. This prevents you from sending the wrong person to jail.
There have been numerous cases where victims' families have jumped into conclusions quickly and forced law enforcement to put the wrong person in jail only to find out later that the real perpetrator of the crime had been walking freely on the streets all the while. They therefore ended up destroying the life of an innocent victim just because they weren't patient enough to let the law run its course.
A typical example of a situation like this is what happened to Ray Krone, who was wrongfully convicted of murder. He was labelled the "Snaggletooth Killer" (a feature which has since been corrected) and spent 10 years in prison, including two years on death row, after being found guilty of killing a Phoenix, Arizona, bartender in 1991.
5. We Will Be Nowhere Without Science
Science has been progressing at a truly remarkable pace in recent years. Today, due to modern advances in technology, the probability of a criminal getting caught when he or she commits a crime is quite high. The application of science to criminal and civil laws is called Forensic Science. Forensic science has evolved to include various subdivisions.
It is fascinating how tiny and unlikely evidence left at a crime scene can change the whole course of a criminal investigation. There is nothing that is of little value at a crime scene nowadays. Every aspect of science is of great importance when analyzing a crime scene. If you really want to have a deep appreciation of how every aspect of science is utilized in catching killers, then you should start watching Forensic Files. You would come to realize how the tiniest detail can be used as evidence to convict a criminal.
Which among these is your favourite true crime TV show?
© 2016 Charles Nuamah