Brian Coberger, a 28-year-old criminology graduate student, appeared in court for the first time last week after being charged with the murders of four University of Idaho students in late December, and the victims’ families are unimaginable. I made it clear that I must still be dealing with my grief. As they piece together the tragic details of what happened to their children. It brought a sense of relief to another crowd.
The November 13 murders of Cary Goncalves, 21, Madison Morgen, 21, Zana Carnodor, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, shocked the nation and left millions dead. It left many people unanswered questions as to why and how these senseless killings occurred. But instead of leaving the investigation to the real detectives assigned to this case, a number of true criminal content creators have accused several innocent people of murder without any credible evidence and It has gained notoriety and followers in the process. Media doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The posts of true criminal content creators impact the real life of individuals caught in this horrific situation. They need to learn how to act respectfully, rather than harassing, towards victims and family members involved.
Fellow Idaho student Jacques Showalter, Goncalves’ ex-boyfriend Jacques Ducourt, and University of Idaho history professor Rebecca Scofield were the targets of endless harassment and intimidation online during this ongoing investigation. , and some content creators remain suspects and in custody after Koberger was named. Schofield is suing TikTok’s true crime blogger Ashley Gillard, who alleges Schofield was involved in an affair with Gonsalves and murdered all four students.
If you wonder why much of the social media coverage of the Idaho case resembles a TV show, it’s no coincidence. bottom. Podcasts like “Crime Junkie” and “My Favorite Murder” have cult followings, covering little-known unsolved cases to infamous murders, and controversial stories like Netflix’s “Dahmer.” series has garnered billions of views. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having an interest in true crime, but TikTok’s self-proclaimed internet detective behavior in the true crime media space shows how far our cultural obsession with true crime has gone. I’m here.
The public’s unfathomably cruel reaction to 19-year-old Dylan Mortensen (one of two surviving roommates in the off-campus house where Carnoldl, Morgen, and Goncalves also lived) was the most shocking of the month. A chilling 19-page affidavit that has been released describes Mortensen coming face-to-face with a murderer who tried to leave his home and spending hours in his room fearing he would come back. The state of being trapped is drawn. he did Coberger’s cell phone pinged at his mansion around 9 a.m. the next morning. Thousands of strangers on the Internet accused Mortensen of not calling her 911 sooner and even suggested she had something to do with the murder of her best friend.
In reality, no one commenting on Mortensen’s actions knows how they would have acted in her situation. After realizing this, we can assume that he acted in a state of shock, as most teenagers do. It is unspeakably despicable to continue to torture a young woman who has just experienced the most terrifying and unimaginable events instead of blaming suspects in custody. am.
The oversaturation of true crime in the media landscape of shows, documentaries, podcasts, and TikToks has resulted in a complete disconnection of human empathy and disconnection from the true victims and families at the center of these viral incidents. The line between entertainment and reality. When true crime commentators and internet sleuths begin to see the victims and near victims of this crime as characters on TV shows, they become desensitized and turn off hurtful rhetoric like the insults hurled at Mortensen. The more you spread it, the better.
However, not all true criminal content creators who posted videos about this incident acted with bad intentions. The popular hashtag #idaho4, used on TikTok to spread news and updates about the case, currently has 1.1 billion views, many of which highlight Mortensen and the wrongfully accused suspect. It’s from the supporting video. But the disturbing truth is that quite a few people posting under the hashtag see the case as entertainment and a mystery to solve. It’s human nature, but our wildest speculations about this case must be kept private. Broadcasting a bizarre theory to the world on TikTok will only hurt the families involved even more.
If there’s anything we can learn from the devastating murder of four bright young men, there’s no ethical way to theorize social media content to investigate developing cases, especially murders, early. about it. These creators are using the tragedy of view and internet fame to the detriment of young and impressionable viewers who may be wanting to know the facts of the case through conspiracy and misinformation alone. increase.
In a fast-moving case like the Idaho murder case, the task of investigating should be left to the detective assigned to the case. Instead of demonizing or denigrating innocent individuals online, we personally theorize, question and investigate. It’s time to take a culturally serious look at the dire consequences of how we deal with true crime. We need to draw a line between meaningful curiosity and mindless entertainment, and not be desensitized to these nationally fascinating affairs.
Julia Koscelnik, Senior in Political Science with a Minor in Journalism and Mass Communication, is the Contributing Opinion Editor.