I’m tuning in late to one of the most horrific stories of the year. Jodi Arias has been convicted of first-degree murder. And I’m not sure what’s worse, the crime itself or the depraved fascination with it by the public-at-large.
The details of this grisly murder are breathtaking. Here’s how Brian Skoloff in an Associated Press article from today describes Arias’s slaying of her one-time boyfriend Travis Alexander:
Alexander was stabbed and slashed nearly 30 times, shot in the forehead and had slit his throat from ear to ear, leaving the motivational speaker and businessman nearly decapitated. Friends found his decomposing body in his shower about five days later.
The jury is left to decide the fate of Arias. The prosecution is pushing for the death penalty given, among other reasons, the fact that Alexander “did not die a quick death.”
The evil that resides in Arias’s heart bringing her to do what she did is incomprehensible. But so is the public fascination with such depravity. Skoloff describes how technology facilitated this fascination:
The trial quickly became an Internet sensation and transformed Arias from a little-known waitress to a morbid curiosity and a star of a real-life true-crime drama that the public followed incessantly. The presence of cameras in the courtroom, the advance of Internet streaming video and social media, the salacious details of the case, and the attention it got on cable networks like HLN gave the trial the feel of a celebrity proceeding.
Indeed, since January of this year the trial has been a fixture in our popular culture with Arias reaching celebrity status among thousands of captivated spectators. Skoloff explains:
Testimony began in early January. The trial quickly snowballed into a made-for-the-tabloids drama, garnering daily coverage from cable news networks and spawning a virtual cottage industry for talk shows, legal experts and even Arias, who used her notoriety to sell artwork she made in jail. She also sent out tweets via an intermediary, attracting tens of thousands of followers.
The apostle Paul exhorts us to not only “hold fast what is good,” but also to “abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:21). People’s frenzy to not abstain from but be immersed in this evil is a window into the wickedness of our hearts, and a powerful reminder of how Jodi Arias is not the only one in need of a Savior.
Thank God that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave not only for barbaric murderers like Arias, but also for the masses captivated by such depravity. I’m praying not only for Jodi Arias to repent and believe, but also for the herd outside the courtroom who, in their own way, are giving hearty approval to this unspeakable evil.