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The Great White Shark Theory About Murderers

For some reason people think great white sharks plod around the ocean looking for opportunistic people to swallow. That would make them lazy bastards, at best. They’re apex predators, but they do prefer seals. You need a very hungry shark. Or, more likely, a mistaken shark. It prefers real food, not you. The same mistaken paradigm surrounds convicted murderers and the crime of murder.

It appears a lot of people have the idea that people who have murdered and served time for murder are opportunistically cruising the World looking for victims. A vulnerable person here, a homeless person there; something like a kleptomaniac left alone with a friend’s purse. There is an implied compulsion in that stereotype.

I hate to break this to you all, but in the vast majority of cases convicted murderers are less exciting. It just rarely happens that way and when it does the World should be shocked, just not overly shocked. Human beings, on the whole, can be total arseholes to each other and everything around us. Sometimes more than once. But it still doesn’t mean murderers are pathologically driven to take lives with abandon.

Part of the problem where this misconception appears is a twofold one where (a) humans stereotype and bias towards those stereotypes to simplify the World around us, and (b) the media hangs certain stories on pre-existing hooks. We all love stories about serial killers (don’t say you haven’t watched those films without enjoyment). We all love vicarious juicy stories, crime stories, detective stories. They keep us awake at night and fascinate our family viewing hours with something very close to what I’d call murder porn.

I really do feel sorry for the great white sharks out there in the ocean. If someone spots one there’s a news story about this apex predator and everybody leaves the water immediately. I don’t know why, I grew up close to seal colonies where they feed. They never ate us once. Not a bite. We’re not seals. Nearly every shark is never spotted. How’s that for a news story? Nearly every shark never touches a human at all. They just don’t care enough to lower their standards.

Perhaps we need to slow down the tropes in our lives around large hungry sharks and compulsive murderers. Yes, they exist. But in such scarcity that you’re unlikely to even know they were passing.

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Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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