Murderous Games We Play

I am totally addicted to the National Public Radio show, This American Life. I listen to the podcast while I'm on the treadmill about five times a week (when I'm being good about the treadmill). I'm eventually going to be at the point where I have no more new podcasts, since they only make one new one a week and I've already gone through all of 2008 and most of 2009. It'll be a sad day when I have no more new episodes.

The show interviews people for various topics, or has someone just talk with someone else in a conversational way that's quite easy to listen to. The show is an hour long but is broken into segments, sometimes just 15 min each person, sometimes 30 minutes. Ira introduces the segments and narrates pieces to connect them, sometimes he is the interviewer of segments, sometimes not. His voice is soothing and his laugh is adorable.

This show from November, 2007, was one of the shows I listened to a couple weeks ago:

There are umpteen TV shows about solving murders, endless whodunits in
bookstores. But what happens to the people left behind after the detectives
close the case? Three stories about children trying to figure out how to live
normally after their parents have died.

One of the segments really stuck with me. Here's the info on that one:

PROLOGUE.Host Ira Glass talks to Rachel Howard, whose father, Stan, was murdered when she was 10 years old. His case was never solved. And like a lot of
people whose family members have been killed, she tried for a long time to find
the killer. But after a while, she gave up. And she's comfortable with that—which sometimes makes fellow survivors decidedly uncomfortable.Rachel wrote a book, The Lost Night, about her father's murder. (7 1/2 minutes)
During this short segment, Rachel talks about how murder is somewhat accepted in our society and people don't always consider how those impacted by murder are affected by this. An example We play innocent and fun games that involve murdering each other and never think about it.

For example----the game I wrote about the other day: Mafia. We killed each other. It was a fun game. I really enjoy it. But we killed each other without a single thought.

I don't know all the people really well who attended games night that night....I have no way of knowing if someone at that party did not have their entire life altered by a murder of someone close to them. I have no way of knowing if our fun game of Mafia led them to have a very uncomfortable evening. It's probably pretty unlikely...but it's possible. Possible with any group I suppose. There are about 6 homicides per 100,000 people in the U.S. And for each of those murders-there are friends, siblings, parents, spouses, life partners who are directly impacted.

In Rachel's This American Life segment, she talked about how people would never play a game that involves someone being raped. Another heinous crime in our society, but one that we don't focus our entertainment on. Yet it's somehow acceptable for us to do this with the crime of murder.

I'm not saying that I won't ever play mafia again-just something to think about is all....


  1. Jay said...:

    I love "This American Life." That's where I was first introduced to Sarah Vowell. She's awesome.

    I can see where people who were, or are related to someone who was a victim of violent crime wouldn't enjoy playing games about committing violent crimes. Totally makes sense.

  1. That is a great show.
    And when you put it like that, I get it. I do. Funny how perspective changes with information.

  1. lo said...:

    That's a really interesting point, thanks for posting this. Also, if you like This American Life you should try out The Moth- it's so good!

  1. Heather said...:

    I guess that is why I don't enjoy killing games.

    In high school my best friends sister was brutally murdered. Raylene Rice.

    Jul 25, 1997 ... Three teen-agers -- Jill Montgomery, 17, Raylene Rice, 17, and Kenneth Franks, 18 -- were attacked, tied up and stabbed to death in a park ...

    Very insightful post.

  1. Heather said...:

    That date is wrong, it was on July 13, 1982.

  1. Pam said...:

    That is an insightful post. I had never thought about this. My uncle was brutally murdered when I was a teenager and his family has been impacted ever since that time.

  1. TQ said...:

    Wow, I've never really thought of it that way before - what happens to those families who are left behind? Such a great read tonight Kaylen... Jodi and I were actually just talking about something similar today after talking about the Today Show this morning and one of the segments on there...

  1. Unknown Mami said...:

    I never thought about this before, but as soon as I got into the post I thought about the rape comparison and it's true. Somehow pretending to kill someone is pretty normal nowadays.


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