Criminal Minds follows the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, which is solely responsible for solving the cases of mass murderers around the United States by attempting to understand their motivations and capturing them using psychological leads that are not present in police investigations. Many of the episodes in the series are based reenactments of famous murderers, which is what initially drew me to watch non-stop episodes of the program. Usually, the more violence I watch, the more I become desensitized to the mass killings and torturing, but this show was an exception. Even the main character, Gideon, confesses that solving all of these murders has left irreparable damage on his conscious and beliefs in the morality of humans. As I progressed from season to season, I noticed that the killings became more random and motivated by the simple urges of mostly men who enjoyed seeing chaos around them. The realization that these serial killers inhabit our neighborhoods at any given time and often go uncaught for several years forced me to take a step back to analyze what I was choosing to view on television. Despite years of watching gore, unnecessary violence, and murder, the perpetrators of these acts were often cartoon characters or creatures so far from reality that the violence often struck me as comedic.
I like to believe that senseless murders and physical torture of human beings for entertainment are actions that I would not take in any circumstance, but I am left to wonder whether the inspirations that guide mass murders could happen to me. Unfortunate events such as parental deaths, economic hardships, and other unfortunate events often trigger the actions of these killers, so it appears that the violence that appears in Criminal Minds will evolve within humankind forever. Greater than any other form of cinematic or fictional violence, the reality of this state of affairs has left its irremovable mark on my psyche. Is violence desensitization a myth or are all humans simply a tragic event away from taking the actions of a mass murderer? I personally believe that scenes of violence in Criminal Minds are not beyond the means of any one of us given that a strong psychological event triggers a response to take the lives of others as some form of justification.