I've always been a huge fan of Law and Order: SVU.
I don't mean a huge fan the way other people mean a huge fan, like I won't go out on the nights that the show airs. I mean I'm a huge fan like I think the show is real and I'm a detective in it. This delusion carries over into other aspects of my life, as well. Instead of wasting my free time on things like Facebook and Twitter, I peruse the FBI website and fantasize about applying for criminal profiling gigs. (My parents pug is more qualified for this job than I am).
In other attempts to perpetuate my fantastic career goals, I employ my best friend Michael, who really is a forensic psychologist. Every time there is a particularly macabre case in the news, I call him. In between consulting for the federal government, he always takes time to play "Profile the Killer" with me. And he pretends to take me seriously. Bless his heart.
As much as I love crime dramas and as fascinated as I am by psychopathy, I have always been wary of our legal system. But even with all its corruption, racism and inequality, I am the first to admit that justice by American standards is much more reasonable than having your head lobbed off in public in Saudi Arabia. Unless you're an Arab on trial in the United States, of course, in which case, all bets are off. (Black and poor doesn't bode well either, incidentally, but this is neither here nor there.)
All this to say that I can't stop thinking about the latest media train wreck that is the Jodi Arias case and what the possibility of actual justice being served is.
Jodi Arias is on trial for allegedly slaughtering Travis Alexander, her devout Mormon boyfriend. Arias is accused of shooting Alexander, who was known to his friends as "T. Dogg," in the face, stabbing him nearly 30 times and, finally, slitting his throat so deeply that she nearly decapitated him.
First, Arias claimed she wasn't even there when he got killed. Then, she said she was there and two unidentified men broke in, attacked her and murdered him. Then, when presented with overwhelming, irrefutable evidence that she was the one who killed him, including photographs and her bloody handprint at the crime scene, she admitted to killing him but said that it was in self defense.
She claimed she was severely abused by the Mormon motivational speaker and Prepaid Legal Services salesman -- sexually, physically and mentally. As evidence, she held up one crooked finger (a la the witch in Hansel and Gretel) which she claims Travis broke. She said he made her "NAIR down there" and presents text messages where he demanded her "vagina be hairless" and, finally, she hurled a litany of other accusations including coercion for some pretty hard core anal sex.
Another thing that stands out is the fact that Arias has gone from a blonde bombshell to a totally boring looking brunette. She used to look like a chick from one of those Girls Gone Wild videos and now she looks like a school marm. She also seems like a fucking psycho -- she was stalking Alexander, hacking into his Facebook account and repeatedly calling the lead detective on the case (not me) to insert herself into the investigation. These are all strong indicators of guilt.
My problem is, I feel like I've been hoodwinked. I'm finding Arias hard to believe. Which, quite frankly, rubs my feminist intuition the wrong way. Listen, if he ever laid a finger on her, even a fraction of the abuse she's described, he deserved to be "virtually beheaded." All this makes me wonder, what would Detective Olivia Benson do?
Answer: Detective Olivia Benson would not do anything because Detective Olivia Benson does not exist. Detective Olivia Benson is a character on a television show played by actress Mariska Hargitay.
I was clearly never going to solve this on my own. It was late, but I texted Michael anyway. I was like, "What's your take on Jodi Arias? Abused or pathological liar?"
Michael texted back immediately: "I believe she was abused. He was L.D.S. (weird) and the excessive stabbing is typical of someone who's been abused over and over. Your thoughts?"
Me: "I live for you. Excessive stabbing is indicative of close emotional ties and the overkill is indicative of rage."
Michael: "You've done your homework."
Me: "You know I'm a pro. So, she is telling the truth and he deserved it?"
Michael, always the pragmatist, " Well, I think she's telling the truth but I don't know if he deserved it. It's still not legal to kill him. She should have gone to the police and gotten a restraining order, like everyone else."
I'm not sure who "everyone else" is in this scenario. I mean, in my day to day real life, I'm glad to say that I don't actually know people who are running to get restraining orders like they jet off to the grocery store, but I guess that's the difference between me and Michael. My fantasies are his realities.
Me: "Well, if she was really abused, why didn't she ever say anything before? Why didn't she even remotely mention the abuse to anyone?"
Michael explained: "Her parents abused her too. Learned helplessness. Battered woman syndrome."
Me: "Jesus. Unreal. I'm still really conflicted."
Michael: "She's a bit delusional too. I'm passing out, though, I have to wake up early tomorrow for patients. I'll call you tomorrow to dish some crime. Love you."
Me: "Uch. Fine. Please do. We really need to finish this conversation and get to the bottom of this. There are some serious discrepancies in her story."
And with that, I hopped right back on to fbi.gov to make sure no new sexual predators had moved into my neighborhood.