Today, Valentine’s Day 2019, is six months and a day – give or take – since the Watts Family Murders back in mid-August. Having kept up with all the coverage of the case [in the media and on social media] it’s been illuminating, and quite alarming, to see how the media narrative has fallen away precipitously and been taken over – hijacked in a sense – by armchair detectives.
There’s nothing wrong with cogent analysis in true crime. There’s also nothing wrong with a sincere effort to get to the truth even if one fails dismally. The fact that one cares about crime and fixing the fabric of society to begin with is a redeeming quality, I feel.
There is something seriously wrong with purposefully peddling conspiracies to make a buck. If there’s something cynical about that, what’s really frightening is just how popular these sites and posts can become.
We criticize at times the manner in which Shan’ann and Chris Watts didn’t seem to know the difference between reality and fantasy. Shan’ann in terms of their financial situation, and the reality of the affair Watts was having behind her back, and Watts in terms of committing the crime in the first place and imagining he could get away with it.
We question what was he thinking, and perhaps in terms of Shan’ann’s MLM – what was she thinking. But we ought to turn these questions back to ourselves, and we do when we look at how we are talking and thinking and addressing this case. The conspiracies don’t reflect well on us at all. If the Watts couple had elements of delusional thinking, so do we. If the Watts’ couple thought they could beat the system [him in terms of duping the law, her in terms of beating the MLM odds] then the conspiracy peddlers are no better. I can sell fake news better than I can trying to package reality – that’s the concession, and it’s a cowardly one.
One way to spot the opportunistic peddlers is by observing how each week they come up with a new conspiracy. It started with Watts having an accomplice [his father, wearing white shoes]. Then shadows became a child running around the crime scene [but still invisible]. Then Nichol Kessinger was on the scene. Then there were two children. Then Watts intended to blow up the CERVI 319 site. Then Kessinger was pregnant. Have I left anything out?
Another way to spot the conspiracy peddlers, the worst offenders, is when their content gets taken down. Does it get taken down once or habitually?
A few have also criticized me for occasionally posting “silly” content on CrimeRocket, as a cynical attempt to keep the ball rolling. Silly is a matter of opinion. The ongoing coverage on CrimeRocket is actually a sideline to the narratives that are still being written. Once that process is complete the coverage of this case is likely to become intermittent and then likely cease altogether [sorry].
A lot of the content posted here isn’t just banging a drum, wanting to be heard for the sake of it, it’s functional – the content here is linked to the narrative so that the books aren’t burdened with excessive description, explanations and background. Sometimes key concepts [like interiority, intertextuality and agency] are introduced here so that readers will be somewhat familiar with them when they come across them in the narratives.
Sometimes theories are expanded upon slightly here, so that the narrative can move forward to where it needs to go.
The idea is that CrimeRocket provides a sort of stepping stone between prospective readers and the narratives. It’s a chance for you to get to know me, and for me to get to know you. For those who don’t read any of the books, you might find yourselves feeling a little lost on occasion, not knowing why certain ideas are adopted and others rejected. You might feel a little behind the curve. [If so, get reading, but make sure you read the books in the correct order!] And while readers who’ve gobbled up the series anxiously wait for the next installment, they can – by hook or by crook – keep up with the basic flow of research right here and even, theoretically, inform where it goes.
CrimeRocket, in keeping with the narratives, has a very strict policy on conspiracies. We avoid them, mostly, we don’t entertain them when they are brought up and we only repeat them to defeat or debunk them.