Mark Twain once perceptively quoted – “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” Let that sink in for a bit. You may have come across this particular quote innumerable times but what does it really mean ? Well, here’s what could be the meaning-“Fiction is subjective to interpretation. If you want to make it sound like the Truth, you have to put in some effort to mould it in such a manner that it starts to appear like Truth. So the term ‘obligation’ attached to it. Truth, however, lives outside subjectivity. It is absolute and does not demand an explanation because no matter what we interpret it as, it would still be the same…the stark, naked Truth !
Truth, however, lives outside subjectivity. It is absolute and does not demand an explanation because no matter what we interpret it as, it would still be the same…the stark, naked Truth !
Netflix’s original documentary series – “Making a murderer” is a standing example of how we live in a world where Truth doesn’t exist. What does exist, is a convoluted disfigured version with so many layers of misleading contradictions that the facts are suffocated to death. Steven Avery is accused of raping a young woman in the sleepy Manitowoc county in the American state of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1985. For the lack of substantial evidence, mishandling by the Police Department and a general prejudice towards the Avery’s, Steven is wrongly found guilty of this crime and is put away for 18 years. In 2003-04, thanks to improved DNA techniques the case is reopened and DNA of a person other than Avery and the victim is found. When fed into the system, it becomes clear that the real perpetrator was a known sexual offender named Greg Allen who had repeatedly been arrested for various sexual offences in that very area. So while Avery was spending almost a third of his life sitting inside a cage, the rapist had been out there roaming free.
When such gross miscarriage of justice reached the surface, the severe incompetence of the Manitowoc County Police Department was brought into questioning. As outrageous as you may find it, the police officers and detectives who were accountable for carrying out this investigation raised up their hands saying – “We really believed that we had gotten the right man then. Was an honest mistake.” An “honest mistake” which ruined a young man’s life. He missed the birth of his children, his wife who found it difficult to cope for 18 long years left him, his parents who were getting old suffered…such loss! However, Avery was exonerated and he was strong enough to move on in life and try to make up for lost time.
But that’s not what happened…
A few years after Avery is exculpated, a young photographer named Teresa Halbach goes missing. Being an Auto photographer, she regularly visited Avery’s Auto Salvage yard to photograph various cars. One eventful day, Teresa doesn’t return home and no one seems to know her whereabouts for the next few days either. Since Avery’s place was the last area in her schedule, Steven is questioned as a routine check and left at that. A few days later, Teresa’s car is found in a corner of Avery’s Salvage yard. What follows is an extensive sweep through the Avery property for 8 days without any information or procedural warrant for that duration of time. Did Avery actually commit a crime beacause of the suppressed anger he had hidden away for years ? Or did the Sheriff’s department feel threatened and made a desperate attempt to frame an innocent man ? Whatever the case, suddenly, Avery is taken in as the prime suspect and the horrific life he had lived and was trying to forget, begins again.
Making a murderer is a frightening story which breaks all conventions of societal construct, of morality, of right and wrong.
Making a murderer is a frightening story which breaks all conventions of societal construct, of morality, of right and wrong. Writers Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi closely capture and document every single event that transpire through all this time bringing us, as an audience, right to the middle of it. The metamorphosis of a lie into a hideous fictionalised version of truth leaves you outraged and angry as you start to question – “If this can happen to a person, then who is safe ?” What are the fundamentals that you should live by ? How can you live in a system so flawed as this ?
This story somehow brings the Talwar case into context. Every shred of evidence, that too circumstancial, seemed highly impractical and far-fetched but the very victims i.e., Nupur Talwar’s parents are charged with the murder of their own daughter. Even after the real culprits confessed to the heinous crime, the parents were never exonerated. What hurts us seeing such stories is not just the culmination of the crime itself but the murder of innocence of people who are wrongly convicted and forced to live their lives in hell.
As Avery’s Defense Attorney precisely summarises -“You think you would never commit a crime…But that doesn’t mean you won’t be accused.”
gobblpoint: The gut-wrenching story of how the system we trust ruined a family’s life. As hard-hitting as Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
Disclaimer: The image used in this post is the sole property of the makers of this documentary and is not owned by us in any form whatsoever.