As the drama of Making a Murderer continues to mount in anticipation of Season 2, vitriol seems to have overtaken the human beings involved in the aftermath.
The Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey saga is split down the middle of a contentious aisle one can only enter at his own risk. On one side, “truthers” are legions of internet detectives who claim they’ve uncovered what proves Avery and Dassey innocent.
The other side is occupied by a sea of quasi pragmatists. To them, this thing has quacked like duck since the beginning and to call it anything else is just plain lunacy. “Guilters,” they’ve been tagged. And like their counterparts, they’ve got no time for debate. At least not at this stage of the game.
The time for free thought and friendly differences of opinion on whether Manitowoc and Calumet counties in Wisconsin bagged the right guys for the murder of Teresa Halbach has passed. It’s not about Steven Avery, Brendan Dassey, or Teresa Halbach anymore. It’s about one thing — being right.
To extreme “truthers,” what Kathleen Zellner has presented in Avery’s case isn’t what will free him. Sure, they like to wave around the 1,200-page brief she filed in June. But very few have actually read it. What they have read are things like racy text messages Ken Kratz sent to a domestic violence victim a decade ago.
It is easy to infer that if a district attorney would send such messages, he must have helped frame Steven Avery. It’s even more convenient to label anyone with a contrary opinion a “shill for the state.” Vilifying who Making a Murderer portrayed as such is the default action, namely for those who sadly refuse to think for themselves.
Thousands of supporters have rallied around the Avery and Dassey families, and will continue to do so regardless of the outcome. Others have concluded innocent by thinking beyond the docu-series. They’ve read trial transcripts, combed through evidence, and learned how the wheels of the criminal justice system turn. But that doesn’t matter to the “guilters.” They want no part of even a notion that someone else killed Halbach. Rational thought is not a welcomed bedfellow. The pugilists of the guilter movement lurk wherever they can to prove Zellner is only a glory hound and that “truthers” are just as misguided.
Where do Avery and Dassey really fit in all of this? In the vicious Reddit, Facebook, and YouTube battleground of the misinformed and opportunistic, nowhere. They have no rightful place. Steven, Brendan, and, sadly, Teresa are only fodder at this point.
Meanwhile, there are real court cases involving real people pending. Zellner, known for exonerating nearly 20 high-profile defendants, has brought Avery’s case back to circuit court, where she hopes to argue it this year. Steven Drizin and Laura Nirider of Northwestern University, along with Robert Dvorak, have argued Dassey’s post-conviction relief bid all they can to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear the case en banc September 26.
[Featured Image by Morry Gash/AP Images]