No mystery will remain a mystery. No evil ultimately escapes.
I’ve only watched the first installment of the Netflix 10-part documentary, Making a Murderer. My daughter wanted me to take a look at it. She’d heard about it through friends.
It’s interesting today how some things have to go viral before they’re even noticed.
I first became acquainted with the Steven Avery saga about ten years ago. Avery had been arrested and imprisoned for over 15 years on a violent sexual assault charge when DNA testing cleared him of the crime. He went home and resumed life running an auto scrap yard. But in short order he found himself once more under arrest, this time for murdering, dismembering, and burning a young woman, Teresa Halbach, who worked for an auto trader magazine. She had gone to Avery’s lot to snap advertisement photos and then vanished. Later her remains were discovered on Avery’s property.
You can’t make up poetic injustice of this magnitude. Even if you’re the most twisted pulp writer to ever grace an adult magazine rack.
At the time I was so disturbed over the ordeal, I called my sister, who also had a job taking photos of cars for an auto trader magazine. I asked her to be careful calling on secluded businesses.
Which brings us up to the present moment, as NetFlix unfurls its Making a Murderer documentary. Steven Avery is the centerpiece. The series now seems to skew in the direction that Avery was the victim of a conspiracy, framed by local authorities who were sore over the original verdict being overturned, not to mention Avery’s wrongful imprisonment lawsuit against them.
But then there’s the Dateline special that aired this last week. Avery is guilty. Every piece of evidence points to it. Or so it seems, until the response to that evidence came with counter-evidence, confusing all of us.
I’m sure before this case is over, the merry-go-round will have spun a number of times.
Of course the back-and-forth of the Avery tale is not the first of its kind. In fact it seems to be an essential ingredient in a world where no one is omniscient. We do our best to discover the truth, guessing and second-guessing along the way.
Since 1887, arguments have continued about the identity of Jack the Ripper. Was he a lunatic member of the royal family? A doctor? A Barber? Did Adolf Hitler escape at war’s end by plane to South America, like other nazis? Who actually assassinated John F. Kennedy? Was it Lee Harvey Oswald, or the CIA, the Mafia, or Fidel Castro?
Conspiracy theorists assure us that in each of these situations, somebody pulled a fast one. The bad guy got away.
Maybe in some cases they’re right.
Although we’re partly motivated by sheer morbid curiosity, there’s a part of us that wants to know the answer to these things for the sake of justice. Closure. We’d like to at least assign blame to the right person. I believe this is partly due to the faint echo of God’s righteousness imprinted upon our created makeup–a part of us not completely ruined by the fall. We want goodness to prevail, even if evil seems cool.
But the bad guy doesn’t escape. Not permanently, at least. Even if they go to their grave undiscovered.
Moses warned long ago, “Your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23). A person can elude the FBI, spin their version of events for television documentaries, and even crush the innocent under the wheels of truncated justice.
Plainly put, they sometimes beat the hangman.
They’d better not laugh, though. What good is it to dodge a barking dog only to be hit by a bus? The simple fact for all sinners to remember is that the problem isn’t really jail or the electric chair.
The equalizer is coming.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
The Christ of glory is on the way. He’s bringing closure.
Up until 1984 I dreaded that fact. Feared it. Tried to tell myself I was a good person. Then I saw a verse that said, “There is none righteous, no, not one (Rom. 3:10). The Bible was telling me my defense of “Not guilty by reason of being a nice guy” would end in catastrophe if I continued to trust in it. Notorious villains aren’t the only ones in trouble. I was too.
But the Bible also told me about
Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth…him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.
There it is. Freedom from sins. It’s what all the bad guys (and good guys who are actually bad) try to get by hiding and lying and escaping. They don’t find it. The harder they struggle, the deeper in trouble they sink. That’s because freedom is more expensive than all that. It only comes By His blood.