Attention-getting crime abounds

By Amber Siwicki

In a world where all publicity is good publicity, how do we learn to draw a line that separates fame and infamy? It would seem that our society applies such a heavy weight on being known to the rest of the world, that many people would do anything, or just say that they did, to have their names recognized by the general public.

Looking back on the history of our world, there are numerous examples of people who have committed crimes because they were in desperate need of attention. Obviously, it is more common to be able to place the blame on a mental illness. However, for some, seeing one’s name in print is enough to quench one’s thirst for the spotlight, regardless of what they had to do to get it there.

Last October, on the night Olamide Adeyooye from ISU went missing, it had been reported recently after the event in the Chicago Tribune that the man who murdered her had told his friend that he felt like killing someone just to get his name in the news. Due to these discovered intentions, the press has done their best to keep him from seeing his dreams realized.

In this case, the young man seems to have actually committed the crime in an attempt to guarantee his name becoming well-known, and there are many examples of people who have made false confessions and staked their claim on someone else’s vicious actions to receive the “glory” that comes with it.

According to an Aug 20 article on, after the kidnap and murder of Charles Lindbergh’s baby in 1932, more than 200 people came forward to claim responsibility for the crime.

Since 1947 when Elizabeth Short, the “Black Dahlia,” was murdered, about 500 people have confessed to murdering the aspiring actress. In 1965, a man falsely claimed to be the “Boston Strangler,” who murdered 13 women.

More recently, a man named John Mark Karr confessed to being Jon Benet Ramsey’s murderer. After some investigating, this confession proved to be false as well.

All of these crimes were high profile and would give anyone responsible for them an instant place in history. Most of us can read about these false confessions and think how mentally unstable people would have to be to try and take responsibility for such horrible actions.

As there must be instances where this is a truth, it is more common to find that someone is just looking for their 15 minutes of fame.

While we are all sighing in disgust at this despicable maneuver, these people do have a rather interesting tactic. There are plenty of people who have become household names because of the good they have brought to the world. We all know Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. We know Mother Teresa for her missionary work all over the world. But it would seem that our society focuses more on the negative.

People are fascinated with negativity. That is why the average person could not tell you who came up with the idea to genetically engineer crops, but everyone knows of John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer.

It is definitely a depraved move to go around confessing to murdering people. However, if these people are looking for attention, they are definitely smart enough to know that notoriety does not necessarily come with a halo over your head. America gives it to the good and the bad. Unfortunately in this world, there just seems to be more of the latter.

Amber Siwicki is an opinion columnist for the Northern Star.