“With its mix of jealousy, religion, murder, and sex, the Jodi Arias case shows what happens when the justice system becomes entertainment.” So reported one newspaper, which likened her trial to O. J. Simpson’s. The HLN network aired a daily show covering the case, which was featured on 48 Hours Mystery, Inside Edition, and every major media outlet.
Yesterday afternoon, Jodi Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander. Arias claimed that she acted in self-defense, but he was found shot in the forehead and stabbed nearly 30 times, with his throat slit from ear to ear. My focus this morning is not in the morbid details of the trial, which you can find anywhere on the Internet. Rather, I’m interested in the fact that we’re so interested.
People from around the country traveled to Phoenix to be close to the trial. They lined up outside the courthouse each day, seeking one of the few open public seats in the gallery. One person sold her place in line to another person for $200; both were reprimanded by the court and the money was returned. The defense attorney became an Internet sensation. Arias sold drawings from jail throughout the trial—her mother said they were used to help pay for family expenses.
Seemingly lost in all the hype was the vicious death of Mr. Alexander. Now that Arias has been found guilty, she may be executed as well. The media frenzy will soon die down, but their souls will live forever, either in heaven or in hell.
C. S. Lewis was right: “You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” When the sun and moon and stars are gone and the mountains and seas have disappeared, you will still be alive, somewhere. So will Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander and every person you know.
Psychologist Carl Jung once noted that the great question of the second half of life is whether we humans are “related to something infinite or not.” This is because we are made in the image of our infinite Father (Genesis 1:27). C. S. Lewis, again: “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”