In John Grisham’s essay “Unnatural Killers” he weaves a story of two love-struck teens (Sarah Edmondson and Benjamin Darras) on a killing spree that claimed the lives of one of Grisham’s close personal friends (Bill Savage) and the mobility of another woman (Patsy Byers). Grisham claims that these teens were influenced by Oliver Stone’s film Natural Born Killers and that “there exists a direct causal link between the movie Natural Born Killers and the death of Bill Savage”(577). Even though I must concede some of Grisham’s points, I still think that, whether the movie (Natural Born Killers) had an influence on the two teens or not it’s still their personal choices to shoot those people. The blame should be laid on Darras and Edmondson because of their decisions, not Oliver Stone because of his movie’s possible influence.
In his essay, Grisham makes many heated claims towards Oliver Stone and his film, but I must concede to the fact that one of the victims (Bill Savage) was one of Grisham’s close personal friends. That was most likely the reason for the heated tone of Grisham’s remarks. Along with Grisham’s personal attachment to the shootings, he is also a lawyer and writer whose stories could have possible influences on people, therefore, giving him a different perspective on the situation as a whole. My last concession to Grisham’s essay is, as he acknowledges on page 573 of his essay, that he only has Sarah’s testimony to use for reference. Even with those concessions there is still plenty of questions concerning the two teens’ story.
The first of my questions would have to be in regards to the teens questionable backgrounds. In his essay, Grisham makes a statement about the two kids saying, “troubled as they were, Ben and Sarah had no history of violence. Their crime spree was totally out of character. They were confused, disturbed, shiftless, mindless…but they had never hurt anyone before” (575). However, that raises a question. How does Grisham know that? Nowhere in his essay does he provide evidence to support that claim. He does write that, “Sarah, a member of one of Oklahoma’s most prominent political families, began using drugs and alcohol at the age of thirteen. At fourteen she was locked up for psychiatric treatment” (572). That in itself suggests that she has been causing herself damage since the age of 13. With all of that personal destructive behavior it is very possible she could have hurt someone else along the way. It is much of the same type of story with the other teen, Ben Darras. Ben’s troubled childhood included an alcoholic father that committed suicide and a personal history of drug and alcohol abuse (572). Once again, this strongly suggests that Ben has been causing himself harm for a number of years. Most importantly though, those facts show that both Ben and Sarah had problems before they ever saw Oliver Stone’s controversial thriller.
In Grisham’s essay, he also mentions that before Ben and Sarah left on...