‘Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” is a slap in the face for mental health.
If you look online today, most reviews of the Netflix documentary are left with the same mind-boggled reaction: ‘What did I just watch?’
Aaron Hernandez was charged for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee. While on trial, Hernandez was also indicted for the double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. For me, the documentary did not focus heavily enough on his struggles.
The documentary left me overwhelmed and confused as to what direction it was going in. At times, I saw myself almost rooting for Hernandez because he never received any help for his mental health problems. Many of the stories shared from people in the series seemed attention-seeking as if they said “Interview me. I knew Hernandez for a split second.” The only thing that most of the interviewees had in common was that they knew something was wrong with Hernandez. None of those people chose to help him.
In the documentary, it was revealed that Hernandez suffered from not only mental, sexual and emotional abuse, but also chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
According to the Boston CTE Center, CTE is a degenerative brain disease found in athletes, military veterans and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma. Symptoms of CTE include impulse control problems, aggression, depression and paranoia. Hernandez had all these symptoms, as shown in the documentary, from past trauma involving the loss of his father at the age of 16 and hanging out with the wrong crowd and participating in drug use. I believe that it was crucial at that time for Hernandez to have people who actually cared for him by his side, but everyone was in their own world. This could have eventually led him to kill and even commit suicide
At the end of the documentary, the focus shifts once again. The documentary becomes a play on words when Hernandez’s brain gets donated for research. Hernandez’s brain is revealed to have the most severe case of CTE for someone his age. According to the New York Times, his CTE had progressed to the level that doctors might expect to see in a 60 year old.
I truly feel that Aaron Hernandez’s life could have gone differently if he had more support in his life. Hernandez’s mother caused him emotional pain when she got together with his cousin’s boyfriend after Hernandez’s father died. I believe it was as emotional abuse. While his mother was supposed to be by his side during the trial, instead she was with another man. She let Aaron deal with his emotions on his own, which was not a wonderful idea.
The lack of mental health awareness, as shown in the documentary, was alarming. Hernandez’s actions and behaviors raised so many red flags, and his family and friends failed him in the end.
I also believe that the theory of him being a closeted gay motivated him to kill is wrong and far-fetched. Yes, having the media run stories and rumors about you can cause emotional distress, but not as far as to make you a murderer. I am not saying that he was innocent because he wasn’t.
Overall, the documentary was messy and ridiculous. The theories and explanations as to why Aaron Hernandez did what he did were pointless and just another way for Netflix to make money.
The only thing the documentary succeeded in was changing the narrative from what it really should have been about: Hernandez’s cry for help.