December 16th, 2012 at 04:16pm
And it has to be said, the way these horrible events play out in the media is part of the problem too. An unfortunate example of this is the way that the day-to-day small-scale shootings from robberies and various personal disputes which would normally get local attention only, are automatically given national and international attention in the days after a mass-shooting. This, it could be argued, gives disturbed people an opportunity for notoriety by having the media link, without due cause, their act to the mass-shooting.
I don’t often defer to actors for their opinions, however Morgan Freeman has made a very good point about all of this in recent hours. His point, which I’ll let him explain in detail, is that we should be focussing on the victims and not the murderous lunatics as the notoriety which these murderers receive helps to fuel other murderous nuts. He says we should think of the victims instead of thinking of increasing regulations on guns as we would see less copycat killings if the murderers didn’t become famous for “going out in a blaze of glory”. I think Morgan has a very valid point.
You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.
It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of Columbine?
Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.
CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.
You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.
(h/t The Examiner)
It is a natural part of human curiosity that we want to know why events like this happen, and to that end it probably is important that we get to know who is responsible for this type of atrocity, but it is also important that we don’t make a martyr out of someone by plastering their name and face over every news bulletin for days and even weeks. The victims are much more important.
To that end, again courtesy of The Examiner, here are the names of the victims of this latest tragedy.
– Charlotte Bacon, born February 22, 2006, female
– Daniel Barden, born September 25, 2005, male
– Rachel Davino, born August 17, 1983, female.
– Olivia Engel, born August 18, 2006, female
– Josephine Gay, born December 11, 2005, female
– Ana M. Marquez-Greene, born April 4, 2006, female
– Dylan Hockley, born March 8, 2006, male
– Dawn Hocksprung, born June 28, 1965, female
– Madeleine F. Hsu, born July 10, 2006, female
– Catherine V. Hubbard, born June 8, 2006, female
– Chase Kowalski, born October 31, 2005, male
– Jesse Lewis, born June 30, 2006, male
– James Mattioli , born March 22, 2006, male
– Grace McDonnell, born December 4, 2005, female
– Anne Marie Murphy, born July 25, 1960, female
– Emilie Parker, born May 12, 2006, female
– Jack Pinto, born May 6, 2006, male
– Noah Pozner, born November 20, 2006, male
– Caroline Previdi, born September 7, 2006, female
– Jessica Rekos, born May 10, 2006, female
– Avielle Richman, born October 17, 2006, female
– Lauren Russeau, born June 1982, female (full date of birth not specified)
– Mary Sherlach, born February 11, 1956, female
– Victoria Soto, born November 4, 1985, female
– Benjamin Wheeler, born September 12, 2006, male
– Allison N. Wyatt, born July 3, 2006, female
May they all rest in peace.