The fastest way to media fame and immortality is to commit a bigger mass murder than the last one. Steven Abell proposes that the news media stop playing along…
Emulate the Governor of Colorado: refuse to say the killer’s name! It may be impossible to know what these murderers actually want, but if there is even a chance that fame, or infamy, is it, we must not give it to them. Neither can we give any hope of it to those who might come after them. Make it clear that such people will wallow in obscurity.
There might have been an excuse for all this breathless searching for ‘a reason’ several mass murders ago, but by now it should be clear that the breathless searching and 24/7 reporting is motive enough in itself. Yes, someone who is ready to take their own life can go out in a blaze of glory, inspiring others to copycat their crime. Why else would these things come in waves?
Jessica Stern, whose fine book ‘Terror in the Name of God’ addresses violence for ideology suggests one strategy. Discredit the terrorists in their own community. We cannot discredit mass shooters as long as we reward them with the attention they crave, and as long as they can admire themselves posing with their guns–imitating the images of power in our culture.
The media would be more responsible to report on the courage of law-abiding Americans like the Sikh community in Oak Creek, Wisconsin or the Unitarian community in Knoxville, Tennessee who are not intimidated from coming together to use their freedom of religion and assembly.
It’s lazy reporting to name the killers and let their victims fade from memory as if their lives and the suffering of their loved ones is not news.
So many news articles on the web named the murderer of the Sikh temple but not the members of the temple whose lives were taken. Here are their names…
Bhai Seeta Singh
Bhai Parkash Singh
Bhai Ranjit Singh
Satwant Singh Kaleka
Parmjit Kaur Toor
Here are their faces.
Titillation sells better than grief. Guns are entertaining, wounds not so much. How much truth are we ready to bear?
MORE: Mr.Green says that when some fool runs out onto a football field during a game, the cameras are turned away. No reward for violating the game. With all due respect to a free press, there is a chance that dialing down the attention to wrongdoers and focusing on the people who obey the rules might help bring back some perspective.