“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.”
And he’s right. On so the day of the shooting, plus the day after, so many of my friends of Facebook lamented the horrible tragedy that is this devastating shooting, but then they also pointed fingers towards gun control. Gun control is not the problem here. People who want guns will get guns, whether or not it is illegal. The problem here is how we are treating these tragedies. With fame and almost glory. (Not the kind of glory as we would like, but they’re infamous monsters whose names will be remembered, maybe forever.)
And Fox News didn’t even get it right. Once they heard a name that could possibly be the shooter, they went online and got a profile picture off of Facebook and spread it all across the news. It was this guy, Ryan Lanza:
But he didn’t do it. He wasn’t even close. It was this guy’s brother who was the suspect, but this is not the right Ryan Lanza, just a guy with the same name.
We are spending too much time pointing fingers: it’s society’s fault, it’s the violent media’s fault, it’s violent video games... Pointing fingers doesn’t help anybody. We need to start trying to increase the good, try to increase understanding, awareness, and help.
We need to stop listening to the news. Especially Fox News. Seriously, it’s worthless. It’s become sensationalist and dumbed down. They don’t tell you what’s happening on in the world. They laugh and make jokes and tell you how to make Cheesy Potatoes or Shrimp Salsa Tacos. Fox wants to entertain you, not inform you. A recent study was done and showed that the viewership of Fox News had an average IQ ten points below the national average.
And they went online and plastered an innocent man’s face all over the nation as being a killer, apparently without any sort of research or fact checking.
Let’s substitute human reason for shrimp tacos and Facebook slaughters.
Let’s try to build understanding of the world around us.
Let’s try to support research rather than point fingers and glorify killers.
But let’s now have a moment of silence for all of those who died needlessly, whose names we don’t remember, whose faces we never knew.