As painful and troubling as it is to admit, mass shootings have become commonplace in American culture. Dozens of innocent Americans are slaughtered consistently in the places where we have typically felt the safest: schools, churches, movie theatres and shopping malls.
As AR-15s and school shootings have been accepted as ‘just another part of modern society.’
Americans are forced to live with the assumption that they are vulnerable to being murdered every time they leave their home.
Sound dramatic? I believe the fear we live in cannot be overemphasized.
All we can do is desperately hope that we will not be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
We hope to not be wherever the next shooting occurs. To not be one of the innocent victims whose picture is flashed on the news. Unfortunately, with the frequency of these shootings, the question has turned from if we will be impacted by the ripples of these horrors but rather, when.
Some argue that the solution to the problem lies within gun control legislation. Though I am overwhelmingly in favor of strict reform, I believe that it is a short-term solution for a long-term problem.
I believe the most significant opportunity for change lies in the hands of the media.
As a member of the media, I am calling for immediate change.
After a shooting occurs, people often shake their heads and ask why. Who could be responsible for such senseless violence? How could someone be filled with such hate?
These questions are human interest. When something horrific occurs, we can’t help but try to understand why. With shootings such as these, there is no answer that could ever justify the actions of the murderers.
Yet, when a shooting happens, the typical news cycle is as follows: reporting when and where the shooting occurred, number of injuries and deaths, the impacts and who the shooter is. I believe this method of reporting is fundamentally flawed and inspires future crimes.
No news station should report the name of the shooter or feature them. The name of the shooter should not be spoken. By broadcasting their names and faces, these murderers are gaining exactly what they want-infamy.
It is absolutely morbid but true. Many of these shooters carry out these crimes because they feel insignificant and want to be remembered, even if their names are forever known as the cruelest and vile people to have ever lived.
Some shooters are glamorized by the media and news reporting, as they are represented as misunderstood and lonely. I want to make it very clear that the perpetrators of these crimes are not social rejects deserving of sympathy, but murderers who willingly took innocent lives.
Reporters should treat them as such. Broadcasting the shooters in that way inspires others to commit the same crimes in hopes that they will also be remembered.
To reduce future tragedies and copycat crimes, the media must deprive shooters of the celebrity and infamy they so desperately crave. It is the responsibility of the media to focus instead on the victims of the shootings and the senselessness of the crime.
In response to the glamorization of the shooters, family members of victims have started the No Notoriety campaign, which focuses to reduce the number of shootings by challenging the media to not publish the name or photo of the killer.
Infamy and notoriety is a motivational factor for individuals to commit rampage mass murder. To these individuals, their killings will springboard them to fame.
Let’s not give them what they want. No name. No photo. No notoriety.