stop making killers famous

Op-Ed: The media should stop making spree killers famous

...Focusing on the perpetrators of school shootings and other mass shootings has been a longstanding practice in the media. This was particularly evident with the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. The extensive coverage of the two perpetrators made them not only famous but even, in some quarters, folk heroes of a sort, particularly among deeply alienated students.

Nearly 20 years later, these two people, who turned their guns on themselves, have amassed a cult following (known as the Columbiners), and other shooting perpetrators have referred to them by name in manifestos they have left behind.

There are a number of problems with the intense media focus on mass shooting perpetrators. First, they are explicitly seeking fame, and the media is helping them to achieve this end. The realization that this route to fame “works” can, in turn, produce more lethal events and foster one-upmanship among perpetrators.

The copycat effect is real. A 2015 study suggests that a mass shooting increases the likelihood of an additional mass shooting in the two-week period following the incident.

A more recent study was less supportive of the thesis of short-term contagion but still cautioned that the media coverage of these attacks might well lead to copycat events over a longer period.

An ABC News investigation in 2014 found that in the 14 years after Columbine, at least 17 school shooters — and 36 other students who threatened rampages that were averted —directly cited the Columbine shooting or its perpetrators as partial motivation for the attack. In short, making perpetrators famous has consequences.

Click here to read the entire op-ed at Vox.com.

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.

Mission

Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.

JOIN