OPINION: Don’t Use Name Of Connecticut School Shooter
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By Eric Thomas, 97.1 The Ticket
DETROIT — Eighteen children were killed inside a Connecticut elementary school, along with eight adults. That’s all the information we need. The media should cover funerals, interview the parents about their grief if they must, and nothing else. I am heartbroken for the victims of this horror, and for the ones close to them whom have only just started to suffer.
The sickness and sorrow mixed inside me are shared by the nation, the way it should be. Our collected hearts and minds are thinking about the victims and their families. We swallow our grief, thinking about the people who purchased gifts for hands that now lay cold in an elementary school. We should reach out with full compassion to those people, and think only of them.
The media shouldn’t release this monster’s name. It sounds to me that this is an escalation. These people, if they can even be called that, do this because they want attention. Even if its posthumous, they want to bask in the limelight. They want the entire world to wonder why they did this. They dream about being remembered, even as the villain. The people who commit these crimes do so because the media releases their name.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold made videos where they talked about their impending fame. They talked about who would play them in the movie made about them. Elephant, by Gus Van Zandt, did exactly that. The Virginia Tech shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, made a video manifesto which even contained a shout out to Eric and Dylan. He mailed it to NBC before he started shooting and NBC pasted their logo on it. There was a kid who shot up a mall a couple of years back, I’m glad I don’t remember his name, who told his friends that tomorrow he was “going to be famous.” The media attention these shooters get is their motivation for the crime. Harris and Klebold talked about trying to achieve a higher body count, so as to get more attention.
If we are going to talk about violence in video games and music, why can’t we address the actual motive for the crime?
This is the worst spree killing I have ever heard of. Reports are saying that many of the dead are between 5-10 year old children. It’s clear to me that this piece of garbage, who fired multiple shots into the faces of frightened children, was trying to make his own act unique. He, in my opinion, tried to escalate the horror so that he would get more attention. He wants his name above the fold on every printed paper and screamed onto every timeline wall and Twitter page. Don’t do it. The only thing that releasing his name guarantees is that there will be more and only further escalation is possible.
Honestly, what’s the downside? What’s the worst thing that could happen if you never know this monster’s name? How will it aversely affect anything? Some might say studying the minds of these killers makes it easier to predict these acts. It doesn’t. Every time we study the systems we find countless red flags that were stepped over. We always find the cracks after the monster slips through, and that investigation can be done without the media spotlight.
Right now, I am only thinking about the victims. I am only thinking about the mountain of grief that fell on the chests of Connecticut and the nation only a few short hours ago. I think about the holiday season, and how it will be very different for far too many people in Connecticut this year. Without releasing the name of the shooter, I only think about the victims. That’s the way it should be.
If we continue to give these pieces of garbage what they want this horror will only spread. If you lock down their names and make them disappear, as a matter of national security, the motivation to commit these acts disappears. There will always be lone crazy people that do this garbage, but at least you don’t give them what they ultimately want.
There will be long hugs tonight. There will be countless kisses on little heads all over the world, from parents who struggle explaining why they are acting different. Our whole hears weep for the people who are victims of this terrible tragedy, and thats right where our hearts should be.