Study shows that the average mass killer gets $75 million worth of media attention.
The obvious lesson would be that people do it to get famous and we could reduce the problem by ignoring them, but I'm not sure that's true; has anybody read enough about these monsters to find out what part a desire to be famous played in their schemes? And even that result would be ambivalent, like, Timothy McVeigh wanted to make a huge media splash, but that was because he was hoping to touch off a revolution.
Plus, given Americans obsession with such events, I doubt even the most determined, anti-Constitutional censorship would have much effect.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
The Attention we Give to Mass Killers
Labels: journalism, justice, society
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Virtually every expert on mass murderers will tell you that the media circuses that surround their deeds are a massive contributor toward future mass murders.
We don't need to censor these events, but we also really shouldn't be reporting on them 24/7 for weeks or months at a time.
These events should, of course, be reported on in the direct aftermath, since there's certain practical and rational benefits to that. But the media's exploitative over-coverage of these tragedies after the fact is both morally repugnant and objectively damaging to society as a whole.
Of course, nothing is going to change. We're going to keep being the only aflluent country in the world where this happens regularly, because we're not going to do a goddamn thing to try to stop it.
Every reasonable solution that gets proposed is going to be shot down before it can even be tried. Nevermind if it has worked in other countries. Nevermind if top experts in their fields suggest it based on hard science and long study. It's simply not going to ever be tried.
Because the truth is, far more than mass murderers, we fear things like change, the appearance of failure, and losing special privileges.
We can't change our laws to prevent violence! That'd be crazy! Things are just fine the way they are! No, what we really need are things like more responsible gun owners! Of course, we shouldn't change our gun laws to promote or enforce responsible gun ownership. That'd be bad, because change is scary. No, what we need is for the laws to stay exactly the same as they are right now, and for people to choose of their own volition not to go around and commit mass murders and other gun crimes. That's the ticket!
Besides, what if we change our laws, and it doesn't work? That'd be horrible! Can you imagine, trying to fix a problem, and not being able to? The horror! It's far, far better to do absolutely nothing and leave things the way they are. After all, you can't fail if you don't try!
And you also have to consider the effect on our rights and freedoms! The Second Amendment (or at least a certain biased interpretation of it) grants us the constitutional right to bear arms, in all sorts of contexts far in excess of the original intent of the document! And you can't alter or infringe that right! Nevermind that it was an Amendment, and by definition it can and should be itself amended as necessary. Nevermind that by failing to prevent these guns from being used to commit mass murders, we are infringing upon the inaliable right to Life that all people possess! You can't take away our guns, for any reason! Because they're ours, and we'll kill anyone who tries to take them away to prevent violence!
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