Are you sick of these mass murders? Everyday there’s a new Aurora, CO or Newtown, CT. It’s disgusting. We’re the world’s largest super power and yet we go around like savages, killing and murdering our peers and children. What’s the answer? Is it gun control? I don’t think so. It’s easy enough to blame the tool, but what’s next? If someone stabs 30 kids and kills them, will we look towards banning knives next? What about violent video games and movies. Are they the problem? Doubtful. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 sold 16 million copies in its first week. Wouldn’t we have seen mass riots and all out anarchy? No, it’s not the video game or movie industries that are causing this. But what about the thing we all get this information from? What about the box in our homes that glorifies these killers as “anti-heroes”?
For a lost kid or adult that feels like no one pays attention to him or her in life, the most amazing thing in the world is to be recognized. To have people know their name and remember their face. Do violent video games put pictures of these mass killers in them? No, not really. Do movies make these people out to be the hero standing atop bodies, holding an assault rifle with the beautiful girl in their arms? No, they don’t. So why does the news do it? Why do Fox News, CNN and MSNBC feel the need to plaster the killer’s face all over the screen. Why do they feel the need to talk to the neighbors and interview the families of these savages? Why do these organizations create narratives of these people’s lives that on some level, in some aspect, we can all relate to? Let me try and explain.
Everyone was the dorky kid at one point. Everyone felt outcast. So while you look at the Newtown CT shooter and say “No, not me, I’m nothing like him.”, most of us will come to the realization that we, in some way, can relate. We’ve all been irate when a driver cuts us off. We’ve all wanted to slam our fists into the face of the jock that stole our girlfriend. We’ve all wanted to stand up and tell our abusive parents what we think of them. The only difference is that we’re too scared. And please understand, I’m not saying these savages are better than us. Far from it. But they’re not scared of the consequences like we are. They don’t fear jail time. They don’t fear death. They don’t fear their families being embarrassed. What they really fear is being no one. Being just another face in the crowd.
So by committing these vile acts, they see it as a way out of that crowd. They see it as a podium to stand at. They’re saying “FINALLY, I will be heard.” The most important thing to them isn’t to have a nice family at home or create a beautiful piece of art that will live forever, but rather, only to be known for SOMETHING. They don’t have the drive or work ethic to complete something else in life. They want to be a star right here, right now. And the media helps them along down that path. The 24 hour news cycle plasters their face right up there with Derek Jeter and President Barrack Obama. What would a person do to gain the fame for the President of the most powerful nation on Earth to give a speech about you? For the already mentally ill or people from an abusive, violent home, the answer is simple: anything.
If you’ve made it this far, then I applaud you. It probably took you a few minutes and a lot of patience with my redundant, gonzo writing style, but you’ve made it to the end. I’m not asking for a ban on what the media can and can’t say. This is America, not some third world country ruled by a dictator. I want the free press to be just that: free. But I also want to send a message to these people that you’re creating these animals every time you show a picture of them. Every time you mention their names or what school they went to or what they did in their spare time, you’re building the story for the next shooter to relate to. There was always talk about the Columbine shooters, about how they were bullied and picked on. How they didn’t fit in with their classmates. We sat around shocked, shouting “How could this happen to kids in America?” Easy, I say. You’re talking about 90% of the student body.
How about this, 24 hour news cycle, mass media, whatever you’d like to call yourselves: how about we don’t show their pictures anymore. Why don’t we try to refer to them as a “male shooter, 24 years old” instead of by their names, addresses, likes and dislikes. Why don’t we treat these people like their biggest fear: just nameless, faceless losers. Consider it, and maybe we won’t have another one of these. Maybe you won’t inspire the next shooter. I’m sure it will affect your agenda, as these monsters give you something to cover for a week straight until we move on to the next tragedy, but for the time being, while our kids are dying in places we thought were safe, how about you try a new strategy? How about you act like people and not vultures?
Give it a shot. Thank you.
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