Nothing is added to the discussion by naming or showing the shooters in any of these mass shootings, or in killings whose sole purpose is to unleash violence on innocents (however many or few). Yes, their names are part of the public record and certainly their picture is somewhere on the Internet. But having the media, either mass media or local media, broadcast the murderer’s names for hours over days and weeks does not better inform you.
However, the No Notoriety campaign doesn’t go far enough, in my not so humble opinion.
Next time a shooting like this comes up, don’t watch it. You aren’t going to learn anything by watching it unfold live on television, and then days later as they slowly piece together the obviously missing pieces. Or undo the misinformation they willfully spread to get more viewers. Don’t give those shooters fame, don’t give them something to “die for”. Many of them have shown to be suicidal, and are looking to shock you. But you the viewer, don’t kid yourself into thinking that watching it makes you more informed.
How could you possibly be more informed for knowing a mass shooting was occurring right now, or had occurred 6 hours ago? There is value in knowing the event happened, as it is news (however grim it may be). But if you are watching it to understand why, or get more details, you are simply not going to get them right away. You won’t even know the names of the victims, yet you’ll probably know the names of the possible murderer well before anyone has been confirmed dead. You need to wait days or even weeks later to get real details. Ones that aren’t reflexively thrown around from the media who are scrounging for anything they can get their hands on.
Did you know that, after the Sandy Hook shooting, the brother of the shooter was the one to have believed to have been the murderer? Because the murderer had stolen his license, and that somehow got to the media as “he did it”. The kid was on the bus to go home, after having sat in a school wide lock down, when he got angry tweets and messages from total strangers who saw his name, and assumed he did it. Do you understand how traumatizing that is? And no one was at all better informed. Even if the name was correct the first time, no one would have had their life at all possibly improved for knowing the real name of the murderer an hour earlier, before it was confirmed or really anything more than speculation. This also happened to complete strangers on the Internet who happened to share his name. its disgusting what the least informed or emotionally immature will do when given false information, but they are fueled by the media.
Don’t pander to the politically charged nonsense afterwards. Push for real reforms and real understanding in your communities. If you really want to make change, then understand the actual motivations and actually put forward changes to reduce those motivations. Don’t just idly sit and talk about 2nd amendment rights or mental health as if you are somehow informed. Those talking points have been used by both sides to do nothing for decades, and if we still need to debate the merit of gun control laws, or increased mental health, then we will have little hope in actually stopping events like these from happening.
Send the media a strong message when the next event occurs. Don’t give them ad clicks. Don’t give them commercial views, and don’t give their story’s the viral spread the media wants. It is incredibly emotionally damaging and disheartening to hear your town’s name just forever ruined. That when you Google for “Newtown” or “Sandy Hook”, its the dozens or hundreds of stories, some not even sure of the total number murdered.
I of course speak about the Sandy Hook shooting as it is very close to me. I hate using something like this to push a political agenda (as this post is rather political in nature), but I am far more tired of seeing murderers glorified by the media.