To The Daily Sun,
Okay, I get it. Sensationalism sells. Newspapers and broadcast media are businesses. They need to make a profit; but responsibility does enter into it. There are times when responsible journalists will not, should not, or cannot publish every detail of every horrible incident. This is now the time to rethink what is the effect of making celebrities of school shooters or any other mass murderers.
A recent survey of young people found the answer to the simple question, “What do you want to be in five years?” to produce a not-so-surprising but sad statement from the largest list of responses: “Famous.” They gave no qualifiers, not any adjectives, just “Famous.”
The news media have made the names of the perpetrators of these murderous acts available in print or online. These sick-minded cowards are made celebrities by the newspapers, the broadcast media and the social media bloggers. The latest Reuters report of this was on Thursday, when they showed his picture and even described his appearance in almost glowing terms: “…his longish, tasseled black hair was partially dyed bright lavender,” a description that echoes the society page description of a VIP wedding.
This man and his girlfriend and co-perpetrator are either very sick or evil. Whatever their motivation, be it suicide by cop, or some other warped idea, they are now famous. If they acted in this terrible way, should they not be put away, out of sight for the rest of their lives? It is time to reduce the likelihood of other sick, warped or evil people wanting the same sort of celebrity.
The responsible media should stop printing names, descriptions and photos of these people. After all, aren’t they innocent until proven guilty? Blocking this kind of information may cause people to howl about the constitutional right to freedom of the press, but are there not some other constitutional rights being challenged in an effort to stop this horror?