Media overemphasis increases shootings

The Southerner

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BY BILAL VAUGHN

Adam Lanza, James Holmes and Eric Harris. Charlotte Bacon, Rebecca Ann Wingo and Steve Curnow. If one of the first three names were whispered in a busy area, at least one person would recognize the infamous name. The next three names, however, are unrecognizable to the common man. Most know the shooter’s name in the Newton, Conn. massacre, the shooting at the Batman premiere in Aurora, Colo. and in the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., but nobody really knows the victims in those shootings, and I believe the media should change the way they cover such tragedies.

In the span of 20 years, there have been numerous shootings by deranged people. In 2007 at Virginia Tech, Seung Hui-Cho killed 32 and injured 17 before committing suicide. In Red Lake, Minn., 2005, Jeffrey Weise killed seven people before committing suicide.  Once the incident has occurred, the names of the shooters are broadcasted across media outlets such as CNN, Fox and ABC, no matter if the shooter is alive or dead. While the shooter gains fame and distinction, others in a similar state of mind look on and see the attention mass murderers can get.

For mass shooters, killing is not the primary concern. Rather, it is the infamy that results from killing. In 90 percent of cases, the shooters don’t know or care about those they are about to kill. They mainly do it for the fame and recognition that goes along with the crime. In many cases, mass murder also constitutes a death wish.

While the media goes on and on about who shot up this school and that school, the victims are the ones the media should pay attention to. Focusing on the victims sheds a brighter light on the situation. It shows that instead of focusing on all the wrongdoing in the world, innocent souls are being taken by those interested in notoriety.

Charlotte Bacon was six years old and attended Sandy Hook Elementary School. She had her whole life ahead of her, but it was cut short because of a shooter with no will to live. Rebecca Ann Wingo was 32 when she was killed by a shooter in Aurora, Colo. She left behind two young children, one who had just started kindergarten. Steve Curnow was 14 years old when he was shot in the Columbine massacre of 1999. Curnow was an aspiring Navy top gun pilot, but his dream vanished when a dangerously violent student shot him. Focusing on the victims in these instances takes attention away from the  shooters.

I believe if the media didn’t plaster Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold all over the news, the Virginia Tech shooting would not have happened. If Virginia Tech had never happened, the Aurora, Colo. and Newton, Conn. shootings wouldn’t have happened. I believe the shooters would have committed suicide, but without killing as many, if any at all, innocent people. In my opinion, plastering the names of the shooters all over the media makes others want to out do their predecessors. Shedding light on the victims rather than on the shooters helps future mad men see that people are more than just a face.

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