Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho (courtesy saybrook.edu) (modified)

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (a wholly owned subsidiary of Mayors Against Illegal Guns) has published an open letter to the Presidents of ABC, CBS, CNN and Fox News. The missive (after the jump) calls on Manhattan’s media mavens to refer to “mass shooters” as “the killer who shall not be named” or some such thing. It also demands that they refrain from publishing photos that “glamorize” or “aggrandize the shooter.” Oh, that’s what they want to call killers like Adam Lanza, James Holmes and Seung-Hui Cho. But what if the mass killer uses a pressure cooker? Anyway, MDA also wants the news nets to refrain from airing “self-serving statements by the shooter.” Giving mass killers the Voldemort treatment is unnecessary (killers gotta kill) and self-censoring (truth tellers gotta tell). It’s all about context. Put aside the obvious stupidity of an anti-gun group telling the nets how to wave the bloody shirt. Is MDA right? . . . [h/t M.B.]
COVER MASS SHOOTERS LIKE MURDERERS, NOT CELEBRITIES

TO: BEN SHERWOOD, PRESIDENT OF ABC NEWS; DAVID RHODES, PRESIDENT OF CBS NEWS; DEBORAH TURNESS, PRESIDENT OF NBC NEWS; JEFF ZUCKER, PRESIDENT OF CNN WORLDWIDE; AND ROGER AILES, PRESIDENT OF FOX NEWS

We call on your media outlets to treat mass shooters as murderers seeking notoriety, not as celebrities. Specifically, we ask you to immediately enact a policy to follow these guidelines when covering mass shootings:

– Do not use the name of the shooter, except when necessary in initial identification or to aid in apprehension of a suspect still at large.

– Do not publish photos that glamorize or aggrandize the shooter.

– Do not air self-serving statements made by the shooter.

Why is this important?

Mass shootings have become all-too common occurrences in the United States. So has the tendency of the news media to focus its attention on the perpetrator of the crimes, often blanketing coverage with the shooter’s name, image and biography in unnecessarily exhaustive and sensational detail. I’ve joined with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to start this petition and challenge the major news networks to change this practice.

I am intimately familiar with this disturbing trend, because on because on July 20, 2012, my son Alex was one of twelve people murdered when a gunman opened fire on a packed movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

Since that terrible day, I have learned that there is evidence that intense media coverage may serve as a motivating factor for others who seek this twisted kind of celebrity. The perpetrators of the atrocities in Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Newtown and others appear to have paid close attention to media coverage of previous mass shootings.

Ironically, as recently as last month, the media again displayed its tendency to enshrine a mass shooter in infamy. When the police report about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary was released, major news outlets released story after story with sensational but irrelevant details about the murderer.

News outlets should not reward these killers with the attention they crave—whether they are still living or deceased. More important, if the promise of infamy plays any role, no matter how small, in the motivation of such crimes, it is incumbent upon the news media to eliminate the source of that motivation.

Like too many parents in this country, my husband Tom and I grieve our son every day. Nothing can change the tragedy that took away Alex and eleven other innocent victims. But media outlets can change the way they cover the perpetrators of such heinous crimes, and take steps that would potentially remove one motivating factor in future tragedies.

It is time for corporations to act with responsibility. Although Congress failed to act last year on laws that could have made Americans safer from gun violence, the leaders of corporate America can stand up for the public interest by taking steps like this.

Please join Moms Demand Action and me in asking the heads of the major news networks to institute guidelines that would deny mass shooters the opportunity to achieve a perverse celebrity status and would keep their names and faces out of the news.

117 Responses to Question of the Day: Is Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Right About Media Coverage of Mass Murderers?

  1. This is the first thing that they have released that I agree with. In fact TTAG asked the AI if they should refrain from using the shooters names not long ago. If it is fame they seek let’s not give it to them.

    • This is the first time I recall agreeing with MDA. However, I do not believe in forcing news networks to do or not do anything. I also don’t support a new law regarding the same. We already have way too damn many laws.

      • I agree, there doesn’t need to be a law, but it is something I agree with. Giving them fame does not help.

        • It doesn’t really matter what the MSM puts on their terrible “news coverage” shows, for this be the age of them thar internetz. TV news is dead, as is evidenced by the continually shrinking ratings of the same networks these freedom hating mavens are attempting to zip up. This letter is more of the same BS from them to get publicity, nothing more.

      • +1

        Shooter fame = bad. They are craving recognition.

        Laws governing media = bad. Let’s just have enough people suggest it that they buy in…

    • I agree completely: stop plastering their photos and names everywhere and stop glamorizing their lives.

      My only addition: apply this protocol to all scumbags regardless of what tools, weapons, or methods they employ.

    • Perhaps the title of this post should be “MDA agrees with TTAG position on news coverage of mass shooters”. That would torque off poor little Shannon.

      • Are you kidding? This website is terrible on this point. Look back in the archives and see how many photos of the loser shitbags trying to look tough get posted on this site… just like the one on this post.

    • This is a carefully gauged statement crafted to make them look less the extremist and more the moderate all of these demands have been floated by the gun culture for years but watch the MSM’s treatment of this release. Also watch NO media or legislative follow through on this proposed LAW.

    • They are absolutely right on this (even asking and not demanding new laws!) and TTAG is absolutely wrong the way it keeps putting the photos like that above and giving these freaks jerk-off material thinking about when it’ll be their turn to get their selfie all over the internet.

  2. I will have to give this one a little thought. They might have a legitimate point on this one. If crazy people know they will not become infamous, they may find another outlet for their narcissism.

    Sometimes a blind squirrel finds a nut.

    • If you look at the Australian Port Author mass shooting, it seems that the killer was obsessed with the attention and body count.

  3. Much as it pains mento say, I kinda agree with this, in that the current level of coverage is ‘way overblown.

    Cover the news, but make it plain that the guy is more sad / pathetic than anything else, and that this just makes his lameness permanent.

    Then go on with something else and stop talking about it breathlessly for the next month.

  4. Hey,, they aren’t having such great luck in ousting the Second Amendment; might as well start nibbling away at the First!

    However – I actually agree with the request. If the networks voluntarily withhold this information, it really isn’t censorship.

    In an unrelated observation – I call upon the MDAGSA to also stop self-serving press releases. But then, that would pretty much curtail their entire media operation.

  5. I agree fully that so many of these are copycat crimes. Crazy bastards see this splashed all over the news and think to themselves, “Hey, I can do that, too.” Then it just snowballs. While the government can’t, nor shouldn’t do anything to censor coverage, news organizations should realize the consequences of some of their own stories.

  6. Wow. So my email cut off the subject line at “Question of the Day: Is Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Right About M” and my immediate reaction was no, they’re not. I don’t even care what the rest of the question is.

    But then I read it. And yes, they’re right. Sorta. Anything that gets these psychotic jackasses less coverage is a good thing, in my book. But the, as Robert called, “he who shall not be named” treatment also serves to mythologize the person in question. It makes even his name a scary thing, and that’s not good either. (I realize they won’t actually ever refer to someone as “he who shall not be named,” though it’s funny to imagine Brit Hume uttering those words.)

    Their example of how after Sandy Hook, “major news outlets released story after story with sensational but irrelevant details about the murderer” is a good example of a bad thing. And so yeah, they’re right about that.

    However, after all that, I think that this effort, like virtually all of their other efforts, is pissing in the wind. There’s not a chance in hell that the media outlets are going to modify their practices based on this, because it’s about the revenue, and plastering the bastard’s face and the intimate details of his life all over the screen for as long they can stand to do it without puking is what brings in the eyeballs, and therefore the ad revenue.

    So, it’s a good thought, but a little misguided, and most likely ultimately a cry in the wilderness that will change nothing.

    • I disagree, but only slightly. I think the news organizations definitely should name the killer(s), but take away the glamorization aspect. The name of the killer should be on the record. It should be known, but not in the way the shooter intended.

      I would love it if every network voluntarily agreed that they adopt an editorial policy that referred to mass shooters as “the pathetic loser [name here]” every time they mentioned their name.

    • Problem is the media wonks love these tragedies as much as if not more than they deplore “gun” violence. It’s a simple case of follow the money; tragic events draw “eyeballs” and the more viewer hits, the better the add exposure results for their sponsors and ‘Johnny on the spot’ notoriety for their network which enhances their revenue position and network ratings.

      The tragedy IS the story; one aspect of the tragedy is the why of the event. That brings in the shooter and everything about the shooter. For these reasons, and 1st Amendment protections, the tragedy whores in media will never relent on the incessant coverage, much as they SHOULD let it go after the initial, settled reports. They will never let it go until the ‘news’ draw runs dry; too much $$$ at stake. Besides, then they can segue into their anti-gun coverage peppered with their rhetorical anti-gun inferences and rants.

  7. I’d word it differently, but I agree with the message. Don’t use names. Don’t cover every tiny detail. Don’t use pictures. Don’t even use mass shooting. Just call them a murderer and move on.

  8. MDA is insane demonizing the same tactics that they use if they thought a mass shooting could get their agenda advanced the should screen these psychos names from rooftops this is disingenuous at best

  9. I agree. (Look! It’s my shocked face!)

    As Mr. Colion Noir points out, most Americans can easily name several of the recent mass-murder perpetrators, but can’t name any of the people who stopped them.

    I try to not use the killers’ names. I call them “the Sandy Hook killer” or “the Columbine killers”, etc.

  10. I do agree.

    Should we also not give these things minimal coverage? Say it happened and move on! All this trotting it out every few months serves the same purpose as glorifying the shooter. Even if the shooter is forgotten their act won’t be, and so the motivator is still there, at least in part.

  11. I agree. Mass killers could do us all a favor if they just planned on shooting themselves first.
    Finally, MDA says something that makes sense.

  12. I think it is a good idea. For one if they stop talking about the shooter constantly there will be less opportunities to have a gun debate, since the subject is less likely to come up. Additionally it will yield less opportunities to Segway to the “guns are bad, mmmkay” that many of the journalist take.

    I think the mass shootings are similar to where the word amok comes from(it’s worth a google/wiki). If we can change the conversation for what was used, and who used it….to why it happened, I think it is better for gun owners and society.

  13. Shocked to be able to voice my support for an MDA directive as well.

    SOP in school suicide training is not to memorialize the individual for fears of copy cats seeking the same notoriety. I firmly believe this holds true with mass shootings as well. I think a strong stance geared towards labeling these individuals as the cowards they are and refusing to air pictures or personal details will go a long way in dissuading the impressionable young minds from pursuing similar paths.

    The challenge will be the media resisting the oh so tempting urge to use these events to push their anti-gun agendas.

  14. How about this? How about we instead encourage publicizing the names that those that STOP mass murder (robberies, etc) be they uniformed or non-uniformed citizens.

    Been asking friends and family if they know the name James Englert. Haven’t gotten an affirmative response yet.

    And, I find it interesting that the Sheriff requesting non-access to Englert

    http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2013/12/arapahoe_high_school_shooting_james_englert.php

    was doing so not to protect Englert’s privacy or personal space, but because he was subject to an ongoing investigation.

    Anyway, lots of incidents involve heroic actions by “the people” and those are the names they should herald as heroic rather than soft job they tend to give such stories.

  15. The first amendment provides for freedom of speach. Let each news agency determine how they chose to present the news and let the public decide which ones they choose to support.

  16. In a general way, I agree that media should not “glorify” spree killers. I get the point that sick folk try to emulate other sick folk, though I do not know if this is something that is actually proven. We do know that many mass murderers study prior events, but is that to achieve the same notoriety as a named person or the same impact of the event. There is a difference, I’d think.

    It gets tricky. I’ve read media coverage that portrayed some of these criminals as though they were victims themselves. Sometimes, this may be a truthful thing, such as a person who had been horribly bullied retaliating against his oppressors. This can be useful to focus attention on bullying. On the other hand, everyone reading this has been bullied to some degree and we didn’t kill because of it, so does it really matter?

    Is the solution to go all “he-who-shall-not-be-named”. I don’t object to that. Part of me thinks they ought to be made objects of public ridicule and scorn. I once worked as a volunteer at a Rape Crisis Center (long ago) and during training the topic of flashers came up. Everyone was kicking around what people should do in that situation. One, very entertaining fellow volunteer suggested that someone who is flashed should respond, “What is that? (pointing at the flasher’s groin).. it looks like penis, only smaller.” I’ve often wondered if that is the best response. It might be.

    I can imagine the second paragraph in a media report after a mass shooting has settled down should be, “Holmes, a pathetic loser who was incapable of finishing school or directing his anger in a positive direction, is widely known to have a small, non-functioning penis. This has not yet been confirmed, but evidence from his prior dating partners is likely to substantiate this rumor. The shooter was recognized by his family and friends as a pathetic excuse for a human life, had deeply narcissistic impulses, and was considered a complete loon.” or similar…

    • It’s true many mass murderers study past events, but so do non-mass murderers. The FBI’s BSU started as a research project – studying serial killers.

      We all study these things…in order to learn from them and (hopefully) prevent them, or at least prevent becoming a victim of them.

      So, point is, studying past events is a bit of a straw man.

      • Agreed. Studying past events is one thing that tends to tie such killers to each other. And I think that is insufficient to potentially require such killers to be unnamed in media. I don’t know, though probably the BSU does, whether such killers actually “glorify” their predecessors. Hard for me to imagine as regardless of how a shooter is portrayed, he is still a murder of innocents, typically defined as crazy, and ends up dead. Excess coverage of these facts would not lead me to imagine that the shooter was being glorified, but the media is mostly dumb and probably crosses the line sometimes. Notorious != famous. But who knows for a sick killer, that notoriety may be what he needs.

        • And regardless, I just cannot say I agree with MDA on anything. if they said the sun was shining, and it was bright outside, I’d internally be questioning, “what is their angle on this?” In this case, I think they are aiming to expand their legitimacy (from their and media perspectives) on the broader topic. No matter what they say, they will always be our opponents. Always.

  17. I actually agree with something that ‘Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’ said or supports – weird !!!

  18. Uh.. Haven’t the POFG been saying this for years? Blehg. At least MDA can’t hide behind the media circus anymore.

  19. They had me right up until, “Although Congress failed to act last year on laws that could have made Americans safer from gun violence,…”

  20. RF you didn’t need to show the picture of that killer pyscho. IMHO it needs to be removed. You don’t show beautiful models because it might offend someone. Well that guys mug offends me bigtime.

  21. True to form, though, they start off with a blatant falsehood.

    “Mass shootings have become all-too common occurrences in the United States.”

    Mass shootings have not “become” anything in the past three decades – they have maintained a steady average of occurrences and number of victims. I do, however, agree with minimizing the glorification of the murderers in these cases.

    • That was the first thing that grated on me too.

      Instead of just making a clear statement that can stand on it’s own, they have to drag false facts and a clear and blatant control agenda into the deal which just muddies it and puts forward something to disagree with.

      This is what happens when PR people get too much control – every damn thing gets spun when some things should just be put out there and ended with a period.

  22. It’s not just about naming the killer and putting up every picture ever taken of them on the news, it’s about emphasizing the number of deaths and injuries, intentionally making the segments exciting with dramatic lead ins of sirens and police lights, and the constant national coverage for days. “I could be in the news, they’ll talk about me for days, and if I get enough people, even the president will talk about me!” These shooters are 3-time losers who know they will never do anything important in their lives, and just sick enough that they’d rather die a villain in a hail of gunfire than face a mediocre life.

  23. I disagree with part of the statement. It IS important for us to understand what motivates these people and who they were before they acted. If we did not have this information from past shooters we would not know that most are 1. Democrats, 2. Liberals, 3. Gun Control Advocates and 4. often mentally disturbed. To have the media suppress this information is to grant MDA a blank check to blame ALL gun onwers for the acts of the few.

    Consider carefully your stance on this issue. The effects could be very painful for us.

  24. I generally agree. Too often these killers are presented as supervillians, which is attractive to enough people to spawn copycats. Keep the coverage reasonable and muted, and when discussing the murders point out that they’re maladjusted losers with tiny dicks.

  25. So, you want the media to ban their cash cow stories “the bloody shirt”? Never going to happen. Everyone of these types of stories draws people in as well as website clicks that they then use to charge for advertisements.

    Also, if the media stops waving the bloody shirt, will they do the same? Again, not gonna happen

    The word “responsible” never fits in front of journalism or politician or activists who wish to ban something

  26. You can’t rationalize crazy. It doesn’t work. So to us it seems to make sense that the killers are looking for some fame, but I don’t know that for certain. Some might. I doubt that all do.

    Reality is it’s a completely empty gesture. Even if they did cover it as they suggest the audience will still crave the details and will seek them out.

    For example: I don’t know anyone that enjoys traffic, but every accident on the side of the road causes traffic to slow to a near halt because so many slow down and stare.

    Fact is the media is just giving folks what they want to see.

  27. Obama doesnt believe in the mission statement of the Afghan Occupation, yet continues to keep soldiers in harms way. If by extension he is responsible for US soldiers deaths then should the media no longer make him a celebrity?

  28. Not claiming to have invented this idea but I have been beating this drum for a while now. No good reason to repetitiously name these animals or show their faces. That is typically what they want, why give it to them?

  29. RF should contact MDA and let them know that TTAG and its reads support their recent statements, and then see how quickly they change their stance.

  30. Difficult. I mean, when these things happen, we want to know as much as we can about the who and why, right? Where did this guy come from? What is his history? What led him to take that monstrous last step? Part of it is lurid curiosity, but a bigger part is an attempt to educate ourselves. We could play down the names of these killers, but we’ll still want to know what they had for breakfast, who bullied them in school and whether or not their mothers punished them by putting clothespins on their pee pees (it happens.) To me, this seems like one of those things that SOUNDS like a solid idea, but when the horror arises again, there will be the same pack dog mentality when it comes to digging up information.

  31. So long as MDA is asking the media to do this voluntarily (i.e., it’s not seeking any legal compulsion requiring the media to do so), I agree that it has a point.

    Losers like this crave attention and recognition. If the media decides to behave responsibly and voluntarily decide to quit giving it to them, it would probably have a greater chance of decreasing mass shootings than idiotic proposals like magazine capacity limits.

    When it wants to, the media can choose not to publicize things, or cover events in a restricted fashion. See, for instance, the refusal of the vast majority of the media that refused to publish copies of the Mohammad cartoons. (I disagreed with those refusals — IMO, they were more motivated by simple cowardice than any sort of actual principle — but they do illustrate that the media can indeed choose not to cover something.)

    Of course, expecting the media as a whole to behave responsibly is probably about as naive as expecting criminals to obey gun laws.

  32. Okay, it’s a start, but it’s not naming that that’s the problem.

    It’s the hours and hours of soul-searching background day-in-the-life why-did-he-do-it what-kind-of-cereal-did-he-like coverage that comes with it because the news people have nothing else to fill their 24-hour cycle.

    I’m totally behind getting THAT crap off the air, but, y’know, Don Henley told us all about dirty laundry decades ago.

  33. 3 things:

    1) RF and TTAG should send MDA a letter indicating they infringed upon TTAG’s previously stated mantra about not naming spree killers and that they should revise their letter to give proper attribution

    2) ask if this means Shannon Watts (tell her I said hi and look forward to the NRA Convention in Indianapolis this year) and MDA will stop waving the bloody shirt (esp since one of the chosen ones who they believe should be allowed to carry a weapon popped someone over texting in a movie).

    3) ask if MDA will not demand some action on mental health and leave us the frick alone.

  34. There are several issues wrong with their request, most of which have been mentioned in previous comments. I’d change the words “shooter” and “shootings” and use something like “murderer” and “killings.” I think if the media did actually want to at least pretend some form of balance, they might mention the “CCW Heroes” who stopped mass killings but that has problems as well.

    The issue about whether there has been an increase in mass murder incidents is worth some study. There is indeed a slight uptick after Obama ended Clintons COPS in Schools program in mid-2012. We don’t have enough time since then to know if a real trend change is happening. Here are some informal notes I made on the issue early in 2013.

    – Over a ten year period from 1996 to 2005, Clinton’s COPS In Schools program provided $753 million in grants to place new police officers in schools. When that program was discontinued, it was replaced by a program called “Secure Our Schools” started by the DOJ under Bush, and that program was discontinued specficially by Obama in 2012 with no replacement.

    – Obama let multiple school violence prevention programs lapse over the last three years. He cited a liberal think tank that wrote a report in 2011 (“Education Under Arrest”) that concluded that “schools do not need school resource officers to be safe.” Tragic that they were terribly wrong.

    • Even a blind pig can find an acorn once in a while, but being that they’re blind they still don’t know which direction to go. I’m also thinking that their leadership is squeezing their eyes shut for all they’re worth rather than being blind and intentionally holding a blindfold over their members eyes.

  35. my response is “no sht sherlock”, how long have we been saying this? They had to do something to build some sense of legitimacy

  36. I am going to call BS on this one, or at least question if MDA has anything to do with this. I can’t find this statement anywhere on the MDA site or on their Facebook page. It looks to me like Caren Teves posted this petition on credo mobilize and referenced Moms Demand Action. I see no evidence that this is a major initiative or even a real initiative endorsed by MDA.

    If anyone can find evidence better linking this to MDA please point it out.

  37. They have finally caught on to a little common sense that Rights supporters have been saying all along. Their direction with that common sense is still misguided and I think intentionally so. These murderers are not shooters anymore than a drug dealer is a pharmacist. They are murderers, killers. Call them what they are.

  38. I propose that instead of “he who shall not be named”, we substitute “pathetic turd” for the killer’s name in all news coverage.

  39. Lanza provided the best proof yet that all this media attention to these twerps should stop. Lanza’s spreadsheet was a way of reckoning how much media impact he’d have relative to other killers’ exploits.

    The media complex is complicit in all types of mass killings, including terrorism. Ever wonder why terrorists pick large, urban areas with heavy media presence to pull off their attacks? The terrorist is a political animal. He needs and craves attention. If Al Qaeda tried to attack something in Wyoming and we had them shot up and dropped down an an old mine shaft in time to break for lunch, how much media coverage would they get? About as much as the blizzards and storms here in Wyoming; ie, it is mentioned for one day and we’re done with it.

  40. I agree with them in principle. Amazing.

    And has anyone else noticed that the people in Roswell seem to have taken that request to heart? “Mr. X” is in custody, but seems to have no identity. Must be one of those pesky space aliens, or an MIB, or the like…

  41. At first, I agree with such an idea, and I certainly think less sensationalism is called for. However, giving killers the “shooter who shall not be named” treatment makes it easier for antis to portray mass shooters as:

    1. Nearly unstoppable forces of nature that can’t be stopped.
    2. Whatever boogeyman they like. (NRA member, tea party member, GUN NUT!!)

    There have been a number of shootings the the past few years that don’t fit their narrative, and removing the name from coverage would make it easier for MDA types to “fill in” details with their own speculations.

  42. What’s the weather report in Hades? They went from demonizing people in their own forums for suggesting that a solution to gun violence include a focus on mental health and now they’re suggesting a focus on the media coverage which many mental health professionals have said can trigger these individuals by showing a way they can become “nihilistic rock stars.”

    I say we really their them for a loop and agree when they get something right. Combine this with Watts’recent statement about not wanting to ban guns and being a gun owner and maybe we can get them into a corner where they cannot return to advocating gun control without appearing blatantly hypocritical and losing a great deal of credibility.

  43. From a psychological standpoint this sort of thing makes a lot of sense. The motivations behind random mass killings (as opposed to gang- or domestic-related ones) is the desire of the perps for publicity. We should throttle this. No pictures, all manifestos sealed as evidence, no names released. The angry and disenchanted should know that killing people won’t get them anything but a cell in the memory hole. I think “he who shall not be named” is over the top, just a number will do. “Today there was a tragedy in XXX, XXXX, as a shooter, suspect #57463874, opened fire in a mall”.

  44. More lying sh1t from the Queens of Lies.

    If mass shooters did it for the publicity, they’d stick around for the media sh1tstorm instead of offing themselves.

    Not publishing murderers’ names and their mental health histories allows MAIG to focus attention on the guns rather than the killers. That only helps their agenda.

    Can you not see this?

    I have a better thought. Only mention the names of the shooters and never mention the names of the guns.

    • Like people who think they’re going to gain attention from their family or friends by suicide, the highly public spree killers don’t think they need to be around for the aftermath to say “How do you like me now?”

      These people are not being driven by the kind of normal mental processes and logic that inhabits your brain or mine.

    • I don’t know if your mistake is just that you are trying to ration with irrational behavior or you are just blind because you’re part of this problem. The newspaper clippings of previous shootings that the next shooter collects. The photos they take of themselves looking ‘scary’ to be disseminated to the media. The blogs\diaries\etc that are kept and make it CLEAR that at least some of these guys are concerned about being the next big name on the news. The way these shootings have increased in incidence as the 24 hour news got better at exploiting it.

      Are there some who might just be nuts? Sure. But you better believe the coverage has something to do with it. These people used to kill themselves, which is a statement in and of itself. Suicide is often a ‘fuck you’ to other people, and people prone to it often fantasize that people around them will be hurt by the event… and these murderers are ALSO fantasizing, except they get off on the fact that everyone will know their name.

      If nothing else the less media crapage we have about this stuff the better off we often are in terms of knee-jerk legislation. And the worse kind of media coverage is when they try to “figure out” the shooter… which in reality ends up a lot like an apologistic view full of excuses (oh, he was ‘troubled,’ didn’t have a father figure, corrupted by guns and video games) when they should be simply labeled as a pathetic loser and be relegated to the dustbin of history.

  45. The mainstream news media already ignores, withholds, slants, and buries tons of information on a daily basis. Doing so with this would be no different.

    Except that they have an anti-gun agenda, and the mass-shooting meme serves it all too well. Plus it’s a huge moneymaker. They stay in business by attracting viewers, and nothing attracts viewers like a nice big tragedy.

    The news media won’t stop sensationalizing mass shootings until the public stops craving the tragic details.

  46. Banning mention of killers’ names, or even just importuning the media not to, is one of those empty, feel-good non-measures similar to banning so-called high capacity magazines. These killers are not all exactly alike in motives, mentality or sense of posterity. However, they are virtually all a loser in life of one flavor or another, such that mass murder and mayhem is their perceived last, best option for coping with whatever their major problem is. Named or not, it’s the carrying out of their evil act that serves their purpose, not the public chatter thereafter.

    That said, it may be helpful to all, or at least less hurtful for the victims’ families, not to go out of our way to celebrate these monsters. Portraying them on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine as deep and brooding rock stars should prompt our condemnation. Beyond that, in the spirit of compromise, perhaps we could show them in all of their final, morbid glory? Maybe we could show their death pic, the one where they came face-to-lead with a 5.56 or 00 buck round. Want to be famous, bad boy? Fine. You’ll be remembered as the latest in a line of unrecognizable, mangled, monstrous mashes.

  47. Does Piers Morgan and the media covering for ten nights in a row, the guns used, emotional impact, the ramifications, the political, the social and on and on of every aspect of a shooting but not mentioning the name or statements of the shooter mean that we have not aggrandized his act?

    MDA wants these issues plastered all over the media so as to motivate their agenda. Even this letter to request a suppression of the shooters name is a media stunt.
    I also agree that the shooters name and fame is irrelevant, but MDA and MAIG want every other gory aspect of an incident amplified and repeated. Does it matter that we remember the name Charles Whitman or would he be satisfied in his fame as just “The Texas Tower Shooter”?

    Ironically the reason I use Whitman as an example is because as a 12-year-old, reading Life magazines account in 1966 is that I burned his name into my brain and told myself to never forget it.

  48. I bet these same assholes all felt a motherly twang on their heartstrings when they saw that poor deluded boy on the cover of Rolling Stone. You know, the one who used the pressure cookers, as mentioned in the commentary.

  49. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Should the media refrain? sure. Did they send this to youtube, liveleak, wikileaks, and the 4 million other ways people who have to rubber neck will seek the information? Will the media actually refrain? doubtful. They barely refrain with troop movements when actual lives are on the line.

  50. No, I disagree. Removing the perpetrators name achieves nothing. The act is already done and referring to the person as anything other than their name starts to shift the blame and focus off the individual by anonymizing them. This won’t get people to stop shooting up schools or whatever, they still get notoriety one way or the other if that is what they are after.

    IMO not naming the person is the first step towards plugging your ears yelling nah nah nah nah and pretending nothing happened.

    Public shaming on the other hand is appealing but with the way the media reports anything they can make fit, regardless of how tenuous the link or correct the information is, requires a caveat. They can shame and name all they want as long as they have checked their facts so the right person is getting the heat.

    An added benefit of naming the perpetrator is that they are being publicly shamed by the very act of naming them. But if that made a difference to any of these psychos, they wouldn’t perpetrate their crimes in the first place.

    No matter what we all think and how much we debate this, I doubt going off and killing a bunch of people is as simple as “well I saw some other guy do it”; it may be a factor but I don’t think it is the whole of it.

  51. In theory, not revealing the perpetrator to the general public would make it easier to stage such an event or warp what actually happened in the media.

    I don’t think there are a lot of people who idolize these losers, to be honest. Let those who would get caught doing so and enjoy a trip to the psych ward. I for one want to know exactly what kind of person is murdering my fellow citizens and why.

  52. No. Free flow of information is paramount. Closing ones eyes and pretending the murderer doesn’t have a name isn’t going to make the problem go away. Real freedom and openess is dangerous and scary. I say embrace it. Let’s absorb all the good and the bad.

  53. If the media does use the name of the killer, they should *always* prefix it with a nice adjective, like “that pansy Lanza” or “the pants-wetter Cho”.

  54. No matter how you cover these guys you give them what they want. If you don’t cover them then you are inhibiting the free flow of information. The only way to “do it right” would be to cover accurately from the standpoint that these folks are pathetic and small.

    • I mean, look at this homicidal dork in the fishing vest! What’s that on his belt, binoculars? Nice backwards hat bro. Rot in hell.

  55. They’re right. No point in disagreeing with them just because they said it. If they weren’t going to be remembered the way they are, what reason would a shooter have to go out and kill a bunch of people?

  56. People I know have been saying this for a long time. I think MDA might have just grabbed it off the net as a way to make them look less crazy and more relevent.

    Absolutely I agree with it. I remember some story from ancient Rome or Greece where a guy burned down a major monument in order to have his place recorded in history. The king or lord of the land decreed that no one should ever speak his name. I think we should follow a similar policy.

  57. Totally agree. Nothing would make me happier than to see a giant, anonymous NOTHINGNESS representing these killers in the media, especially when they go after schools. In fact, they should just run pictures of Rip Taylor to represent them in print and broadcast, and refer to them only as “dingleberry” or “idiot dingleberry”.

  58. For years before MDA existed, many of us in the RKBA movement and others criticized the mass media for glorifying the after effects of violent killings by giving the killer (alive or dead) the attention and publicity he never had before in life.

  59. I agree in principle. I also use the name of the place, and not the shooter. I also would like the media to stop making the firearms being used seem somewhat notorious or exotic, when they’re actually pretty common.

  60. As the saying goes, even a blind chicken sometimes finds a kernel of corn.

    They’ve nailed it, for once; mass shooters and their ilk should not be paraded and placated on every TV screen, computer screen and newspaper of the country as if their names and faces were any worth remembering. Let them sink into oblivion and deliver justice as quietly as for other criminals, else society is asking for emulations and people trying to out-do them. We have had the proof that certain mass shooters did it solely because they wanted to “beat” their predecessors, like some sort of arcade game high score.

  61. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/12/the-media-needs-to-stop-inspiring-copycat-murders-heres-how/266439/

    While I’m not a fan of The Atlantic’s hysteria regarding guns, the above article actually doesn’t suck. The article discusses the body of psychological research regarding how certain ideas can be contagious.

    The original research dealt with suicide clusters, and the researchers found that people were more likely to commit suicide if they were exposed to media reporting of a successful suicide. If someone jumps off a bridge, you get a spate of people in the area trying to jump off the same bridge. So on and so forth.

    As a result of this the mass media stopped reporting suicides that took place in private, and gave only modest and measured coverage to those that happened in public places. And it worked. It’s likely that a similar mechanism is in play with spree shootings, especially since most spree shooters are also suicidal.

    Why do you think there has been such a surge in spree shootings lately? Gun control advocates will try to blame lax gun laws or the availability of firearms, and yet guns are no more available now than they were a decade ago. So what gives, what’s the real explanation? It seems likely that the media firestorm of coverage since Newtown has something to do with it.

    Of course this is all easier said than done. Unlike suicides in the privacy of ones own home, a spree shooting is a legitimate event of public interest. Not reporting them is simply not an option, but perhaps we can change how we report them.

  62. I somewhat agree, at least with the part about not giving so much “glamor” coverage to the murderer. A school shooter is going to be famous after a shooting, but to repeat coverage of him over and over again is probably not helpful. Perhaps one story a day after the shooting – a brief biography of the shooter and possible reasons that led to the tragedy, and then that’s it.

    Part of the problem, as I see it, is that too often, coverage of all other news is set aside when one of these mass murder incidents occurs. The coverage seems to go on endlessly and dominate the news stations. If this news story was treated like most news stories … it’s given its time, and then other news stories are given their normal time … then perhaps that would not give the fame-seekers the attention that they want, and yet still get the news out about the incident.

    As some other folks here mentioned, I don’t think the killer should be referred to as a “shooter.” He should be referred to as a “mass murderer” or “killer” or something of that sort. All of us are “shooters” but we are not murderers.

    All of that said, I’d definitely like to see more coverage of any heroes who stop the shooting (e.g. the Arapahoe HS resource officer), and also coverage what anti-gun policies were in place that enabled the tragedy to occur. Just imagine if a reporter actually reported the full truth …

    Bob: “Our reporter, James Nicehair, is on location. James, what can you tell us?”

    James: “Well, Bob Studioguy, we’ve had a shooting incident at Typical Suburban High School. What we’re hearing is that a TSHS current student, for reasons unknown, entered the building and started shooting at his classmates and teachers. We’ve been told that he brought in an AR-15, a common semiautomatic rifle that is normally used for hunting, sport shooting and self-defense, and a Glock 17, a common semiautomatic pistol that is normally used by both police departments and private citizens for defensive purposes.”

    “While there is a ‘gun free zone’ sign posted outside, it’s pretty obvious that the murderer ignored that sign. Given that most criminals disobey laws, this shouldn’t come as any surprise. Given the student’s age, it’s also obvious that he acquired these guns illegally.”

    “And despite some heated discussion at the last school board meeting, the kids and teachers at the school were apparently left defenseless by the school administration. The school district not only refused to allow administrators and teachers with a concealed carry permit to carry their concealed weapons on school grounds, but they also refused to provide an armed school resource officer, which – as the incident in Arapahoe HS in Colorado shows – can minimize the damage of a school shooting. The school district claimed that the problem was not enough money, but there would been minimal expenditures required. Several of the teachers already have concealed carry permits, some retired military veterans would have volunteered as school resource officers for free, and Jack Veteran, owner of Jack’s Local Gun Range & Training Center, had announced at the meeting that his business would provide free training to those who would be protecting the school. Instead, the school administration enabled the shooter by leaving the students and teachers defenseless, allowing this tragedy to happen.”

    “At this time, we have been informed that 9 students and 3 teachers have died, and 24 other students have been wounded. The response time of the police was seven minutes, in part due to a bad traffic accident that had snarled up traffic on local roads. The only reason this tragedy was not worse is because a parent who was visiting the school took action. As soon as gunshots were heard, she ran to her car, grabbed her own rifle, and within a few minutes she was able to confront the murderer, who then took his own life.”

    “Back to you Bob.”

    Bob: …….

  63. I’m a registered member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, so I’m up to date on their propaganda.

    “keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”

    Answer to the posed question : NO

    Three of the four branches (Corporate Media IS the fourth) have beautifully exposed their Un-American, Unconstitutional, inhumane, and despotic agenda of repeating historical failure …. disarming human beings lead to mass murder and Democide.

    Some one really needs to publish the toxicology reports of the recent well publicised Gun Free Zone shootings. Then expose Big Pharmas’ control on America.

  64. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, I suppose.

    I agree with them on this to a degree. Repeated and sustained saturation of their deeds in the news is what a lot of these psychotic pussies seem to be obsessed with in most cases. They want to become infamous.

    We must deny them this. It will just be one more thing to give them pause. Well, at least until Congress, all 50 states, every single country in all 50 states, and all cities and villages therein, finally get their shit together and stop denying law-abiding citizens their natural, civil, fundamental, and Constitutionally-affirmed and protected right to keep and bear arms.

  65. No, I support the First Amendment as much as I do the Second Amendment. The media should report everything. The media should also be honest and report that nearly every one of these mass shooters were registered Democrats, were self proclaimed liberals and some even worked on Democrat election campaigns (i.e. Lanza, Loughner, Holmes, Bishop, Stack, Cho, etc.). Of course not much is said that most of these shooters were taking Prozac and other so called “anti-depressant” drugs. Also of note is the “media” stopped reporting actual unbiased and editorialized “news” years ago.

    • I think it will need to be more than simply not revealing the name. It will have to be its not a question of reporting vs. Not reporting, it’s a question of how the coverage is put together. These are local incidents, relevant to the community they occur in. There is no benefit to the obsessive, non stop televising of reporters who have no new information.

      Simply reporting that there was a shooting, mentioning any details that have been verified, and waiting until more information had been released and verified before mentioning it again would (without restrictions through legislation) would keep the press free and close this method of as an option for such infamy.

  66. If the media is not going to give mass murderers the celebrity treatment, how about making sure they give self-defense heroes that celebrity treatment, instead.
    Yeah right.
    When was the last time the lame-stream media reported an incident where an armed citizen stopped a crime in public.

  67. Ok. Hell just froze over. Not to mention it being pretty darn cold here in St. Louis.

    For too many of these nut-jobs, I think the media coverage equates to their 15 minutes of fame. Leave them unknown and forgotten, rather than sensationalized by the 24/7 news cycle for days or weeks. If there’s going to be any glory given, give it to the person(s) who put themselves on the line to stop the murderer.

    • That initiative is all well and good. But if we really want to put a dent in the occurrences of “school shootings”, then we need to be taking action to not allow these criminal safe zones (AKA “gun-free zones”, which they obviously are not) to continue (or be created in the first place).

      • More guns do not equal less violence. Let’s look at how many guns were around Reagan when he was shot.

        Our children should not have to fear for their lives while at school becoming their authentic selves.

        • Let’s look at how many people would not have been shot at Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech, et al, had ONE single person–a teacher, a principal, another student (say at VT, not SH, obviously)–had been able to carry a firearm in self-defense/protection of that location and the people located within. Isn’t even one life saved worth it? Isn’t that what all the gun-grabbers spout in defense of their position? How many lives were saved at Arapahoe HS because OF ONE FRICKIN’ GUN ON THE PREMISES?!?! (How many other examples need I provide?)

          Let’s look at the myriad of statistics that show that more guns do, in fact, mean less violence.

          Why would children be in fear of their lives because a principal, a teacher, an administrator, is allowed to carry a firearm that said children don’t even know about? It’s OK to trust a principal, a teacher, an administrator with those children for 8+ unsupervised hours a day infusing them with god-knows-what ideas, but not allow them the ability to keep them from actual, physical harm?

        • “Authentic selves?” As opposed to their “inauthentic selves?” What the hell does that even mean?

          Nevermind, I don’t care, it’s a distraction from my actual point, which is:

          Children would not fear for their lives if people like you didn’t spend all their time telling them that guns are scary and something to be afraid of. If you’re going to teach them about guns, educate them and teach them to respect, not fear.

          The vast majority of anti-gun agitprop in this country is borne of fear brought on by ignorance. People don’t know what guns are (and are not) capable of, so they believe whatever inflammatory and emotional BS is put in front of them. For example, the stellar performance put forth by California Rep. Kevin DeLeon, in which he strung together a bunch of scary sounding words that mean absolutely nothing, and have no value except to agitate. You can watch it here: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/01/daniel-zimmerman/ca-sen-kevin-deleon-spooky-ghost-guns/

          I truly believe that part of the curriculum to graduate high school in this country should be basic firearms familiarization. I’m not talking about a year-long course, or even a full semester. Just a few days to a week inserted somewhere, where kids are taught what a gun is, the basics of how it works, what it can do, and most importantly what it cannot do. That last one is important, because there are people in this country, lots of them, who have an immediate physical and psychological fight-or-flight reaction to the very sight of a gun. They react to a gun laying on a table with the same fear and panic they would exhibit if a tiger walked into the room. That fear, as I said, is borne of ignorance, and the only cure for ignorance is education.

        • Also, citing the Reagan shooting is a red herring in this discussion. Hinckley had a single target in mind–Mr Reagan–when did did his deed. Unlike VT…and Columbine…and SH…and Aurora…and _____…and _____…

          The fact of the matter is, one single gun in the hands of someone even remotely trained in its proper use would have saved one, two, five, 12, 26, 32 people. Instead, these tragedies that we discuss occurred in places where honest, responsible, law-abiding citizens followed the law, TO THEIR DETRIMENT, while someone hellbent on destruction ignored MULTIPLE laws, committed MULTIPLE felonies, and chose locations where they KNEW there would be no one able to stop him.

          You cannot stop that person hellbent on destruction. But you sure as hell can lessen the damage.

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