In most of these cases, the shooter killed himself or was shot, and had obvious intent to go out in a hail of bullets and to take as many people with
him as he could. The quickest way to do this —a matter of minutes in the most resent case—is of course with a weapon that can kill
quickly—namely, with a gun.
It's easy to lay the blame on the gun, because without access to such a weapon, the likelihood of ending that many lives in such a short period is
decreased. But we also see instances of mass knife and hammer attacks such as in the Osaka
School Massacre and the school attacks of china 2010 - 11,
which shows that even without guns available, murderous intent can still be fulfilled. Guns have been in America since her conception, yet mass
shootings haven't always been a prolific form of suicide. It seems something else is more fundamental to the cause of such motives.
The interesting thing about the Chinese attacks were the high profile nature of such crimes and the copycat attacks that followed continuing right up
until the most recent case there. By adding such a high profile to the killer and the consequent media coverage that followed each case, the media
subconsciously created an anti-hero out of each suicidal maniac, unknowingly inspiring others who relate to the motives of the killers, and in turn
making him a martyr for his cause.
With the advent of social media, news gets around quickly and populates a higher amount of conscious minds. Is it safe to say that the growing cases
of mass shootings are in fact copycat cases due to the amount of media sensationalism and the subconscious glorification of these shooters to those
sympathetic to whatever led him to commit these crimes?
Morgan Freeman said it eloquently:
"You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here's why.
It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like
celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a
memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.
CNN's article says that if the body count "holds up", this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow
make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the
shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the
victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit
the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.
You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health
research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news."
Morgan Freeman (not in any way an authority on
These kinds of incidents are both shocking and interesting because they are not normal. And while they are statistically guaranteed to happen
regardless of laws, availability of weaponry, or culture, they are still a societal aberration.
Mr. Freeman is correct. Eric Harris and David Klebold are both names that flow easily from my fingers to the keyboard because I was in highschool when
Columbine happened. I remember my school banning trench coats and treating those of us who wore black or listened to anything heavier than Kenny G. as
potential mass murderers. People react out of fear. But that fear has to come from somewhere, and it is the media is largely to blame, both for the
fear, and for the creation of the notorious anti-hero persona that is ascribed to these aberrations of society that others may follow.
But it isn't just the media. And it isn't just the fear. It's an underlying disregard of metal health issues in this country as well that does extend
to gun control in a way.
While I am not a proponent of gun control, the way background checks return results is something that needs to be addressed. I have said it many times
before, those who have been diagnosed with a severe mental imbalance that could potentially make them dangerous, or those adjudicated mentally ill, do
not show up on NICS background checks. Even though they disqualify you from being able to purchase a gun, there is no method of enforcement as mental
health records are restricted anyway. So even if you have schizophrenia or some form of severe psychosis, you can still purchase a gun.
That needs to change.
edit on 16-12-2012 by projectvxn because: (no reason given)
edit on 16-12-2012 by projectvxn because:
(no reason given)
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