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Persuasion Match: Druid42 vs Sheepslayer247- Information about Mass Shootings should not be release

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posted on Dec, 31 2012 @ 02:11 PM
Welcome readers to yet another fine debate brought to you on the ATS debate forum.

This debate will be a Persuasion Match between Druid42 and myself, post each, no edits, a 24 hour time limit and no clue how our opponent will attack the issue at hand.

The topic:

Information about Mass Shootings should not be released until the police report is filed.

I will be taking a "pro" position, while Druid42 will be taking the "con". As part of this debate, we will also discuss how minors under 18 years of age apply to the debate topic.

Both Druid42 and I understand the sensitive nature of this debate considering recent events. Please know that this debate will be conducted in a manner that not only attacks the issue head on, but will also be approached with respect and compassion. Enjoy the read and I hope we can bring you a thought-provoking debate.

Let the 24hr clock begin.....

posted on Jan, 1 2013 @ 12:22 PM
I wish to thank sheepslayer247 for enjoining this discussion, and the other members and judges for their time in reading.

In recent times there has been a rash of mass shootings, the most present on our minds being the needless slaughter of 20 innocent children while they attended school. My position on the topic will be that information does need released about such incidents, but in a responsible manner, with reliable information being released to a primary media source, in order to inform the public immediately of the possible dangers still at large.

If police did not release information, what would result is “here say”, and perhaps a mob mentality which takes life into it’s own hands, further clouding the on going investigation. Such vigilante style justice does not benefit the tragedy in any way, and also further endangers human life. A parent grieving from their loss may not be in the presence of mind when acting on their intuition.

A police investigation may take several months to complete. Sometimes, there is such a vast amount of information to process, and by waiting for the process to run it’s course, vital information that may be reported by citizens who witness “other” related events would not know to report such activities to the authorities, and thereby further the collection of all relevant data that they need to produce an accurate and informative report. During the process of the investigation, mandatory “press conferences” should be held on a timely basis, and issued by the authoritative agency in charge of the investigation. To have an “official” story regularly updated by the jurisdiction in charge would go far to prevent the misinformation we are currently dealing with.

There is an issue at hand with the release of information about minor children, which I’d like to address as well. Current laws prevent that release in the event of any civil or criminal activity, in order to protect those children from further harm, whether by media or other criminals. Our society does a remarkable job of enforcing those rules, save in this horrible travesty, but I must also ask the readers, what protection can we offer when we have failed our primary responsibility of protecting them? As long as the parents have signed a release, we do more justice by honoring their demise with that knowledge, rather than keeping them a faceless and nameless victim of the devastation that modern society is sometimes capable of.

We live in a media immersed day and age. Everything that is reported to us, including the tragedies that involve loss of life, is born out the media’s desire to garner more viewers. Certain news agencies are known for their particular slant, whether it be political or otherwise directed. That slant often determines which channel on TV we watch, but many of us rely on alternative forms of media such as the internet. There could be a case made for the fact that we are an information based society that thrives on media coverage of events, and are very much guilty of demanding the shameful reporting that sometimes occurs before the actual facts are known. It is perhaps because of this incessant desire to “know” that contrary “facts” are absorbed into our collective, and are either repeated or dismissed by our own fallible abilities as humans.

There is no clear way to prevent this, save disconnecting ourselves from the media, which we as a global society cannot do. With the awareness of the conditions in the world around us, we chose to remain informed, whether accurately or not, and then offer excuses for our behavior by attempting to censor the release of information by whatever means. Those attempts do nothing to bring a resolution to the mystery of the most recent mass shooting, and do less in understanding why events occur in the first place. The censorship of information related to horrible criminal events is not a solution, but rather an organized protocol of sharing between the media and law enforcement is. To enact legislative deeming two responsible parties, one media and one law enforcement, from which all sources of information come from, would allow us to determine conditions and events in a much more rational fashion, with information outside of those sources being held suspect, and not the totality of the event itself.

The solution isn’t gun control, the solution isn’t barring the public from information. The solution is the responsible and timely sharing of “factual” information, and the ability to revise such information as required, as facts determine, without endearing hundreds of wild theories that do nothing for the grieving of those closely involved in such ugly acts of irrationality.

Thank you for your time.

posted on Jan, 1 2013 @ 01:28 PM
As any ATS member understands when approaching an issue or forming an opinion, one must be armed with facts. Conclusions based on half-truths or false information only "muddies the water", the clarity of solid facts becoming an inconsequential afterthought to the preformed opinion.

Facts and empirical data become even more important in cases of mass violence and extreme tragedy. While emotions run-high and rumor races through social circles, the Police investigators have a duty to collect/document facts and forensic evidence that can be used to come to a fact-based conclusion that would stand-up in the court of law. The media also has a responsibility to present factual information to the public. All too often, in cases of violence, we see the the release false information before the facts are completely known.....the consequences of which can be a tragedy in an of itself.

Let's look at some examples:

Newtown, Ct

As word was circulating about this heart-wrenching event, the police decided to release the name of the alleged gunman. Almost instantly after the Police released the name, Ryan Lanza, journalists and social media began spreading this false information. His picture was posted on websites and social pages at a rate of over a thousand per minute. His Facebook page was also plastered on different sites all over the web. Not even knowing that his mother was dead and his brother had just committed a heinous act, he professed his innocence from the seat of a bus on his way home from work.

Not only was he falsly accused, by Police, of committing this crime, he relieved numerous death threats. His own safety compromised by those that vow to protect. Ryan Lanza is, in fact, a victim. Not only because of his relationship to the gunman, but also a victim of bad information released before all facts were known.

Another example of how the Police released bad information through the media is the mother of Adam and Ryan Lanza, Nancy. First reports made stated that the mother was a teacher at the school and that she had been a victim inside the classroom. Only later did were we informed that she had, in fact, been at home when confronted by Adam Lanza. This only further de-legitimizes the reputation of Police sources and fueled the fires of conspiracy.

Aurora, Co

Yet another tragic event that is difficult to comprehend. Before James Holmes was even officially charged with the crime, the Police had released his name. With no additional information about the shooter other then a name, some media outlets began to make their own assumptions as to which Holmes was at fault and wrongfully accused Jim Holmes, a Colorado Tea Party member, of being the shooter. While that mistake was eventually corrected, the damage was done and Jim Holmes received death threats as well. Just another innocent person becoming collateral damage due to the release of information without proper context and fact.

Columbine High School

Columbine will go down in history as a complete failure by Police and the media to release fact-based information in the aftermath of tragedy. Many assumption were made and broadcast out to the world without a second-thought to it's truth. For example, the Police and media stated that the shooters were bullied by others at school, sparking a national debate and wrongfully labeling people that are bullied as a potential "danger" to the public safety. In fact, these criminals were bully's themselves.

The shooters were also wrongfully said to have suffering from certain mental disorders that perpetuated their violent actions. While that assumption was proven to be false, an unfounded label was already placed on people that do suffer from mental issues, yet are no danger to the public and function in society just as any other citizen.

For The Kids

I will touch on this topic briefly, but it does not detract from it's importance.

We all love our kids, strive to keep them safe and wretch at the idea that they may ever be harmed. In cases such as Newtown, it is even more important that information be factual. When such a tragic event can create such an emotional spark in the public, as we have seen in the case of Ryan Lanza and others, bad information can lead to rash outrage and potential danger to others not directly involved. When children are involved the emotions can be even greater and it is entirely possible that innocent people can become guilty in the court of public opinion if information is not properly vetted.

In closing, let me say that my heart goes out to those affected by such tragedies. It is nothing less than a complete disservice to the victims and their loved ones when investigators and the media rush to bring the breaking news to the public, yet the truth and facts become an afterthought long after public opinion has been formed.

Thanks for reading!

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 03:44 AM

This was a very good persuasion debate, both fighters took their sides without much ado and presented clear and reasonable cases. I didn't really understand the point of the "children" aspect, but in the end, both points on that issue were about the same, so it didn't play into my judging.

In looking at their arguments, both are saying much the same thing, that it is important that factual information be released. Well, people make mistakes, so that's probably something that we just have to deal with, and the question becomes "what is the tradeoff between waiting until everything (or most things) is known to reduce errors versus timely reporting that can help the investigation?" On that question, I think that Druid42 has a better response, noting that people's demand for information is what drives this, though he'd have scored some points by citing the fact that with police scanners, both the media and public are getting non-official information snippets anyway. His point that the timely release of data can help with the investigation, rather than waiting, is the key one.

I liked that sheepslayer247 used examples, his first was particularly poignant, but the second one I didn't understand (how waiting until the shooter was charged would resolve the issue of multiple people with the name James Holmes) and the Columbine one seemed like a bit of a stretch, as I'm not sure what bad comes out of decrying bullies and whether anyone was really harmed by the police saying that the shooters were mentally ill.

So, a close match, and I think that everyone would agree that less errors and a bit more prudence on the part of police would be a good thing, but I give this one to Druid42.

This was an excellent Persuation Match and I had to read it a few times to be able to decide on a winner. Sheepslayer247 does make excellent points on the topic of police and media blunders, as shown with different examples.

On the other hand, Druid42 shares his opinion on mob mentality based on hearsay, media ratings that lead to media blunders and offers a solution that is well worth repeating:

“To enact legislative deeming two responsible parties, one media and one law enforcement, from which all sources of information come from, would allow us to determine conditions and events in a much more rational fashion, with information outside of those sources being held suspect, and not the totality of the event itself.”

This was a short and brief match, yet an excellent one. Druid42 has effectively prepared a post that mentions causes, effects and a solution to the subject at hand and thus takes the win.

Druid wins this Debate.

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