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The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. —THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1788

What if we tried this?

morgan-freeman

I completely agree with a Facebook post attributed to Morgan Freeman (although apparently he did not/not write it; see below) in which he attacks the media for focusing attention on the shooters in cases like the Sandy Hook atrocity, de facto giving them the fame they probably craved but never deserved. Here’s what Freeman wrote about the motive of such killers:

“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.”

So let’s imagine…an individual alleged to have committed such a crime is named once, but only once, and subsequently referred to only as “the cowardly shooter” or some other epithet that describes his true character and action.

Maybe it wouldn’t change anything – but isn’t it worth at least a try?

Update: It turns out that Mark in Vancouver, not Morgan Freeman, wrote the post cited above; thanks to Dustin for bringing that to my attention. I decided to leave my post up, however, because its point remains valid.

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