How big is media’s role in mass shootings?

Jeff Kruse

Sen. Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg)

While it is clear some think banning guns will solve the problem, I don’t share that opinion.  One of the good things about a representative republic form of government is it allows the ability to have a very thoughtful process to take place before enacting policies.

On the role of the media on this issue – It is clear the people committing these acts are at least on some level seeking notoriety and their “moment in the sun.”  However convoluted this may actually be I think it is real and the media’s wall-to-wall coverage of these events may indeed be a factor.

I remember events of fifteen to twenty years ago relative to high profile football games.  We had a rash of people disrupting games by running onto the field during the game.  They would eventually get arrested and taken away, but this was after full media coverage on national TV.  A decision was made by the NFL and NCAA, in cooperation with the television networks to no longer show these people on TV.  As a result, over time, people quit doing it.  The reason they no longer do it is because they aren’t getting the notoriety they were seeking.

I mention this as just another potential contributing factor we should be thinking about.

I fully understand the frustration people feel relative to the time it takes government to act, I share that frustration many times.  I would suggest, however, that it is important to consider all of the potential ramifications of an action before it is taken.  There are a great number of times the Legislature has taken action and then had to come back and fix parts or all of that action because of unintended consequences.  In most cases it is better to do nothing than do the wrong thing, and it is important we take the time necessary to try and get it right the first time.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in 2nd Amendment, Media, Oregon Senate | 5 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • David from Mill City

    While I question the idea that in all cases mass killers are at some level seeking notoriety. It is clear that there are at least two types of mass killers where it is a significant factor. The first is the suicidal individual who wants the community to note his passing, that for once in his life the community will know he existed. It appears that the Clackamas Shooter was of this type. The other type are the psychopaths who are after the fame and immortality that a mass killing bestows on the killer, and further there also seems to be a element of competition, to be the “best” or to hold the record.

    If perpetrating a mass killing was to become a ticket to oblivion or non-existence rather then to fame and immortality what appears to be a motivating factor for some of these mass killings would be eliminated. Towards this end, reporting the name or displaying the likeness of a mass killer should be prohibited. With the only exception being in response to a specific law enforcement request as part of a manhunt for a suspected perpetrator. Other wise the name never gets used. Instead the FBI would provide an alpha-numeric identifier to be used in place of the name in all press coverage and official reports and should the alleged perpetrator be captured alive he be tried under that number. This identifier would be randomly generated and filtered as to eliminate those with any outside significance (i.e. 666 or 007) and preceded by a two letter suffix indicating that the identifier is of a mass killer. The two letters used should at least informally to a two word derogatory phrase (i.e. SJ for stupid jerk, CJ for cowardly jerk or SC for stupid coward)

    Additionally the Media should be requested to as much as possible in their coverage to limit or play down the reporting of the exact number killed or injured, specifics regarding the MO and similar information that might provide another psychopath with a “target number” that he would need to exceed to become the “best”. Additionally the press should be asked to limit the reporting of the specifics of successful security methods or the means that security protections were circumvented as not to provide any future mass killer with information that might prove useful in his planning.

    Clearly these prohibitions and requests for limited self-censorship on the part of the media and authors writing about the event will be controversial. But they are needed to help limit the likelihood of future mass killings.

  • zanzara2041

    It is insane to assault the rights of law abiding citizens when some insane Sandy Hook thing happens. In affect, it is premeditated murder to willfully pass more arms and ammo control laws that are enforced by militarized, hired guns against innocent human beings–from which, the media appears prone to profit just as they did in the Sandy Hook, Columbine, Clackamas, etc., ad nauseum.

  • Dan the man

    I see potential here.

    There can be no doubt that we live in a culture where everybody wants to be somebody; an American Idol, the next ‘voice’, a Jeopardy finalist and, as proven by Jersey Shore and similar shows, talent doesn’t have to be part of the equation. So it is not a stretch to think mass shooters want to be known for their achievements too, and past experience tells them they will get plenty of attention and name recognition from the media . . . even if it is posthumously.

    Perhaps a system of fictitious names for the perpetrators like the way tropical storms are identified. Here is an example:

    “Hello this is Brian Williams with tonight’s news. There’s been
    another mass shooting tonight. This time in Hoboken. The shooters name is Walter Minidick. Like last month’s shooter, Howard Shitforbrains, Minidick shot himself in the head because he also lacked balls . . . .”

    I’m thinking that after a few reports of that nature, prospective
    mass shooters will realize they will not get the recognition they want and will go into some other line of scoundrelism . .. like politics. The incidents of shootings will decrease noticeably and the media can pat themselves on the back for being part of the solution rather than fuel for the fire.

  • Mike

    Hollywood is to,blame far, far more than any gun company. Trust me on that.

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