It was somewhere after the event of the shooting at Northern Illinois University that it dawned on me. Are we making heroes out of the shooters in each of these tragic events?
Thinking back on the events of the past, I had to wonder if, for some of the perpetrators, did they get what they wanted? Are they now famous? Were they able to go out of this life in a blaze of glory and now folks will remember their names?
Now, I won't give them the privilege, even posthumously, of mentioning their names here. But what about the shooters of the recent tragedies at Mitchell High School in Memphis, Tennessee; Youth with a Mission facility in Arvada, Colorado; New Hope Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Virginia Tech University; Von Maur Store at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska; etc. They had their names and pictures blasted all over the news media for days after the event.
Did they get their "15 minutes of fame"?
Maybe if the focus was more on the victims and less on the shooters we would see less of these events. I don't know. But I do realize that the media constantly talk about the perpetrators and it bugs me.
Now some bleeding heart may say that the shooter in each of these situations had problems of their own and to not mention them would be to turn a deaf ear to their issues. I don't think so.
Don't think that I have a solution that will stop all of these tragedies from happening. It isn't as some say, arm everyone in the world so we can shoot back. Nor is it the idea that we should eliminate all handguns from the world. That is idealistic. And very unrealistic.
But what I am saying is that if the shooter is dead (normally by their own hand), why give them the after life satisfaction of mentioning their names for weeks after the event? Maybe the media could start by saying enough is enough and we are not going to immortalize these criminals. Treat them by simply saying that a (for example) 23 year old male student was responsible for the attack.
If we mention anyone, it should be those who had their lives cut short by the shooter. Better yet, maybe we should pray that these attacks end and we don't have to deal with the issue of publicity at all.
Anne Murray released a song in the early 1980's called "A Little Good News" that talked about the issue of what would happen if all we had to report was good news. I know I'm a dreamer. But I can't help but think that if somehow we would focus on the good, maybe that would breed copy cats instead of tragedies doing the same thing.