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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions September 15, 2014

7/27/2012 10:00:00 PM
Editorial: Take away fame as a mass shooting motive
The Daily Courier

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was among the first to protest identifying suspects in shooting rampages, such as the one in Aurora, Colo., little more than a week ago.

Huckabee, appearing on a weekend Fox and Friends newscast, said he would not mention the name of the man in custody on his TV show later that day. It gives such people the notoriety and they crave, he said. And it takes away from remembering and honoring the victims who died or were seriously hurt in the movie theater's screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," the latest in the Batman series.

Without doubt, the American public's curiosity reaches a high pitch as we try to understand what would motivate anyone to walk into a crowded theater and open fire, killing 12 people, one a 6-year-old child, and wounding so many others who simply wanted to relax and watch a movie.

In the days that followed, we asked over and over "Why?" Then, on the Monday after the massacre, we had our first glimpse of the suspect when he appeared in court - motionless, a deadpan expression on his face, overshadowed by his crop of orange-red hair.

That image has been broadcast across television screens and published in newspapers over and over again since his first public appearance after the shootings.

Enough, we say, of subjecting us to this image - at least for now. Give all of us, especially the families of the victims, a chance to begin healing from this horrific tragedy.

The Clayton County, Georgia, Sheriff's Office explored the phenomenon of mass shootings in 2008, including the fantasy in shooters' imaginations about making headline news.

While we don't know how much access the incarcerated suspect in the Colorado gunfire has to the media, it's quite possible that he is somewhat aware of how much his name and face are being bandied about now and will be in days to come.

Let's not allow these suspects their glory days. Rather, let's focus on the victims left in paths of devastation and honor and respect them for the goodness they brought into the lives of so many. The people who died, the people who threw their bodies over others to save them from gunfire, the police, firefighters and others who responded to this emergency of such magnitude are the ones who deserve our gratitude. They are the true heroes.

People who commit heinous crimes don't deserve a single minute of fame.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, July 29, 2012
Article comment by: @ Chris Bergman

Law enforcement officials cannot prevent media outlets from discovering and publishing the names of alleged shooters. Any attempt to stem the flow of that information would be as successful as containing milk inside a colander.

People talk. Journalists dig. Court records are generally moot regarding identification because by the time these subjects appear, everybody from their neighbors to their second cousins have already given them up and provided photos to boot.

That said, I agree more focus should be on the victims and their families, and round-the-clock coverage of alleged mass murderers could very well beget more mass murderers.

Yet sadly, massacres sell, and print and broadcast journalism outlets are for-profit businesses. Some of those at the helm may have more heart than others, but they're all at the mercy of the dollar.

Posted: Sunday, July 29, 2012
Article comment by: Parents Would Be In Favor

If I was a parent of someone who killed others, I wouldn't want family names used either. Exception would be if the killing was in the name of war, then naming names, including Hero, as well as medals would be most welcomed!

And we wonder why there are so many soldiers who commit suicide.

Posted: Saturday, July 28, 2012
Article comment by: Too Much Publicity

I agree with Hannity but unfortunately we live in an age that thrives on sensationalism. Even Manson gets publicity and the "goons" who follow him love it. A very sick society today. The worst the crime, the more publcity we want. These criminals even have "fan clubs" and followers and some end up even getting married in prison! Sad but true!

Posted: Saturday, July 28, 2012
Article comment by: Dear Mr. Bergman

What the heck are you talking about?

Posted: Saturday, July 28, 2012
Article comment by: Chris Bergman

@ James, of course the Courier ran and made full use of the story. The "management" at the courier, like most old media, has a vested interest in disarming the common people because they believe we ARE common, while they are not. Fortunately, there are a couple of editors at the Courier who, though they have sold their integrity to work there, still have the memory of integrity and that shows up in the occasional, non propagandist editorial.

The editorialist today makes an interesting point. If law enforcement didn't release the names of suspects until much later, might that not reduce, at least one, motive for such acts? It's worth considering.

Posted: Saturday, July 28, 2012
Article comment by: papers to be sold, as he comments online

I like the idea of a sheriff's office exploring any sensational phenomenon.
Keyword here, former, now just another talking head on Fox.
4,356,002 sources to choose from, and you came up with this guy?
Guess if Prescott wants to go see a staged gunfight this afternoon, we can buy into this.

Posted: Saturday, July 28, 2012
Article comment by: James Madison

Did I miss something? Or did the DC run the Aurora massacre story just like everyone else? Hmm. Is this editorial hypocritical? Or is it righteous? An oxymoron maybe? I'm sure all the news outlets in the country are going to jump right in line on this one.

Posted: Saturday, July 28, 2012
Article comment by: But there's money to be made, papers to be sold...

Freedom of the press includes the right to sensationalize to maximize revenues.

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