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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
6:19 PM Tue, Jan. 22nd

Editorial: Take away fame as a mass shooting motive

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.