A Potential Solution to Fight Mass Killings

I recently referenced an article written by Megan McArdle in which she discussed mass shootings and suggested some ways to prevent them, along with the negatives of each potential solution.

I just came across her most recent article in which she elaborates on one of the points she suggested in her original write-up (banning extensive coverage of mass shootings) and discusses why she feels it could play an important role.

I’m going to quote the relevant portion of the article and provide the source at the end. I can’t guarantee you will be able to access her full remarks as online media is getting very selfish about sharing unless you PAY a subscription fee.

As for government restrictions on news coverage, the political and practical hurdles would be at least as daunting. Who decides what constitutes a violation? Do you trust anyone with that kind of power?

But while government censorship is dangerous, curbing one’s own speech is often just good judgment. News organizations should perform an experiment: Make it a tenet of journalistic ethics not to print the names or manifestos of mass shooters, or details of their lives, or even details of their attacks. Mass shooters seek notoriety; deny it to them.

Ending the wall-to-wall coverage would mean, yes, losing readers and viewers. The public would lose some information. Gun-control advocates would lose a campaigning tool. But the public policy aspects of mass shootings can be covered with aggregate statistics. The visceral details may make for a better story, a better PR campaign. But as long as there’s reason to think that they also make for more murders, we have a moral obligation to avoid them.

Source: The Herald Dispatch

So it would seem she advocates the news media reduce the sensationalism that seems to accompany each violent attack. Would such an action work? Maybe. Obviously it wouldn’t stop the killings, but perhaps it could/would serve as a deterrent.

Your thoughts?

*******************************
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

58 thoughts on “A Potential Solution to Fight Mass Killings

    • That is not what Megan McArdle or Nan are suggesting at all. Simply reporting events in a non-sensational manner will go a long way to reducing the impact of the offending action.

      The New Zealand media generally only reports the facts on terrorist events and avoids the sort of sensationalism that frequently accompanies events such as political scandal or natural disasters for example.

      NZ media has jointly reached a consensus on how the trial of the Christchurch shooter will be covered. How media plan to cover the accused Christchurch shooter’s trial.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think that’s exactly what they’re suggesting. How do you report brutal mass murders and other forms of domestic terrorism committed by avowed white supremacists in a non-sensational manner? The story itself is as sensational and as disturbing as a story can get. How would you word it? “A man walked into a church today and killed fifty people. End of story” Seriously? Do you really think people in a free and open democracy would accept that? I certainly wouldn’t.

        Like

        • When it comes to freedom of the press, this country ranks above the US. Likewise, the openness of our democratic system sees us ranked in the top five of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) democracy index while the US is ranked as a “flawed democracy”. And that happened under Obama’s watch. So please give some credit as to our ability to understand what a free and open democracy is.

          What many terrorists seek is notoriety for themselves and their cause. There is no need to provide a platform for that.

          Since the Christchurch shooting, New Zealanders have spent a lot of time and energy discussing freedom in its various forms, especially freedom of speech versus hate speech, institutional racism, acceptance, how to be more inclusive, what it means to be a Kiwi, and much more. There has been almost no discussion about the shooter’s manifesto, but considerable discussion on what motivates violent extremism.

          So again I dispute your implication that it’s an attempt to sweep it under the rug.

          Liked by 3 people

          • What you do in your country is your business, but don’t presume to tell my country what it should do. And, New Zealanders have far less experience with mass shootings, domestic terrorism, and white supremacy than Americans.

            I do not trust anyone to tell me what information I can and cannot see. If people can’t emotionally handle reality as it is, then they should stop watching the news and only engage in pleasurable activities.

            Hitler’s Nazis committed their worst offenses under a veil of official secrecy. So did Stalin and every other dictator in history. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. America is bleeding right now. We need help in treating the societal diseases which plague us. That means facing up to who and what we are as a people. President Trump doesn’t want sunlight. He wants the cover of darkness. Your “solution” would aid him.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Perhaps we have far less shootings, domestic terrorism, and white supremacy than Americans because of the way they are reported here. Something to think about?

              You appear to fail to understand the difference between what is reported and how it is reported. Do you think the way news is reported on Fox gives the same slant to it as how the same news is reported on, for example, the BBC or Al Jazeera? Selectively omitting a small piece of information or giving undue attention to another can radically change how a story is interpreted.

              I can recall the lead up to the Syrian civil war and how it was reported in this country vai Fox News and Al Jazeera. If it wasn’t for the names of leading players and a few place names, you could be forgiven for thinking they were two unrelated events.

              No one is suggesting censorship of news or discussion. What is desired is to avoid providing a platform for extremists to use to their advantage. I’m convinced that this can be achieved through responsible reporting and discussion.

              As you may be aware, the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto has been classified as objectionable in this country. This is not because its content might harm reasonable individuals or encourage them to carry out similar acts. It was classified because it could have that effect on those on the “fringes” – those who are unstable or those who have prejudices and could be persuaded by extreme rhetoric. Those already with hardened extremist views are unlikely to be dissuaded by any ban. In time, it’s likely that the manifesto will be declassified, but in the meantime, there’s nothing to prevent discussion about the manifesto’s content.

              In fact I read the manifesto right here on WordPress before it was taken down by the American corporation that owns the platform, and having read it, I am free to discuss it should I desire to. But try using any of the popular (American based) social media platforms to promote the ideology similar to Brenton Tarrant and see how far you get. So even in America, self censorship does exist. If some watchdogs are to be believed, American news media carry out a higher level of self censorship overall the do many other parts of the world.

              I agree when you state “America is bleeding right now. We need help in treating the societal diseases which plague us. That means facing up to who and what we are as a people.” I certainly have no intention of telling you or any American what you should do about it. What works for us may not work for you. I know there’s a saying about not shooting the messenger, but in this case, I wonder if the messenger is contributing in any way to the problems you face.

              Liked by 2 people

            • Perhaps we have far less shootings, domestic terrorism, and white supremacy than Americans because of the way they are reported here.

              Journalism was the cause of slavery during the colonial period, the American Civil War, the Holocaust, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, etc., etc., etc.? That’s the same self-serving nonsense as President Trump saying that mass shootings are caused by video games. If you have a problem with the way news is reported by the media (as many people do including myself), then focus on that instead.

              Unfortunately, I’ve had the displeasure of being around racists my entire life and long before mass shootings became part of the cultural lexicon. I know what’s in their hearts and minds. Although copycat murders are a real phenomenon, it represents only a fraction of the problem. The much bigger problem is that irresponsible and dangerous leaders like Trump are exploiting the social anxiety that’s been building steadily across the world for decades. He is fueling the fires of hate and emboldening white supremacists who have been itching for a very long time to start their murderous race war. If you can’t understand this, then there is nothing else I can say to convince you. Regardless, I will continue to expose bigotry and racism in all its forms and fight against any attempts to conceal it from public view.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Journalism was the cause of slavery during the colonial period, the American Civil War, the Holocaust, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, etc., etc., etc.?
              Wow! Where did that come from? At first read I thought that was your opinion, and prepared a response based on that. Fortunately before I hit send, I re-read your comment and realised that you believe that is what my stance is. It is not.

              I’ll accept that as an autistic person my attempts at shades of meaning sometimes fall flat, but for some reason this happens more often when the other party is an American and who is passionate about the topic being discussed. May I suggest also that what is self evident to you as a rational American is not necessarily self evident to me as a rational Kiwi, and visa versa. So I’ll start by referring to your last sentence, which I support entirely: “I will continue to expose bigotry and racism in all its forms and fight against any attempts to conceal it from public view.
              I think your use of the word “conceal”, like your original comment about sweeping it under the rug, which prompted me to respond in the first place, is the crux of the matter. In no way am I suggesting such a thing. I’ll reiterate: it’s about how news is reported, NOT about what is reported. I can’t emphasise this enough.

              What I’m saying is that how mass shootings are reported might be a contributing factor. For example, there is more coverage of school shootings than there are of shootings in the workplace, even though the latter are more prevalent. Increases in acquisition of firearms following a mass shooting, both in the state affected and nationwide appear to be related to the amount of coverage the event receives in the media. Media coverage and firearm acquisition in the aftermath of a mass shooting.

              In Mental Illness, the Media, and the Moral Politics of Mass Violence: The Role of Race in Mass Shootings Coverage, a key finding was that stories about white or Latino shooters were much more likely to suggest that mental illness was to blame than stories involving black perpetrators. This doesn’t mean that someone who doesn’t already hold a prejudice against blacks is likely to acquire one, but surely it can be a contributing factor towards reinforcing an already established prejudice.

              In Mass Shootings and the Media: Why All Events Are Not Created Equal the researchers found that “Race/ethnicity and victim counts are the most salient predictor of whether or not a shooting was covered, with perpetrators of Asian and other descent and those events with higher victim counts generating more prominent coverage (measured as higher article and word counts), whereas incidents occurring in locations other than schools yielded less coverage”. Such coverage is likely to increase the level of unease or fear that some people already have of other races and ethnicities. It seems reasonable to me that in some cases this might be sufficient to tip the most afraid over the edge.

              In Covering Mass Murder: An Experimental Examination of the Effect of News Focus — Killer, Victim, or Hero — on Reader Interest, the authors conclude “Although there is some evidence that sensational and shocking coverage of crime events may increase news consumption (likely by way of inducing fear), news outlets that employ such tactics may not be giving consumers what they want. It seems clear that news consumers seek crime stories that reduce uncertainty, offer practical solutions, and include relevant contextual information that suggests the possibility of an effective response to violence.” Adding fear to someone who already holds an irrational fear is not the way to go about de-escalating it.

              You might also want to check out Can a Non-Muslim Mass Shooter Be a “Terrorist”?: A Comparative Content Analysis of the Las Vegas and Orlando Shootings. Perceptions do matter.

              As for Trump, I agree that he is emboldening white supremacists and others, but my question would be: How could someone so obviously unfit for office get elected to be President? Could the way he’s portrayed by the likes of Fox News be, in some way, a contributing factor?

              Liked by 2 people

            • Barry — WP gets real persnickety when there’s more than one or two links, so your comment was delayed.

              TO ALL INTERESTED PARTIES: Best to either let me know via a separate email that you want to include several links or post separate comments, which is a hassle, I agree, but will keep WP happy.

              Liked by 1 person

            • IMO, this is a must-read article! Thank you sharing the link.

              Several points in the article stood out to me, but this one in particular adds to the notoriety aspect: “There is a ‘fame at any cost’ mentality,” he said. And many mass killers explicitly cite fame as their motivation.

              And of course, this one: Absent a sudden shift in gun policy, decreasing the notoriety of mass killers may be the best defense.

              Like

        • Not sweep it under the rug, but stop the damn videos of police running, people screaming, all the horror show aspects of it. Years ago, it was decided that when young people committed suicide it would be not downplayed, but termed “suddenly at home” or wherever. The reasoning then was that too many kids who were already in a depressed state would start emulating someone who had succeeded. Copycat crimes, they were called.
          And just last week a man was arrested (his grandmother turned him in, bless her) for planning a shooting, and one of the things he said, was that he was ‘inspired’ by the recent shootings to try one of his own. Think about that. He also commented that he wanted to take some people out, and then “suicide by cop.”
          Think about the people who have been shot before they could say why they did it or tried to. I wonder how many of them were thinking the same thing.

          Just straight reportage, no sensational videos, no long drawn out ‘sieges’ with voice overs, none of that. I think it would slow down would be nutcases from trying to do the same ‘cool” thing.

          It isn’t the reporting, it’s the method. You just did that yourself, with your language choices. ‘brutal mass murders” and “avowed white supremacists”.

          Make it less sensational sounding, just by toning down the language.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Mass shootings aren’t brutal? Mass shootings aren’t being committed by avowed white supremacists? That’s not sensationalism, that’s the TRUTH!

            If Americans can’t face the truth and continue to hide it, then this terrible crisis that’s ripping our country apart will get worse and worse until another civil war erupts. The blood will stain Trump’s hands, his supporters, and those who cowardly refused to stand up to him.

            Like

  1. In the opinion piece in Spinoff by Alex Braae Overseas critics don’t get why our terror trial reporting restrictions matter explains why the NZ media have agreed on how to cover the trial of the alleged Christchurch mosque shooter. I’ll quote the final paragraph:
    But if the studies on covering mass killers and terrorists are any guide, we’ll stand a better chance of avoiding something like this ever happening again if media organisations follow the rules they’ve set out for themselves. Regardless of what pundits overseas say, that should be the primary concern.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have to go with Megan, and Barry, at least a little on this one. Identifying the shooter is bad enough, everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame, so why give it to them if they are willing to shoot people for it. They don’t deserve it.
    Nor is there any need to identify the weapons they choose to use in their crimes.
    One of these days the media is going to report the location of a mass shooting, and another shooter is going to show up and start shooting at the people in the crowds, or the first responders. There is a very fine line between announcing a location to avoid, and announcing why people should avoid it. Already there are enough people fascinated with watching others die. Why give them the opportunity to add to the chaos.
    As RAV says, people do need to know, BUT! How much do they need to know, that is another matter. I don’t think it need be censorship, but there could be an ethical stance taken by the media to attempt to control the spread of the disease, or should I say, the EPIDEMIC.
    Unfortunately, mass shootings make money for the media. They have no ethics when it comes to making money. Maybe what we need is a whole new idea of what condtitutes news!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I cannot think anything the media does will make much of a difference, the only answer is restrictions on who buys them, officially approved training, storage requirements, registration of all the guns and the owners with random checks by the police. We are also looking at the prevention of many child deaths from negligence by gun owners.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I tend to think … although obviously I can’t know her mind … that McArdle is suggesting reduced media coverage along with the suggestions you put forth.

      Having said that, we both know these very actions/suggestions have been discussed ad nauseam already … and so far, little to nothing has changed.

      As I said at the close of my post, perhaps if less notoriety were given to these crazies, while it obviously wouldn’t STOP the killings, it might serve as a deterrent — especially to those who need/crave/seek such attention. And as the saying goes, every little bit counts.

      Liked by 2 people

        • You know, it’s one thing for the local papers and news outlets to report (however carefully) about a local shooting, to ensure that local people know what’s going on, or what happened. But truly, do the good people of Maine need to know all the dreadful details (right down to the kind of weapons used and the videos of terrified students or shoppers) in full color and sound in, say, Iowa?
          If they have relatives there, they’ll hear all about it in email, by phone, etc. Not silence. Just a bit of discretion.
          You have to also consider the emotional state of the people who plan these attacks. These are not stable people. The ones who have survived are shown to be withdrawn, often, overlooked and ignored or bullied in school, unstable as hell, often gun ‘collectors’. Some come from broken homes. They are looking for a way to get back at the people who ‘did this’ to them, They’re looking for a way to be noticed, and on some days bad attention is as good as good attention, if it’s all you get.

          Like

          • judy, I agree with most of what you said … but I take exception to your inclusion of “gun collectors.” I think I know what you meant, but there might be a better way to put it since there are MANY true “gun collectors” that are not in the least bit interested in going out and committing a mass killing.

            Separately, I think part of the problem is, as mentioned by someone else, the prolific use of phone videos. If you’re “there” and not in immediate danger, for some individuals it’s almost automatic to start video recording the events. Then the news media picks it up and, well, you know the rest.

            The regrettable part about all this is the chances of Ms. MdArdle’s suggestion being acted upon are zilch. Her intentions are good — and I personally think it could help, even if in a small way — but $$$$ is and has been the ruling factor among humans for many centuries. Somehow I doubt it’s going to change simply because people are mercilessly being killed.

            Like

            • apologies, Nan. I was thinking of two men I know, fairly well, who collect guns. Both of them collect high powered expensive pieces, and display them in the family rooms. Both of them bluster, and boast about how many bullets it would take to take down an intruder, on and on and on…these are not collectors of guns, but of weapons. There is a huge huge difference.

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t think it would make a blind bit of difference. In fact , I’ll bet there are a fair number of slayings that don’t make the newspapers, or f they do, a few lines on the inside back page.
    After a while we become almost immune to shock and it becomes ”the norm”.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Most important point first — anything like this would absolutely have to be a voluntary ethical standard established among journalists, not something imposed by government. I absolutely do not trust any government to control what the media can report or how they can report it. If any such censorship were ever imposed, it would be a much bigger emergency than the problem it was designed to combat, and I would consider it morally obligatory for journalists to defy and violate it as a matter of principle.

    That being said, such a code of ethics would probably help, in the sense of reducing one aspect of a potential mass killer’s motivation. However, I see two flaws which would limit its effectiveness:

    1) McArdle is a media person, and the media in general have an exaggerated view of their own importance and influence. Yes, the desire for notoriety in the media is one motive of some mass killers, but not the only one and probably not the most important one. Other motives include doing harm to people whom the killer (for whatever garbled reason) hates, the thrill of fulfilling a violent fantasy, expressing frustration at an empty and dead-end life, and in some cases giving that life a spectacular end rather than “going quietly”. Media response does not loom as large in such people’s thinking as the media seem to believe.

    2) The conventional media have far less control over the flow of information than they did ten or twenty years ago. Blogs, quasi-news rabble-rousing sites like Breitbart, and nihilistic forums like 8chan now reach enough people that information distributed there will eventually seep into the mass public mind, even if it takes longer than something that appears on MSNBC. Even some individuals have a bigger audience. Rachel Maddow has three million regular viewers, Sean Hannity has three million regular viewers, and Taylor Swift has a hundred and ten million Instagram followers. Basically, there are too many channels of information now for such restrain by a few news outlets to be effective.

    Some mass killers who do seek notoriety are only trying to impress an in-group of the like-minded. Knowing that they would be the subject of awed posts about their body count on 8chan would be enough.

    It’s a tempting idea. There is a story from ancient Athens that a prominent citizen was murdered by a nonentity who openly admitted that he had done it because he wanted to become famous for the crime. As part of his punishment, the citizens of Athens agreed among themselves that they would never mention the murderer’s name among themselves or write it down anywhere — and his name has indeed been utterly forgotten. But it’s harder to imagine such an idea working with 325 million people instead of a few thousand — and our society is less mature than theirs.

    Liked by 3 people

    • A question came to mind as I was reading your comment. You suggested “blogs, quasi-news rabble-rousing sites, and nihilistic forums” also play a role in the flow of information. What I wonder is where do they get their initial data? In most cases, isn’t it the regular media that “breaks the news” with the tentacles spreading from there?

      Like

      • Sometimes, or to some extent, yes. But I think Breitbart and some sites like it do some original reporting, and I’ve seen bloggers do original posts on events in their own local area, without reference to MSM sources. I’ve known a few bloggers who even traveled to events to report on them in person. Before the internet, those kinds of reports by an ordinary non-media person might at most have been distributed by mail to a few acquaintances. Today they’re instantly accessible worldwide and can be picked up by other blogs or underground sites which spread them to far wider audiences. The fact that such reports may well be less accurate than MSM reports doesn’t negate the impact.

        More relevant to my point in the earlier comment, McArdle isn’t talking about a total blackout of reporting on things like mass shootings, but simply refraining from mentioning certain details. So the basic story would still be there. The kinds of non-MSM sites I’m talking about can first become aware of such an event via MSM reports, then do a little digging and come up with the missing info and spread it around. If the information exists at all, anywhere (including something like the killer’s Facebook page or other non-MSM site), it can be found and disseminated quickly.

        Especially in cases where the killers themselves want the information to be available, it will be out there. In the New Zealand mosque shooting earlier this year, for example, as I recall, video of the attack was uploaded by the terrorist himself and widely reposted around the internet. The government eventually got it taken down in most places, but by then everyone who wanted to see it had undoubtedly done so, and I’m sure there are countless downloaded copies around. In the old days, it would just have been a question of getting a few TV stations to refrain from airing such a video. Today there are hundreds of millions of individuals able to “air” it globally if they choose. The situation really is very different.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Thanks for the expansion of your comment. I do see your point. And certainly it’s valid.

          Perhaps Ms. McArdle is grasping at straws. But since “no one else” is doing anything, maybe it’s worth at least a moment of consideration with an open mind. As the old saying goes … never hurts to try.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks. I’d also cite one other example — the impact of cell-phone camera video. In recent years, many events have been captured on video by ordinary individuals on the scene who recorded them on their cell phones. This has included events like riots, police brutality, and the like. In the old days, video of such events wouldn’t exist, since by the time someone at a news organization heard what was going on and sent a reporter, the event would have been over. So far from individuals being dependent on MSM reporting to “jump-start” a story, the MSM and even the police often end up using some ordinary person’s cell-phone video to show exactly what really happened. An onlooker with an agenda — or a terrorist — is just as capable of uploading his own video to the internet without subjecting it to filtering by the MSM or the authorities first.

            Like background checks or various other solutions that have been proposed, a media pact to minimize sensationalism in crime reporting might be worth trying, but I’d expect the benefits to be marginal at best. I’m afraid the whole debate strikes me as rather like a discussion of how to reduce vehicle accidents in 2019 by regulating horses.

            Liked by 5 people

    • And one other thing about the differences between gun collectors (who accumulate period pieces, classic weapons, muskets, etc. just for the pleasure of the items) with people who amass weapons, stockpile ammunition, and have subscriptions to weapons magazines and ‘how to build a better siege weapon’ stuff online. It’s a major difference in mindsets.

      It has little to do with banning children from making “kerchewww” noises and pointing an index finger at someone, or cap pistols ( my girlfriends and I annoyed everyone with our capguns and indian war whoops, and not one of us grew up to be serial killers. ) And I had my “kerchewww” down cold, I tell ya.

      It has to do with the mindset of the disturbed kid, the angry teen, the bullied little boy who grows up to be a bully himself. People who are looking to see other people ‘pay’. We all know people like that, they were the too-quiet ones in the back row in highschool, the odd kids who wore little plaid shirts buttoned up to their chin and smiled oddly when they caught your eye.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great comments here and I have to go with Barry, Nan and Megan, mostly. I watch the news every evening and see much on Facebook and my beloved blogs I follow, of which, two are Robert’s and Nan’s.

    The nightly news seems to be overkill in they repeat the same news over and over, but the key to me, is that they do it in the same manner…repeat repeat sensationalism. But then, do to my own fault, I see it all repeated endlessly on Face book and yes, my blogs. So the over kill and sensationalism is due to my own fault and the social media world we live in and it ultimately causes me to feel it’s a lost cause.

    I agree with Bob that it needs to be reported in totality…all of it and the brutality and stories of the lives lost because it brings it home to the rest of us and how it could be us. We need to feel the horror.

    But then, the news media could do a better job of then going into the horrors of white supremacy and its sources, the gun facts in this country, the whole the NRA has on politicians, the need for mental health care, the job scarcity for younger uneducated men, the broken homes, drug addiction and the empty meaningless pathetic lives these young killers lead. All this and more could be covered in addition the the main horrific story itself.

    Tell the news and how horrific it is, but go into some of these other issues and always emphasize how pathetic and empty these individuals are, so they don’t look like heroes to other young people.

    It must be a combination…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Mary! I appreciate being listed as one of your favorite blogs. 😍

      Although your’s (and others’) suggestions are solid — as we’ve seen time and again — that’s pretty much all they are. Suggestions. Those who have the power to DO something ignore, push under the table, find excuses, etc. to avoid correcting the problem. Why? Because $$$$ speak louder than the cries of the survivors.

      IMO, Ms. McArdle is simply trying to put forth an idea that could play a role. Certainly not in every case, but if such an action reaches even one crazy, wouldn’t it be worth considering? As you said, let’s remove the “hero” status to those who could very well be considering doing something similar.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. The media should be required, under penalty of death, to report only what our government WANTS us to know. Turn each shooting into a “candy given away to hungry kids” headline, and all will change. Shootings will stop, and a happy bliss will fall over America. Hell don’t cover ANY shootings and INCREASE the ease with which people can purchase weapons. Christ, GIVE people weapons even, just don’t cover the mass shootings. THAT will surely end the issue. Oh, also, the reason mass shooters exist is because of the following 1.) Media coverage of shootings. 2.) Video games. These, without a doubt, are making mass shooters out of our youth. 3.) Comic books and violent films. Again, it is inarguable that THESE things are the TRUE cause of mass shootings and little else. 4.) Media coverage of mass shootings. (I know, this is also reason one, but it is SO much a reason as to why these shootings happen, I felt I just HAD to mention it again.) 5.) Liberals who are demanding stricter gun sales. These sissified, anti-American a-holes are a MASSIVE cause of mass shootings because they rouse trouble wherever they go by talking their leftist, commie bullshit. This enrages true Americans who then read comic books and play video games; this then leads them to use their otherwise safe semi-automatic weapons to kill hundreds. There are few horrid things that happen in America that cannot be blamed on libtards and their disgusting disregard for the true, Christ-loving America the rest of us true-blooded Americans are so proud of. Like Sally Field once said to Burt Reynolds, “Burt, if the media only told us about the sweeter things in life, we’d have no bad things to ever worry about.” Wiser words have never been spoken. Think about: If you don’t hear about a blood-filled mass shooting that happened in a city across the country from you, did it really even happen?

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Nan: Thanks for highlighting these articles. I really like Megan McArdle’s writing; I don’t always agree with her, but she’s always worth reading, and she often raises points I didn’t think of. Her analysis is very insightful.

    I read these two articles with interest when they came out. I guess where I landed is: (1) *IF* we could somehow achieve a world in which mass shooters were not identified, their names and manifestos were not revealed, etc., it might make a difference. Even if it would only prevent some percentage of these events, it would be worth it. I feel the same way about terrorists; denying them what they want (attention for themselves, fear in their targets) is an important part of a good strategy.

    But (2) I can’t see how we could achieve that in practice. For one: From my perspective, the mainstream media is often of two minds about these things. Many media organizations decry Trump’s ability to seize national attention, but their profits have gone through the roof because everybody obsessively follows what he says, so they regularly fill the top of their coverage with Trump stories. After elections, many media organizations decry the effects of the “horse race” coverage and lack of focus on the issues, and then when the next election spins up, they stoke the horse race because it catches eyeballs. etc. So I’m not sure, in the back rooms of big media when mass killing events are being discussed, that they would really be willing to put principle over profits, especially when “if we don’t, our competitors will.”

    And secondly: Even *IF* you could get all the mainstream media outlets to agree (and nobody would break the rule for their own profit)… or even *IF* you went so far as to change the 1st Amendment and make it illegal… as Infidel753 notes above, we live in a world where individuals, bloggers, and other non-traditional media have just as much reach. Some of them are overseas where our laws can’t touch them. I have almost no confidence that in the wake of a big mass killing event, the details won’t all come out. It might have worked in the days of 3 major broadcast networks and a few major national newspapers and magazines, but not now.

    These days, I’m sadly feeling that like government, our media reflects who we are and what we want. Our media does what it does because we as a culture are rewarding what they’re doing, because at some level we want what they’re doing.

    Like

    • Our media does what it does because we as a culture are rewarding what they’re doing, because at some level we want what they’re doing.

      Excellent point! Even though it’s certainly not one that we should be proud of.

      I guess in many ways we’re simply grasping at straws, but if we can reduce the shootings by even 1/10 of a percent through less media attention, it seems it would be worth the effort. And then *IF* the powers-that-be would stop letting gun lobbyists run the country, we MIGHT be able to save a few lives.

      Like

  9. There was a time when news reporting was classy. Cronkite, Peter Jennings, guys like that. When Kennedy was killed, all Cronkite did was take off his glasses (and you could see he was weeping) and say, “The President is dead.”. It was enough.

    Now we have Fox News, braying over this and that, and insulting Obama and Hillary, and i think, this isn;t news, this is a sideshow. And people eat it up. They praise the President, criticize anyone with a brain, and i keep thinking, What Would Walter have done? And this has become the standard for so called reportage.
    What happened to balanced coverage?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. If a mass shooting is covered factually and ethically without political bias immediately blaming and promoting the banning of guns and blaming the president or NRA for the killings, then it is acceptable.
    More probable causes for mass shootings are mental illness, desire for notoriety, love of violence, hatred of a group of humans who may or may not be considered a race or religion, and simply a diabolical mind which takes great pleasure in killing humans. Murder is an immoral act and the real solution might be ensuring that the next generation is indoctrinated with a morality which respects life, doesn’t lie, isn’t adulterous, protects biodiversity, and has empathy for fellow humans.

    Like

    • Hello uldissprogis …

      Thank you for stopping by and offering your thoughts. I think your “probable causes” are accurate; however, the question becomes … how do we detect these qualities BEFORE the person acts?

      As for “indoctrinating with a morality” … I would be interested in knowing how you think this might be done.

      Like

    • @uldissprogis

      One would think that any reasonable person would conclude any mass shooting would be because of some form of mental illness.

      Common sense suggests that removing guns from the general populace would be the most sensible thing to do as it is an overt way of indoctrinating people.

      If it can be done in other countries then there is no reason why the US could not follow these examples.

      Like

      • Ark, did you see the recent meme on Scottie’s blog about gun control? The top line is “Nobody Wants Your Damn Guns.” IMO, the message makes sense. Besides, removing guns is NEVER going to happen in the U.S. Even if on some future date, they pass such a law, there will always be people with guns … just not so you know it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I am not someone who believes in certain these type of absolutes and never is such an absolute,
          Social change is all about mindset.
          It wasn’t that long ago that people were saying things such as: ”You’ll never ban people smoking in pubs.”
          ”They’ll never ban plastic bags.”
          ”They’ll never give women the vote.”
          🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh I agree with you about mindset. For most people, it can be changed.

            BUT … I also know there are hardliner (paranoid?) gun-owners in the U.S. and they are NOT going to give up their guns. Even if it gets to the point of military enforcement … they may make a show of giving up their guns, but I can guarantee you they will still have some well-hidden and protected. Even if they can never “legally” use them, their mindset tells them it is absolutely essential to have a weapon available for whatever emergency or catastrophe that might happen sometime in the future.

            Believe me, Ark. For these people, it’s far, far different than the “nevers” you mentioned.

            Liked by 1 person

            • The US went to war over slavery – and things changed.
              If the will is there change will happen.
              Most people are not that independent they would be willing to completely abandon the current lifestyle in the face of overwhelming cultural pressure, and certainly not resort to civil war!

              And as far as the real hardliners are concerned …
              This is not where the true problem lies.
              Follow the money and there lies your answer.

              Like

  11. I agree Ark, once the law and the mindset changes people who hide guns will be exposed by those people in the community who are concerned enough to want change.

    The fact that the guns can be hidden by law breakers as Nan has said is not good, however it can have a silver lining by making the guns less accessible during a reaction of anger, when a suicidal thought occurs or worse when a child finds a loaded gun that is currently kept in a top draw in the bedroom or propped conveniently behind the door.

    If the law is strict enough on owning illegal weapons people will bury them under the ground, under the house, in a secret attic compartment etc, making it hard to access them in a hurry.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can’t help but feel that people on all sides focus on one point alone and imagine that the resolution of that issue will somehow improve or eliminate a problem. In fact, when it comes to mass shootings, there are more issues and influences that culminate in the violence that expresses itself. On the side of less graphic reporting I have to say that the days of serious, factual journalism have long been left by the trash littered American roadside. When Cronkite, Dan Rather and Chet Huntley opened their mouths, there was a confidence that the stories were well researched beyond the sensational BS that is now the main influence of reporting..on all sides. You can hear slants, suppositions, suggestions and personal opinion from most all major reporting networks. We have not one but at least two generations of young people who, without due influence of concerned, intelligent parents, were raised by unsupervised television and idle time which they filled with fantasy life. Worlds where they could rob banks, blow up cities and fight zombies with no retribution or responsibility. What has become easy access and acceptance of weapons that only military defense should have has fueled these fantasies.There is a growing desensitization for death, loss and punishment. Look how many of these mass killers have turned their weapons on themselves. To me this is a frightening turn of mental breakdown in a country where there is plenty for everyone. Maybe that is part of the problem. Life isn’t hard anymore. If your greatest challenge for the day is to see how many hits you can get on a Twitter meme, then your life is too damn easy. Punishment? Prisons have now become places where people get college degrees, write best sellers and even post live feed on social media. It’s a better home than some knew on the outside. Do we return to prison abuse and field labor? I’m not saying that. I am saying that if crime is to be deterred, there have to be consequences beyond slapping an orange suit on a person and baby sitting them from 10-20, especially if that crime is mass murder. Not guilty by reason of insanity? Who even came up with that one? Who in any frame of right mind plans and carries out a heinous crime? That one lets off some of the worst criminals of this century. Parents don’t want to discipline, schools can no longer discipline, and prisons are too late to do much good. Our president however, has willfully opened Pandora’s box on bigotry and blind hatred. We used to all have opinions and knew when to express them. Now all people want to do is spew and fight and are most happy doing it on social media. Such bravery when hiding behind a screen. I’m so saddened that we are overly focused on one side being the winner when we will all be losers when life on this planet finally fails.

    Like

    • Hi Cheryl! Thank you so much for your comment. You said much of what many of us think and feel.

      I hope you will join “the regulars” and visit often … and comment! We often get some very good discussions going. 🙂

      Like

    • You have hit on some good issues here. The computers, internet, gaming, social media and mobile phones are the complete life of most young people today. I have an 18 year old daughter and her life is ruled by these media. I am a great believer in actively involving sports or physical activity throughout life, however many of these kids including my daughter do not want to leave their bedrooms and most have absolutely no respect for their parents or authority.

      Is this just the ongoing evolution of humans into a predominantly technical world where people’s lives are influenced by ideals and communications with strangers who they believe are their best friends?

      Liked by 1 person

Don't Be Shy -- Tell Us What You Think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.