Came home from church this morning to find this on my Facebook feed:
It’s a petition to ban the media from releasing the names of those who commit mass murders, like school/mall shooting, etc. (I’m not going to weigh in on whether or not I think restricting the media is something the White House should do or not, but if you want to sign the petition, you can click on that picture and it will take you there.)
The person who created this petition did so using a quote by actor Morgan Freeman.
“Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.”
I was just thinking about this issue yesterday… not about banning the media coverage… but about how different it was when news didn’t travel faster than a bird can fly.
We live in a world where someone has blogged it or tipped off the media before victims families even know. And before those same families can process what happened, the entire world knows the whole details, has begun assigning guilt and blame to any and everyone (from the perpetrators’ parents, to their teachers, doctors… etc. ), and tossing around phrases like ‘senseless tragedy,” “gun control,” and “punishment from God for our Nation’s Sins.” And before the victims can even be buried… it somehow stops being about them anymore. They’re dead and their families can’t even mourn them in peace through the media hype, endless rounds of interviews, and an onslaught of well-intentioned strangers grieving right along side them.
In light of the recent Connecticut school shooting, I find myself wondering… did these things not happen when I was a kid… or did they happen, but no one ever really heard about it? I don’t remember it. I really don’t. So if there were people in other cities in other parts of the country who were committing crimes like this, I was blissfully unaware of it.
As a mother, I had to try and answer my daughter when she asked me ‘why do schooling shootings happen?’ and I think I failed at it. I don’t know why. I don’t know why people do horrible things. Not many of us do. And there is, sadly, not much any of us who live outside the communities where they occurred can really do… except to pray for the families of the victims and for the families of the perpetrators, as well.
But a part of me thinks that it would be better our young people didn’t have those images seared into their minds at such a young age, and I didn’t have to try and answer that unfathomable question… why do school shootings happen? I wish my daughter was as blissfully unaware now as I was back in my childhood… back in the days before the endless stream of information we call the Internet.