Remember those clowns running naked onto the field in the middle of televised sporting events? Pretty quick the networks figured it out and stopped showing the clowns, and the clowns soon realized they weren’t going to get the attention they were seeking (except from stadium security and local police).
The problem went away.
Would the same approach work with shooters of mass murders?
Before Newtown, Aurora, Clackamas, and Columbine, there was talk of passing laws prohibiting news media from publishing the names of rampage shooters. I doubt such a law could survive a court challenge, but feasibly the news media could do it voluntarily, similar to the coverage of suicides. Most news outlets withhold names of people who take their own lives so as not to encourage other troubled individuals to end it all in time for the six o’ clock news.
Should broadcast, print, and the Internet withhold names and mug shots of shooters? Would that send a message to those seeking some perverted moment in the limelight?
Before you decide, keep in mind that your curiosity would never be satisfied. You’d never find out anything about the shooter: name, age, hometown, or motive. You’d never see a face. The shooter would essentially vanish.
One more thing to think about. Would you be comfortable with the news media and law enforcement deciding what information you have a right to know and what should be kept confidential?
Cast your ballot in the poll and add your comments below. I’ll post results.