Park Dietz on media coverage of mass murders.

“If you don’t want to propagate more mass murders… Don’t start the story with sirens blaring. Don’t have photographs of the killer. Don’t make this 24/7 coverage. Do everything you can not to make the body count the lead story. Not to make the killer some kind of anti-hero. Do localise this story to the affected community and as boring as possible in every other market.”

But what would he know? Obviously, it’s much more important to use each tragedy to promote your previously existing political aims, regardless if it empowers some other marginally-human sociopath further down the course of their own intended copycat incident of devastation.

To be fair, mass media covers these things in all their lurid anti-glory because they make money selling advertisements. It is the politicians and grasstroturf groups who exploit them, while ignoring the much higher death count of “gang related” murder because, ultimately, either they don’t care, or they figure their audience doesn’t care. Which is not to mention that all of these incidents of “gun violence” are dwarfed to statistical insignificance when compared to, say, the number of people, even just children in particular, killed by automotive accidents, sundry forms of cancer, or home pool drownings.

If anything positive comes out of these events, and I’m not convinced that anything positive does, there is perhaps some merit to the combination of the coverage, and the average internet user’s narcissistic compulsion to offer their unsolicited opinions about the subject at hand, that provides a pragmatic and un-camouflaged view of who believes what, and therefore who you can count on, and who you obviously cannot.


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