Colorado shooting: Media, stop rewarding gunmen

The massacre in Colorado last night was tragic. We can all agree on that. It’s natural to be horrified when something so senseless and cruel occurs, especially when in it’s the most benign places. Schools full of children and movie theaters full of happy fans are not places you’d expect something as dark as murder to go down. And why does it thrive? Why do copy cat crimes pop up by the dozens after these showdowns? Because the shooters get what they want. Attention.

After the Virginia Tech massacre, Fox News practically made the gunman a star. A guy who had just been a dorky kid no one liked was suddenly what he has always wanted to be: noticed, feared, talked about. He gave his life for that fleeting “stardom” but it was worth it him. The lives of the other kids were just collateral damage in his quest for the world to care about him. That’s the culture we live in – a place and time where fame is the one thing worth giving your dignity for, and in some cases your own life and the lives of other people.

Within hours of the shooting, websites and news outlets were pondering the alleged shooter, James Holmes’ message. What was the meaning? What was the deeper motivation? Like he’s some kind of sage handing down an important lesson to humanity. Of course we want to know why it happened and we all feel powerless. Dissecting the motive gives us a feeling of control when we don’t have other answers.

But uncovering the “message” and “meaning” behind James Holmes’ actions treats this asshole like a messiah. I don’t want to learn anything from this freak. I don’t want to use his narcissism to make connections between violence in entertainment and real life gunfire. That’s giving him too much credit. He’s a disgusting, selfish dork that no one should care anything about except to throw him behind bars.

When the media starts treating these idiots like the losers they are instead of glorifying their power by postulating on their “messages” like they’re the Joker in a real life Batman movie, maybe we’ll see a stop to these pathetic cries for attention. They are pariahs. Treat them as such.

Hey James, you’re still the same loser you were yesterday and will be tomorrow. I don’t care what your “message” was or anything about your pea brain “deep thoughts”. No one fears you. You’re in custody, living on a diet of prison food and your own crybaby tears. There’s nothing to respect about you.

A real man acts like a hero.

So what should the media do? Recognize it’s the public’s appetite for a villain that creates more. I call for a blacklisting of all mass gunmen’s portraits. Don’t show their faces. Don’t make them infamous. Don’t play guessing games with their motives or highlight their struggles. Don’t talk about the gunman other than the facts of what happened at the time of the shooting.

If the media wants to be helpful, present counseling resources for the grieved. Give direction on what to do if someone suspects a would-be gunman. Give pointers on what to if one is caught in gunfire. But starting today, we need to stop the fame machine for killers.

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