Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013 2:17:07 PM
Since December 14th, I can’t recall a day in which I haven’t heard about the Newtown school shooting whether it it be from friends, teachers, social media, or the news media itself. The horse of gun-violence has been beaten to death and then some. It is ineradicable; there are guns and there always will be guns. There is nothing we can do legislatively to keep someone from hurting someone. Whenever something like this happens, gun control always comes up, school security always comes up, and video games always come up. The truth is: people who massacre people are mentally ill and they’re going to do irrational things regardless of any impetus. Trying to rationalize irrationality is a fruitless venture from which no progress will be made. Instead, why don’t we cut the problem at its roots? The news media play a bigger role in the perpetuation of the problem than most people realize.
I wonder how many hungry news correspondents arrived that day with the taste of a Pulitzer Prize in their mouths. I wonder how many families’ grievings were violated by an incessant flock of cameras. But even more, I wonder how the coverage of this tragedy affected those with the propensity to kill. There are names which no one will forget: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Seung-Hui Cho, Anders Behring Breivik, James Holmes, and now Adam Lanza; they’ve achieved celebrity status. Why wouldn’t a mentally troubled, introverted, bullied youth want to go out with a blaze, to be forever remembered as someone? The news media makes this possible.
It would be ridiculous to assume how a shooter was feeling or what was going on in his brain at the time of the shooting, but we must realize how entirely uncommon these things are. School shooters make up a fraction of a percent of the population. About 63 percent of Americans play video games1, about 35 percent of Americans have at least one gun in their house2, and approximately 9.5 percent of the population have a mild form of mental illness3 (Kuchera par. 1)1(Sides par. 3)2(NCS-R 1)3. If massacring were a true, preventable side effect of society, and if these were the causes of massacring, wouldn’t these numbers reflect that?
The fact of the matter is that violence is an unsolvable problem, and most of the alleged causes are untrue. In my opinion, there is almost nothing we can do to deter gun violence. So where do we go from here? We inhibit the media from sensationalizing mass shootings and let life take its course.