gwen (gwenix) wrote,

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About mass shootings.

Before I start this, I would like to point out that my heart goes out to all of the victims. This is not about them, though, it is about hoping we can work on not having another one of these. And on with it....

You know, we would all do everyone a favor by not bothering to discuss, report, or otherwise acknowledge the actual shooters in these mass shootings. Why? Because the reason they do these things is so that they can get their ultimate last negative attention before going out. Seriously, it's what they're looking for.

But no, we have to discuss ad nauseum whether video games/violent TV/psychosis/whatever was the reason they did this. We have to explore their background, their name, their family, their thinking, their motives, their inspirations, their everything... and we feed right into the next one of these.

And really the answer is, "yes, that person was psychotic." I mean, that fact was obvious from the moment they shot, so why do we need further motive to discuss? But the further motive we should be discussing, if we are going to be discussing any, is the attention they clearly craved for their final act. But that aspect is almost never brought up in all of the articles upon articles of rumours and sensationalism and bloggings of "WHY?" We already know why.

The problem is, we can't own up to the fact that these things are happening is each and every one of our own faults. Every time we watch the TV news and pore over every detail of who the shooter was -- "WHY?" -- with them, we are contributing to the attention that that person clearly wanted. We are setting ourselves up for the next attention-deprived psychotic case to decide to, well, go out with a bang. Because, obviously, they will also get that attention.

As an example of this, I remember the fuss in the 80's about teenage suicides being much more common. In fact, there appear to be still people discussing this. For quite a while, teen suicides were constantly in the news, and yes, they were more common than usual! And the same things as now were blamed, heavy metal music, TV violence, or whatever else was at hand (Negativland has a particularly funny story about this). But funny enough, once the news decided to stop broadcasting about teens who were committing suicide... the rates went back down to normal levels.

And now, it's less than 20 years later, and they've already forgotten that lesson. So, when a tragedy like this occurs, they don't turn to themselves as the catalyst to the psychotic's snap; rather they turn back to the same old blameables (and the new one: video games). But I am going to say this, it is the attention that the media, and US ALL to blame. Every one of us. Even me right now.

Now, I should clarify here. I don't think the events shouldn't be reported. Of course they should, we all have friends or family that could be in danger in those areas, and we need to know about it. But what we should be doing is concentrating on the victims, on the facts, on the events... not on the shooter. We shouldn't be naming the shooter, devouring every morsel about his or her history, his or her motives, his or her lifestyle. That is not what is important now, the others involved are what are important. So let us concentrate on them.

And it's the responsibility of every one of us to do this... we should note our own conversations, our own blogs, our own patterns of what we are paying attention to and concentrate our own efforts on the victims. If we see the TV broadcasting data about the shooter, or read a headline about the personal information, we should stop watching, stop reading. If we are so motivated, write a letter to the editor imploring them to be responsible and not continue this pattern of feeding the negative attention these people are looking for.

Besides. Mass shootings are so 90's anyway. Let's move onto the next subject that will dominate our news and give attention-starved teens the 15 minutes of fame they're looking for.
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