I just heard Dave Cullen, the author of the exhaustive analysis of the Columbine shooting, make an excellent suggestion in reference to the Washington Navy Yard shooting on Monday. He said that he has made a point of not referring to shooters by name. Those who have been responsible for mass shootings are seeking notoriety. When the media reports with familiarity on these killers, referring to them by name, showing photos, interviewing their family members, they are fueling the next one.
The reaction to Monday's shooting, given all that has happened -- and not happened -- since children were murdered in Newtown last December disgusts me. The first bit that I heard on C-Span of all places was congressional tweets expressing their sympathy for the families of the dead. The first one listed was Senator Ted Cruz. I'm sure the very next thing he did was ring up the NRA to assure Wayne LaPierre that he will take this opportunity to re-energize his fight to arm every American.
Gun-totin' Senator Lindsey Graham rang in his support for gun rights, saying that we need to focus our efforts on mental health legislation. This is the guy who wants to defund Obamacare. I'm assuming that by mental health legislation he is talking about keeping data banks of anyone who has been hospitalized or imprisoned, and tracking their movements, as opposed to actually treating troubled people.
I would like to applaud Dave Cullen for his thoughts about the media not feeding the appetites of potential future killers. And I would like to take the proposal another step further.
I don't believe we should allow a mass shooting to become a forum for assholes like Wayne LaPierre, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham. It is apparent that false words of sympathy are followed by words intending to incite fear and anger in those who cling to their guns. With each shooting, they are able to play their followers like a fiddle -- or should I say, an AR-15.
So let's tell the media to stop showing Facebook photos of shooters, talking about their friends, interviewing a weeping mom. And let's tell the media to stop for god's sake inviting Wayne LaPierre to interviews, and to stop printing quotes by right wing-nuts who are trying to stay in office by fueling their rabid base.
This morning I heard the sounds in my rural neighborhood that I hear whenever we have a shooting tragedy. It was the sound of someone shooting. Getting ready for the next bad guy with a gun. And that ka-ching you are hearing is the sound of the money being made by the arms manufacturers, the NRA, and right-wing politicians.