The tragedy from Aurora, Colorado has shocked, if not the world, certainly everyone in this country. With 24 hour news that’s become a part of our everyday lives, there will be a constant flood of information. Maybe this is as it should be. If the past is any indicator, these types of horrors are inevitable.
I’m proposing a new and certainly radical proposal which I am under no illusion will be adopted but feel compelled to put it out there anyway. Quite a while ago (I can’t remember exactly when), there were several attention seekers, e.g. “streakers” or fans at professional sporting events who wanted their 15 minutes of fame. The cameras were on them as they would be if something happened related to the game. One day - somebody - an unknown person in the world of television suggested, or decided, to take cameras OFF of these twisted people. From then on, the guys in the booth calling the game would explain what’s going on but the stations give NO face time to these people who are interfering with the contest. These actions still happen but, it seems, not nearly as often.
Taking a page out of that book, how about not showing the face or giving the name of people who intentionally act in inhumane ways? I’m not talking about ignoring the story. Cover it aggressively, just don’t use names or show faces. Talk about his or her abnormal behavior, problems from the pyscho’s background, details of the incident, names of the victims - just don’t give the demented person’s name or show pictures of them.
In this case, let the public know the kid was an honor student who recently dropped out of the doctoral program at the University of Colorado. Tell people that he booby trapped his apartment, that he went into the movie, got on his cell phone, left the theater, put on bullet proof gear and came back. He threw canisters of pepper spray into the crowd, shot people, etc. Don’t hold back on the details.
Naturally, law enforcement officials need to interview relatives, friends, neighbors, teachers, whoever who knew the deranged individual - just bleep out the name of the insane person. I understand this is not realistic in this age of video cameras in cell phones and with TMZ, the paparazzi and social media. But since so many of these unstable people claim they did it because they wanted to be “somebody,” why not give it a try? The only difference to covering this type of event using my suggestion and the way it’s done now is - no picture and no name of the criminal committing random, senseless acts of violence.
Did this guy want to be known as the one who shot up the theater in Aurora? Maybe we’ll find out. My suggestion is not a panacea to all problems like this one, but if it dissuades one person, wouldn’t it be worth it? And what would we be missing? The person’s name - or mug shot?
Sir Winston Churchill’s quote makes sense:
“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”