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Mass Shootings in the Mass Media: What is the Right Coverage?

Vigils for the victims of the Tree of Life Shooting. Courtesy of Creative Commons

Vigils for the victims of the Tree of Life Shooting. Courtesy of Creative Commons

Brian Guski, Contributing Writer

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With the horrific events that took place at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, there needs to be a change. It is not a matter of implementing stricter gun control, or arming every citizen in the United States with a firearm, but one of media coverage. Any individual, or organization, regardless of any affiliation with media, should keep the identities of these monstrous mass murders anonymous. Although withdrawing the names and faces of these killers may appear to be for protection, it is their worst nightmare.

The horrible human beings who commit these acts do so for the publicity and to spread their hateful message and strike fear into the innocent people they’re trying to terrify.

In a video, The Parkland Shooter, who will not be named, bragged and proclaimed how they would be “the next school shooter of 2018”. He said his goal was to murder “twenty people with an AR-15 and a couple of tracer rounds…it is going to be a big event.”

The most chilling part of this video was when the disgusting mongrel said, “When you see me on the news, you’ll all know who I am. (laughs) you’re all going to die.”

This is the exact attention these perpetrators are looking for, and they will do whatever it takes to get news coverage, which is why it needs to stop. But just because we should not mention the name or show the faces of these terrible human beings does not mean we should not cover the event.

Without coverage of these tragic events, we are turning a blind eye to the blatant hatred in this country. It is the job of journalists, and citizens alike to not only draw attention to these events, but to use that information to fight back against these disgusting and hateful acts. If we give these murders the satisfaction of publicity, that will be another accomplishment they can claim for themselves.

Instead of glorifying these monsters, highlight the stories of the fallen victims and heroes of these tragedies. Don’t utter the name of the previously mentioned Parkland shooter, instead cover Anthony Borges, a fifteen-year-old Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who was credited for saving the lives of over 20 students even though he was shot five times in the process.

Share the loss of Aaron Feis, a coach at the same high school who gave his life heroically shielding students from the onslaught of bullets.

For the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, do not give any attention to the shooter of this disgusting event. Dedicate stories to those who lost their lives like Richard Gottfried, Daniel Stein, Joyce Fienberg, Bernice, and Sylvan Simon.

These people did not deserve to die, they were just practicing their first amendment rights. The shooter who claimed to have American values murdered them and suppressed their voice which is truly, and wholeheartedly, unamerican.

Regardless of whether you believe the solution to these shootings is to eliminate the sale of firearms or have armed guards on every other block, everyone should agree that the people who commit these crimes are indisputably vile and should not get the validation of seeing their name in the headline of any news outlet.

I implore those who read this, do not present the identity of these murders, instead showcase the heroes and victims of the said tragedy. No matter if you are affiliated with a news organization or not.

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Mass Shootings in the Mass Media: What is the Right Coverage?