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Posts Tagged ‘shooting’

Stop the presses. Please?

In Children and Family, Entertainment, Media, Opinion, Politics, psychology, sociology, Technology, television, Uncategorized on December 18, 2012 at 10:41 am


By Gery L. Deer

Following the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, I’ve debated whether to weigh in as yet another part of the media’s relentless armchair quarterbacking of the tragedy. When I finally decided to write about it, I thought I’d take a slightly different approach. Even though I am a part of the machinery of the American press, I believe they deserve a scolding.

From the moment the news hit the wires that a gunman had opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary, the press has been relentless in its coverage. Every media outlet has surpassed the necessary “news” aspects of the story, as each tries to scoop the other with grotesque detail, or by displaying the most painful tale from surviving parents and children.

None of this is necessary. As Newtown tries to begin what is certain to be a long and difficult recovery from these events, it has become a media circus. Completely oblivious to how invasive and unwelcome they are, television news programs are broadcasting remotely from every open parking lot, thrusting microphones and cameras into the faces of grieving parents and neighbors.

If the pointless commentary by coffee mug wielding morning show hosts isn’t enough to make you sad for the state of our news agencies, factor in that both sides of the gun control debate are using this awful event as a pulpit for their ridiculous agendas. Other commentators suggested the shooting would distract the public from the Fiscal Cliff debate. Apparently, the ignorance of such an unprofessional media just continues to flow. Politicizing such unspeakable tragedy is reprehensible and, for lack of a stronger word, moronic in the highest degree.

Additionally, when the media gives exploiters a platform, they are just as guilty. While the American press has the responsibility to report, they also have an equal liability to know when enough is enough and let respect and good taste outweigh greed for ratings gold.

No matter how many guest experts are interviewed or what level of speculation goes into the motivations of the troubled man who pulled the trigger, or even how many cameras are shoved into the faces of survivors, we may never know the real reasons why these things happen. Endlessly debating the issue on morning talk shows will do nothing more than provide a better plan for the next unstable loner to do it more efficiently.

As the days and weeks pass, the frenzy will die down and Newtown residents will be left to deal with things on their own. Unfortunately, because of the nature of this event and our country’s twisted fascination with mass murder and other horrific crimes, the families will be faced with constant reminders in the media, books, online, everywhere. They will have something in common with those who lost loved ones in the Twin Towers on 9/11. They will forever be forced to relive that day over and over because of the public’s sick thirst for grotesque detail.

From my point of view, this will happen again; not because of guns or some madman’s quest for power but because our nation aggrandizes the killer and the event. It’s likely that there are more mentally ill people out there who see an act of deadly aggression as his or her only way to get noticed and distort that undying craving for attention into an internally-driven martyr complex.

Those who guard our schools, theatres and malls need to be on the alert, now more than ever. Thanks in no small part to the media’s continuous exposition, somewhere out there, sitting quietly in a dark room, the next shooter is deteriorating into madness and admiring the mayhem of this most recent horror.

Make no mistake – I do not blame the media for the acts of a madman. But I do blame them for their lack of good taste and journalistic judgment. We are lucky to have a free press, but there is a point where complete coverage becomes blatant commercialization and exploitation of tragedy.



Aurora, Colorado: It Was About Madness, Not Guns

In Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, sociology, State News, Uncategorized on July 22, 2012 at 11:12 am

When tragedy struck an Aurora, Colorado movie theatre last week, a life and death drama unfolded before the very eyes of a horrified nation. A fun, midnight premier of the latest Batman film instead became a traumatic experience never to be forgotten by those who lived through it.

Covered head-to-toe in protective body armor, the gunman opened fire in the theater using multiple weapons from handguns to assault rifles. The Aurora chief of police reported that the man had colored his hair red and claimed he was Batman’s comic book nemesis, the Joker.

Accounts so far describe the alleged shooter, 24-year-old James Holmes, as a clean-cut, doctoral student with no background in criminal activity or predilection for violence. Nevertheless, he painstakingly planned the attack on the theater in every detail, from his booby-trapped apartment, to the careful selection of explosives and firearms.

In the end, more than a dozen people died and many more were injured as people desperately search for a motive. Some people are blaming the Batman films, particularly Heath Ledger’s version of the arch villain, the Joker, for inspiring Holmes’ behavior. Others are pointing fingers at the media in general for sensationalizing this kind of random violence.

As usual, it didn’t take long for the anti-gun lobby and the liberal left (generally one and the same) to politicize the horrific event in favor of their agenda. Arguing that further gun restrictions are needed because the shooter obtained the firearms legally is without basis.

Logically, someone who is capable of this kind of cold, calculated murder would have found a way to obtain what he needed regardless of the legality. Conversely, the pro-gun conservative assertion that the suspect could have been stopped sooner if more people carried firearms is just ridiculous.

If a bunch of gun-toting amateurs with over-active hero complexes had suddenly opened fire on the attacker the only result would have been even more bloodshed. It’s unimaginable why anyone needs an assault rifle for personal protection, but guns are not the issue in this case.

In the coming months, armchair experts will dilute and dissect the facts and anecdotes from the tragedy, each offering their own empty opinion of why and how someone could commit such a horrible act. But no amount of speculation will break through the facts in this case because they reside only in the distorted mind of the suspect, Holmes.

Short of post 9-11 level security measures placed at every public venue, there is little else that could have prevented this tragedy. The Aurora shooting was the act of a disturbed mind who, if not identified by some level of professional evaluation, would have eventually found some way to act out his violent tendencies.

In the movies, even a genius superhero like Batman is portrayed in his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, as emotionally troubled and bordering madness. But the end result of his violent, albeit not lethal, tendencies allows people to accept his methods to justify the outcome. Justice is served, and the bad guy either lands in jail or somehow causes his own deadly demise.

Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t work like that. Disturbed individuals do bad things. It is rarely predictable and often ends in tragedy. Pushing for further anti-gun legislation simply gets more weapons into the hands of criminals and limits defensive capabilities of law-abiding citizens, and even the police.

Instead, perhaps experts, not politicians, should focus on the more difficult task – dealing with the people who might eventually create havoc and death through such violent acts, regardless of what kind of weapon they use.