Friday, December 14, 2012

An Open Letter to the Media, Concerning the Coverage of Mass Killings of Children

I've only recently heard of the disturbing news coming out of Connecticut, where a lone gunman seems to have killed 27 people including 18 kindergartners. This is heartbreaking, of course, and as details emerge I will be reading every one of them, just like many of you. There will be much made about trends, about gun control, about motives, and about much else to satisfy a public need to understand and learn more about something so tragic.

I would like to suggest to the media that there is a way that you can help.

I don't want to learn the gunman's name. I know that this is asking a lot, but I think the name and picture of the gunman should not be make the rounds like they always do. Spreading around the name and the picture perpetuates the celebrity of mass killings and at least when that comes to the killings of children, this should be denied the killer. I know that there is plenty of justification for letting this information into the public, but I feel that if we want to stop trends, this is the place where the most effort can yield the greatest reward.

I don't want to know the killer's motive. There's always a need to make sense out of these killings. But I want to make something very, very clear: there is never any sense to be made of the slaughter of children. It doesn't make any sense. Finding a motive and explaining to the public why someone would do something like this. Seeking and explaining a motive sends this message: that there are a number of conditions that rationally leads up to the need to go and kill a bunch of kids at once. There's not. Why did he do it? Because he was batshit insane. End of story. There is no logic behind it. It's never logical. Stop seeking motive. It's an illusion.

I don't want to read a statement that the gunman wrote. The most terrifying thing that came out of the Virginia Tech killings was when the press ran the killer's senseless rant in its entirety. Great idea. Let the nutjobs out there know that if they have a gripe and no one is listening, there's a direct path to getting an audience. Kill everyone. Right? If you find a statement by this bozo, burry it silently. Give it off to psychologists. Whatever. Don't make the public slog through the bullshit so that the killer gets to make his point after all.

There is no reason to kill so many innocents. Reason suggests rational thought. It's not there. There is no justification based on job condition, socioeconomic condition, or psychological state of mind. Report--objectively--that this was a total fuck that doesn't deserve to share the planet with us. Focus on what we can do to help each other through a time like this. If anything. And know that we are all so, so sorry.


PG said...

Sadly too late. Not only have they released his name, they initially misidentified him as his brother. In the rush to be first they forgot about getting it right.

So sad. Hug 'em tight tonight.

Miranda said...

I agree with you 100 percent! We shouldn't know the shooters identity. We should be focusing on helping those poor families and figuring out ways to help prevent this madness from happening again. What difference does it make what his name was. He was a monster regardless. Nightmare. I hate that I have to be concerned about the safety of my nieces and my son when they are going to school!

Anonymous said...

I found your site in an attempt to give me some ideas about what to do with my cousins children, 4, 2 and 5 months old this evening as I will be their babysitter this evening. I am a 46 year old single man with no children. Your site has given me a ton of ideas of what to do with them this evening to keep them occupied... Then I saw this posting. I have been through this nightmare in 1998 when an ex-client walked into my office and proceeded to kill a total of 12 people that day. Including both of his children and his then wife. I still cringe when ever I hear about anything like this. It is incredibly difficult to seal with something like this directly. I am even more thankful that I will have another evening together with their children. These things happen because of crazy people. People close to them all knew they were a potential problem. I pray for their families. People that do this thing are the scum of the earth and more than anything... A coward. Thank God that today they can do no more harm.

Sol Smith said...

That's a real nightmare.

Of course, I keep thinking about this. Whatever happened to the stigma of cowardice? Is there anything more cowardly than shooting a five year old?

Of course, there's no reason. There's no rationale. Our world can be sick and terrible. Our only happiness and meaning comes from our own making and even our own children are not promised a tomorrow. Hold them while we can.