By Megan Shuman
They released the name of the Umpqua Community College shooter today, but frankly, he doesn’t deserve a name anymore. Nothing that will celebrate him, make him stand out or go down in history in any way, shape or form. Plainly attributing credit for something that shouldn’t have occurred, that shouldn’t be glorified, but inevitably will be, is wrong.
The continued over-analysis of these criminals only heightens the attention they receive. Attention which some of these sick souls will find gratifying. Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin is quoted saying, “Let me be very clear, I will not name the shooter. I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act,” encouraging the media not to make him the sensation many massacre shooters become, because again, he is a coward. The sheriff is completely right. Our media is fed upon tragedy, because horror sells. It is often forgotten that journalism is a business. Therefore, sensationalism goes hand in hand with capitalism. Identifying and ripping apart the shooter’s life will sell, because we are all a little curious about the supposed taboo of mass murder. Yet we all flock to hear and see, consuming hate and disaster voraciously when we shouldn’t even given such hate a name, let alone the fame the follows.
As for preventative measures, they’re entirely misfocused. Instead of diving into why this happened, or what could have been done to stop it before it began, politicians, newscasters, starlets and the common folk are going to spend the next six months yelling at each other over gun control. Because that’s apparently the only thing that matters. Brushing past who the killer was and what made him this way — which I guarantee has a root back to societal failure yet again — this will only be fuel for GOP hopefuls, creating more mud for them to sling at each other at the victim’s expenses. Justice and bias cannot occur simultaneously, it is a decision we must make as a nation to make sure justice is served. We must make sure the shooter gets exactly what his crimes deserve, and not give him this recognition that separates him from every other criminal we have locked away. This sensationalism is misplaced when we discuss the shooter, and should instead be replaced with remembrance of the victims.
I encourage you to please, take a moment for those who have fallen, whether it be prayer or simple silence, so that they may be recognized and heard.
In the end, this tragedy happened. And there is no way to fix it now. We can only work together to prevent another such event from occurring. This is by not recognizing the shooter’s need for credit and fame, but by searching for the root of the problem and remembering the victims, not the killer. There should be no sensation, no grand media response. Nothing to celebrate or identify the shooter in any way, giving him that power and demented glory.
Because these shooters only the monsters we make them.