July 21, 2012

Stop Glorifying Mass Murderers!

By Patrick Mahan

There is a fine line between Freedom of the Press and irresponsible journalism. Dubbing the most recent shooting tragedy "The Batman Massacre" and glorifying the incident only encourages other deranged people in what has become a psychotic game of "top that" among pathetic losers.

I wish they would pass a law banning the media from publishing their names and photos because these shooters seem to be motivated by one thing ... headlines. The "breaking news" story is what fulfills their sick fantasy. And I'm afraid these incidents will only get worse as long as the media is allowed to continue fulfilling their fantasies.

These shooters seem to fit a profile... intellectual introverts with a superiority complex. A shy, self-centered and often paranoid person who thinks he's smarter and better than everyone else. He is someone who has set high (maybe unrealistic) expectations for himself and he wants the world to see how smart and powerful he is.

As the famous psychologists William James said, "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." But these murderers don't feel appreciated. They feel ignored. They want attention. But their introverted disposition holds them back and creates abnormal frustrations.

Eventually, life inside their "shell" becomes like a pressure cooker. Their frustration reaches a boiling point and they explode from their shell in a violent rage. They demonstrate their "intelligence" by planning a coordinated attack. And they demonstrate their superiority by destroying others. If they can't have the biggest house on the block, then they'll tear down everyone else's.

Another common theme among these perpetrators seems to be a history of rejection by the opposite sex. They are unable to establish fulfilling relationships (both emotionally and sexually) which challenges their masculinity. So, as a result of all these factors, they lash out against the society that has supposedly ignored them and held them back. And the media attention they know they'll receive is their way of saying, "How do you like me now?"

I believe a lot of these criminals have delusions of grandeur and actually start out wanting to be the hero. But society doesn't give them the recognition they crave. So, sensing that they will never be able to live up to the high expectations they have set for themselves—and feeling rejected—they take an alternative path... if they can't be the hero, then they'll be the villain.

ABC News consultant Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist who, as chairman of the Forensic Panel of New York City has studied and testified about mass shootings, said: "An angry and destructive fantasy graduates into a righteous cause that gives a killer the notion of greatness through destruction. The attention and notoriety he knows he will get further validate his choice to become an antihero." (source)

Dr. Welner has also suggested, "Mass shooting cases have the common motive of an attacker seeking immortality. They’re people who are unfailingly unable to form satisfying sexual attachments and their masculinity essentially gets replaced with their fascination for destruction." (source)

Ultimately, it seems these perpetrators are looking for a platform... and the media keeps giving them exactly what they want.

What are your thoughts? Would a "gag order" banning the media from publishing the names and photos of mass murder suspects help deter future tragedies... or would such a law violate constitutional freedoms?

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  1. Good for you Patrick Here is another person who is starting to get it...I hope this spreads throughout all forms of media. http://blogs.theprovince.com/2010/10/07/clifford-olson-no-adequate-punishment/.

    I also agree with Dr. Welner.

    Dr. Matt Logan

    1. Thanks for reading this post and leaving a comment, Dr. Logan. I read the article you posted above. Thanks for sharing. I hope the families of these victims will continue speaking out against the media's handling of these incidents so future tragedies may be averted.

  2. I agree. And if achieving world notoriety and infamy is part of the motivation, as it seems to be, perhaps it could be overcome by keeping the killer anonymous. Correspondents could still report on the shooter's actions and motives, but not by name. For example, John Doe Sandy Hook, John Doe Aurora, John Doe Corpus Christie, etc.

    Right now, it seems we're creating a culture not unlike that of suicide bombers… namely, carry out a mass murder, and your name will live forever. But by guaranteeing anonymity for the shooter, we can, perhaps, dampen the lure of committing such a newsworthy atrocity.

    After all, the press knows not to reveal the names of Osama Bin Laden's killers. Perhaps we could promise the same fate for those who kill mass numbers of innocents.

    1. they should also not give death tolls either.


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