Mass Murder Copycat Effect | The Media has Blood on its Hands in Florida

The Media has Blood on its Hands in Florida Mass Murder
The Media has Blood on its Hands in Florida Mass Murder

Arizona -( Another mass killing has taken place in the defenseless victim zone of a Florida high school in the Miami metropolitan area of Broward County.

The major media in this country has blood on its hands. They know that mass murderers are incentivized by media coverage that gives a form of immortality to the deranged killers. The pattern is clear.  Many of the killers are open about their desire for infamy. The Port Arther murderer asked his lawyer, again and again: “Did I break the record?”.

The media does not care how many innocents die because of their push for ratings and to further their agenda to disarm the population.

Once again, a disturbed teenager has become a copy-cat killer, following the narrative and fame the media has been pushing for a couple of decades.

These mass shootings come in clusters, as the killers are incentivized by the promise of fame the media provides, in their rush to push for restrictions on firearm ownership.

There are numerous ways the media can cover school shootings while providing little incentive for more school shooters. The media has been told, again and again, how it could be done.  Clayton Cramer wrote a paper on this in 1993.   It was published in the Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 9:1 [Winter 1993-94].  It won First Place, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Ethics Prize, 1993, Undergraduate Division.

The Copycat Effect
The Copycat Effect

These mass killings receive far more media attention than comparable mass killings involving other instruments, such as arson, automobiles, knives, or other items. The mass murders would be substantially reduced if the media followed a few guidelines recommended by Loren Coleman in his book, The Copycat Effect, in 2004.  The book details strategies for reducing incentives for mass killings.

(1) The media must be more aware of the power of their words. Using language like “successful” sniper attacks, suicides, and bridge jumpers, and “failed” murder-suicides, for example, clearly suggest to viewers and readers that someone should keep trying again until they “succeed.” We may wish to “succeed” in relationships, sports, and jobs, but we do not want rampage or serial killers, architects of murder-suicide, and suicide bombers to make further attempts after “failing.” Words are important. Even the use of “suicide” or “rampage” in headlines, news alerts, and breaking bulletins should be reconsidered.

(2) The media must drop their clichéd stories about the “nice boy next door” or the “lone nut.” The copycat violent individual is neither mysterious nor healthy, or usually an overachiever. They are often a fatal combination of despondency, depression, and mental illness. School shooters are suicidal youth that slipped through the cracks, but it is a complex issue, nevertheless. People are not simple. The formulaic stories are too often too simplistic.

(3) The media must cease its graphic and sensationalized wall-to-wall commentary and coverage of violent acts and the details of the actual methods and places where they occur. Photographs of murder victims, tapes of people jumping off bridges, and live shots of things like car chases ending in deadly crashes, for example, merely glamorize these deaths, and create models for others ­ down to the method, the place, the timing, and the type of individual involved. Even fictional entertainment, such as the screening of The Deer Hunter, provides vivid copycatting stimuli for vulnerable, unstable, angry, and depressed individuals.

(4) The media should show more details about the grief of the survivors and victims (without glorifying the death), highlight the alternatives to the violent acts, and mention the relevant background traits that may have brought this event to this deathly end. They should also avoid setting up the incident as a logical or reasonable way to solve a problem.

(5) The media must avoid ethnic, racial, religious, and cultural stereotypes in portraying the victims or the perpetrators. Why set up situations that like-minded individuals (e.g. neo-Nazis) can use as a roadmap for a future rampages against similar victims?

(6) The media should never publish a report on suicide or murder-suicide without adding the protective factors, such as the contact information for hot lines, help lines, soft lines, and other available community resources, including email addresses, websites, and phone numbers. To run a story on suicide or a gangland murder without thinking about the damage the story can do is simply not responsible. It¹s like giving a child a loaded gun. The media should try to balance such stories with some concern and consideration for those who may use it to imitate the act described.

(7) And finally, the media should reflect more on their role in creating our increasingly violent society. Honest reporting on the positive nature of being alive in the twenty-first century might actually decrease the negative outcomes of the copycat effect, and create a wave of self-awareness that this life is rather good after all. Most of our lives are mundane, safe, and uneventful. This is something that an alien watching television news from outer space, as they say, would never know. The media should “get real,” and try to use their influence and the copycat effect to spread a little peace, rather than mayhem.

In Australia, once the media there achieved extreme gun controls, it stopped the incentives for mass murder by shooting. Mass murder by shooting, always extremely rare in Australia, was reduced.

David Kopel, published in the Wall Street Journal, wrote about the copycat effect and Coleman's book in December of 2012.

The media cynically benefits from coverage of these events.  The media benefit from ratings and from the politicization of the event.  They use these events to further their agenda to impose more restrictions on gun ownership and use.  The restrictions desired seldom have a relationship to the mass killings.

Semi-automatic rifles existed in the United States for over a hundred years. Mass murder with them increased in the last 20, as the Media has pushed their narrative.

How much more blood will be on the media's hands before they stop using these events to promote their political agenda?  How many more innocents will be considered to be “collateral damage” in their push for citizen disarmament?

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 5 thoughts on “Mass Murder Copycat Effect | The Media has Blood on its Hands in Florida

    1. I completely agree. The notoriety & fame is a prime motivator for these killers. When I heard about the Rancho Tehama killings by Kevin Neal back in November (I just had to look up that info), I turned on the news & found no mention of it. I thought it was refreshing to not see nonstop coverage as we had been subjected to following the Vegas shooting. I may never forget Stephen Paddock’s name.
      We should not show constant coverage of these events. We should not be plastering the killers’ names & photos all over TV & Internet. That’s exactly what they want. Why do we give them what they want?! It only seeks to encourage the next would-be mass shooter. I heard one of the MSD students saying just this today at one of their press conferences- while he’s on TV on the news channels doing exactly what he’s condemning! The media & rest of the gun control advocates claim the NRA is a terrorist organization with blood on their hands, while they themselves have done more to promote this type of crime than anyone else. GFY MSM

    2. the media has never cared how much blood it has on its hands and never will .after their mantra has always been :If it bleeds it leads ! the truth really doesn’t mean anything to most of them.what does is that Pulitzer and the bottom line :how much can we make on this .

    3. Better yet withhold the name of the scumbag. Use the psychopath or the dirtbag or whatever. If they feel they have to use the name do it once, after the conviction, xxx was convicted of x murder or in the funeral notice. Take away the celebrity status.

    4. Yes, sir. The Media has long danced in the blood of others. The Fifth Estate is hardly the vaunted institution it tries to pretend. A rather sad spectacle with an unfortunately wide audience with an appetite for violence and the bizarre.

    Leave a Comment 5 Comments

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *