Celebrity Violence- the Sick Disease that Murders our Kids at School

Media Speculates After School Murders

U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- I’m a consumer of news just like you are. After each mass murder, the news media shouts that attacks on our schools and churches are a growing epidemic. “Experts” appear on the news and tell us to turn in our guns to make America safer. Once we read past the headlines, then we can see that the media might not be interested in the truth. We are building mass murderers here in the US, and the news media is complicit in killing our kids.

It is easy to blame guns, but that doesn’t explain why we have mass murder today.

Guns were far easier to get 50 years ago. They were also far more common. You could buy a gun at a gas station or at a hardware store back then. Children, even kids in New York City, brought their guns to school..yet we didn’t see mass murder like we do today. Many public schools even had shooting teams and shooting ranges on campus. The 1960s should have seen the USA buried in dead bodies if guns were the cause of mass murder. That isn’t what we saw.

The issue grows more confusing when we add in other factors. Mental health treatment is much more effective than it was 50 years ago. Despite what you may have heard, we know that mentally ill people who are treated are far less violent than when they go untreated. That should have made the past more violent than the present.

We’re told that mass murder is a recent epidemic. It is fairly simple to look at what changed in the last 50 years. We’ve actually faced and solved a very similar problem in the last few years. Simply look at the major reason mass murderers kill.

Mass murderers think they deserve public recognition. These murderers may be psychopaths with an inflated view of their own importance. Alternatively, they could be social outcasts who feel invisible. Mass murderers are willing to kill other people to be noticed. Sometimes they are even willing to kill themselves to be noticed. We’ve seen, and treated, a similar strain of this disease before.

We coined the term “celebrity suicide” to describe teenagers and young adults who killed themselves for the news coverage created by their death. They chose particularly graphic and public ways to die so their name would appear in the papers.

They were saying-

‘You didn’t notice me when I was alive, but you’ll know my name when I’m dead.’

We noticed the phenomenon of “suicide for celebrity” when the prolonged and sensationalized news coverage of a suicide would induce a cluster of copycat suicides. Under public pressure, we developed guidelines for press coverage of suicide, particularly teen suicide. (Specific guidelines are here and here.) The solution is straightforward; tell the news, but don’t mention the dead person’s name or sensationalize the story.

Journalists follow those guidelines when reporting on teen suicide..
unless the murderer takes some of his classmates with him.

The sales manager at a news station knows he can count on a ratings bump after a mass murder. A school or church attack is a journalists dream. We have clear victims and bad guys. We have lots of injured people being transported for treatment.

The news media turns the murderer into a celebrity as they publicize his name and picture for days. We feel compelled to watch as we imagine how bad the victims and their families must feel. The next murderer sees this news coverage too, but his reaction is different. The next mass murderer thinks how good it would feel if that was his face covered in the news with a billion dollars worth of press coverage.

That is what changed in the last 50 years. Back then, we had a daily paper and a weekly paper. Color television wasn’t common. Today, we have a TV in every room. We get several updates a minute on our phone.

Sensational news coverage produced this epidemic of celebrity violence.

The media says they are committed to give us answers, but they are remarkably reticent to look in the mirror. The solution to stop celebrity violence is to apply similar guidelines that we apply to celebrity suicide. Unfortunately, the news media is the first to report, but the last to change.

One group is pressing for these guidelines today. The guidelines are called “Don’t Inspire Evil.” Their message is simple and clear-

“Refrain from gratuitous or repetitious portrayal of mass murderers’ names and images.”

The major media hasn’t signed on so far. Each outlet is waiting for someone else to go first. They need our help to do the right thing.


About Rob Morse

Slow Facts

The original article is here.  Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob is an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.

  • 10 thoughts on “Celebrity Violence- the Sick Disease that Murders our Kids at School

    1. The largest (by far) mass school murder is NOT recent; it happened in the early 1930’s in Bath, Michigan. It did NOT involve a shooting. I am one that took a rifle to school in the early 1970’s AND on TWO different school buses. Up until a couple of years ago, our local high school had a bullet trap at one end of their football practice field. In town. No massacre occurred. Some of the staff in each district building are secretly armed.

    2. Journalism 101
      If someone says it’s raining and another person says it’s dry, it’s not your job to quote them both over and over. Your job is to look out the f***ing window and find out which is true.

    3. The key line to this story is this: Despite what you may have heard, we know that mentally ill people who are treated are far less violent than when they go untreated.
      Our mental health treatment today is atrocious. I’ve read report after report of the mentally ill being admitted and then let go once they were stabilized, only to have it repeat a week or two later. Before Ronald Reagan closed the institutions to save money, we would keep them and treat the mentally ill, then release them when they were better. Now we give them some pills and shove them out the door, as nobody wants to afford treating them. Yet somehow we always find money to build 13 billion dollar aircraft carriers. Or spend 20 million on a destroyer that cannot handle rough seas. I agree that the media is to blame for sensationalizing these events, but the trouble is with the government ignoring its mentally ill citizens in favor of buying war toys.

      1. @SuperG, The courts began promulgating the “… must be a danger to self or others” rule long before Reagan. I believe that it was the ACLU that was pushing the rule, undoing the work of Dorthea Lind Dix, and probably to help make America be a great place to live.
        When I first was in California, it was really funny to see all those people talking to themselves and other people that weren’t there. Now, with cell phones with head sets, one does not know who is insane and who is talking to their girl friend. I guess that the modern world caught up.

    4. The article is spot on but the author failed to mention that the 1990 gun free zone law provides the perfect killing field(s) for these twisted minds. We have given these murderers the tactical advantage with this incredibly stupid law!

    5. Obviously we need media laws not gun laws!

      If the media can not control their rhetoric Then I suspect there needs to be a law with large fines.

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