Identifying Killers Can be Overdone but is Sometimes Needed


What does obscuring killers’ faces really accomplish — besides virtue signaling and looking stupid, to boot?

U.S.A. – -( “Should media avoid naming the gunmen in mass shootings?” an Associated Press follow-up on the New Zealand mosque murders asks. “Criminologists who study mass shootings say the vast majority of shooters are seeking infamy and soak up the coverage as a guide.”

It’s nice to see our “news” organizations finally catching up. Gun owner rights advocates have been pleading the case to tone down “gratuitous” publicizing for years. And it’s also not lost on those tuned in to such things that the term “gunmen” is a way for those with an agenda and wide reach to disparage both guns and men.

I confess to mixed motivations over naming names.

The latest maniac, in his “manifesto”, dismissed notoriety as one of his goals, writing:

Q: Did you carry out the attack for fame?

No, carrying out an attack for fame would be laughable…

I don’t know if that holds true for all, but the point is none of us has conclusive information to state with certainty how prevalent the desire for media “immortality” among killers is. Without those who argue otherwise documenting how they “know” their thesis is true, all we have are their subjective opinions.

Making feelings-based conclusions is what gun-grabbers do, and suppressing information — even (especially) if it’s ugly — does not serve the interests of the truth.

Without the ability to check what we are being told for ourselves, we are dependent on what “authorities” pass on to the “Authorized Journalists” to parrot. Unfortunately, social media sites are generally quick to join in the scrubbing, but that doesn’t happen instantly and there’s often a window of opportunity to see what our own unfiltered research can uncover.

If all the public can learn is what is decided by the government and establishment press to tell them, the meme that the murderer was a Trump-supporting conservative would go unchallenged. We’d have no way to learn anything about the killer that contradicts their “right-wing’ narrative, such as:

“I mostly agree with Sir Oswald Mosley’s views and consider myself an Eco-fascist by nature. The nation with the closest political and social values to my own is the People’s Republic of China.”

But don’t expect to see a “Commie Killer Exploits Gun-Free Zone for Bloodbath” headline on CNN.

His ideological “mentor” Mosley was a genuine fascist, not one of the people who believe in individual liberty that Antifa, and increasingly, “progressive” (national socialist) Democrats, smear with that insult. So it’s hardly surprising the New Zealand killer disparaged what he called “the myth of the individual.”

That’s what the Bill of Rights is about.

As I said, I have mixed feelings about withholding names and I don’t disagree with the “gratuitous” qualifier our friends recommend. I have even with held photos and names myself on occasion when they were widely available else and their inclusion was not necessary for the information I wished to convey.

In this case, it’s not gratuitous to post the “suspect’s” name, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, and the name of his manifesto, “The Great Replacement.” These are relevant for two reasons: To dispel the lies, and also to be able to search for the rapidly-disappearing video of the slaughter in progress. While extremely disturbing to watch, a gun owner with even a modest level of training will be able to identify numerous times when an armed defender would have had a chance to drop the monster in his tracks and stop the killing.

That needs to be part of the general discussion. But it won’t be. Such talk will be limited to advocacy sites with nowhere near the reach of major networks, and chances are many of your friends, relatives and neighbors will never know unless you tell them and share reports they’ll never get.

Also see: ‘Restrictive’ New Zealand Gun Laws Useless at Stopping Mosque Massacres

About David Codrea:David Codrea

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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Often wondered if the Deep State government bad actors could be “nudging” already mentally marginal subjects into conducting these mass shootings. But, Naw, our government never would do anything like that. Nor would they……use the IRS to confound Conservative efforts; run guns to Mexico to blame American gun dealers and gun laws; obtain false FISA warrants using fake dossiers to spy on a Presidential candidate and then use same to attempt to unseat a duly elected President; suppress and kill investigations and charges against an ex-FLOTUS/SOS for selling American atomic material/tampering with DNC election process/making secret government information available to… Read more »

Timothy Votaw


Deplorable Bill

Years ago, when I was in the Army and Reagan was president the idea was to NOT give terrorism any publicity. Most have never heard of the bombing in Munich in October of 1980, the capture of Gen Dossier and the attack on the commander of N A T O in Sept of 81, yet they all happened. Yes they were all dealt with. Those and many, many more. Terrorists love the news and any other way they can flaunt their evil work. Their brand of evil exists and happens daily and one of the reasons that most people get… Read more »

Timothy Votaw

Another excellent comment. Encouraging to see some cogent, sensible and articulate posts here. It raises the credibility of Ammoland, vs. some of the discordant, poorly-written and even more poorly spelled rants that show up here. Thank you for that improvement. And you also are spot on.


It does seem to be the case that as the early school shootings occurred, at least some of the later ones were indeed “copy cat” events. But then I wonder whether the students who followed the earlier patters did so entirely on their own initiative, or were perhaps “encouraged” by some nefarious third party. If our government gave us Fast and Furious, which, to this day has never been examined but is one of the most egregious violations of law, ethics, morality, ever, what else can they have been giving us of late. A slightly deeper examination of the details… Read more »

Timothy Votaw


Roy Payne

If, after the shooting, this man had escaped, his face would be on every newscast so that people could identify him is they came upon him.

But once he’s caught and in jail, they refuse to show his face? Where’s the sense in that? You can do a google search and come up with pics of him


It goes beyond imagery of the face and aftermath of these muderer’s. Much of the problem is the sensationalized reporting that the media continues to writhe off from. They may claim American’s want the glorification of such tragedies, but I don’t believe that’s true. Young people and the mentally unstable will find this type of news as a way of seeking attention, and it will give them a forum. It’s Human nature. Just as banning guns is going to allow organized crime to predate on the law abiding, and begin the rise of a police state in the US. We… Read more »


I believe the public should know as much about these criminals as possible. They should not be sensationalized but their info should be out there.


I don’t have any proof one way or the other about the copy-cat issue. However, I do not think it serves any purpose at all for the name and the face of perpetrators of mass killings to be revealed in the media. I do think that references to the act should be called “murder” or “murderer” because that is what was done. If investigation indicates that the murder was race or hate motivated then just that should be indicated. Manifestos or other justifications for the murder should not be released because they might feed or incite other murderous acts and… Read more »

Sean Mallory

Hiding these names and manifestos does nothing but help protect the government and allows them to lie even more.

Bill in ILL

Exactly Sean!

Timothy Votaw

You make a good point. I learned during my career that the term “right to know” has been taken hostage by the media, and used as a club against agencies and departments to divulge what frankly are vicarious attempts to get the “scoop”, for their damned ratings. The value to readers or viewers of names, origins, etc. is negligible. Particulars about the crime, what is important to learn about the motivation, etc. are what should matter.