Will Focusing on ‘Contagion Effect’ Reduce Mass Shootings?

Hyperbole aside, a deadly contagion is not characterized by isolated, statistically rare incidents. (Tableau de Michel Serre (1658-1733) représentant l'hôtel de ville de Marseille pendant la peste de 1720. Robert Valette This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.)

U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “One mass shooting can inspire another, leading to a cluster of shootings in quick succession as like-minded individuals are spurred to action,” The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, quoting Northeastern University professor and “mass killings” scholar James Alan Fox “It plays right into the mindset of a few people who would love to replicate that in their own community. There is a contagion effect.”

That sentiment enjoys widespread agreement, both in terms of cause and solution.

“We know that mass shootings are socially contagious and tend to occur in clusters,” NBC News quotes criminology professor Jillian Peterson.

“Media platform could affect violence,” ABC 17 weighs in, quoting journalism professor Katherine Reed.

“How the media can fight mass shootings: Don’t mention killers by name,” The Los Angeles Times offers.

The agreement is not just confined to the DSM. So-called “conservative media” has joined the “contagion” chorus.

“Back-to-back mass shootings highlight ‘contagion' effect,” WND.com echoes, citing “a 2015 peer-reviewed study titled ‘Contagion in Mass Killings and School Shootings,’ published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE.”

“Identify the terrorism by name, but not its perpetrators,” Townhall recommends.

Even the National Rifle Association agrees, citing numerous other studies. Those aren’t hard to come by, as a simple Google search produces links to articles with titles from the American Psychological Association, the National Institutes of Health, and others.

And Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership has been promoting its “Don’t inspire evil” initiative and gaining allies along the way. I agree with JPFO’s admonition to “Refrain from gratuitous or repetitious portrayal of mass murderers' names and images,” by the way, and have even followed that advice myself on occasion.

Ever the contrarian, though, my concern is that in our earnestness to not inspire evil we don’t unwittingly protect and enable it. And I’m not comfortable embracing the same rationales that are used to hyperbolize and demonize gun ownership: treating it as a public health “pathogen” and forcing changes on the behavior of all due to the aberrance of a few.

I am skeptical that anyone evil and deranged enough to commit mass murder won’t just be triggered by something else, and in any case, there is no way that everyone who comments on the news will ever agree to act in unison. And while the keyword JPFO uses is “gratuitous,” the horse is already outside the barn.

By NOT identifying the mutant, we are dependent on what “officials” and their approved media megaphones tell us, cutting off independents from doing their own fact checks. If anything, I'd like to see the perps' social media sites and everything about them left up so we can see for ourselves the mindset they had and from what ideologies they sprang, instead of what we see happening with increasing frequency – those accounts are taken down before the names of the killers are even released.

While some will argue that shouldn’t matter, political sentiments, even when they involve an unjustified stretch, are used to great effect by would-be totalitarians and their useful idiot followers.

All you need to do is look at how the Democrats and the gun-grabbers (but I repeat myself) are screaming about “white nationalists” being the engine for the Trump machine in their El Paso blood dance. Just look at MSNBC headlines like “Will Trump recognize existence of ‘white supremacist terrorism'?” and “'Jesus Christ, of course he's racist': Beto O'Rourke says Trump's open racism is an ‘invitation to violence'.” Then ask yourself why despite even “left-wing” Snopes admitting it’s “true” that  MSNBC won’t tell you the Dayton monster was “a pro-Satan leftist who ‘supported Elizabeth Warren.’”

In any case, such measures taken after the deed is done do nothing to deter future acts of evil, nor to stop them in progress. Nor do after-the-fact concessions on further citizen disarmament orders, something our president and “bipartisan” Republicans are leaning toward with renewed talk about “extreme risk protection” edicts.

You’d think they’d get a clue from Ohio Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown, who told Face the Nation he “wouldn’t start” with those and then demanded Trump sign an “assault weapon ban.” You’d think they’d take a hint from Nancy Pelosi’s “slippery slope” admission.

You’d think they’d make the connection from recent admissions about the Parkland degenerate, known to be such a threat he was searched every day by his school for weapons. You’d think they’d finally recognize that some people are broken and can’t be fixed, and after receiving full due process (not the fake “red flag” kind) be kept away from the general populace.

You’d think they’d grok that, in El Paso and in Dayton, what stopped the killing rampages were men protecting themselves and others with guns.

So yeah, when it makes sense, minimize gratifying the notoriety cravings of a handful of reptiles because it’s the decent thing to do. Just let’s not kid ourselves that this will have any meaningful impact on future incidents in a society that denies what’s really needed, or that it will keep those who would control us from blaming you and me and demanding we be disarmed when they happen again.


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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    Wild BillConsiderthisDave in Fairfaxout4troutOldvet Recent comment authors
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    Dave in Fairfax
    Editor
    Dave in Fairfax

    Considerthis, I like the way you think. I come from a long line of chess players, some Grand Masters among them. Misdirection and endgame are always among my considerations. There is always the possibility that this is an attempt to shift guilt form the person to the tool, but I discount that since the tools has been vilified all along. The media has been publicizing the names of the shooters and blaming the tool to a greater degree than the user. There has been little to no push to fix mental health or identify potential shooters, other than to take… Read more »

    Considerthis
    Member
    Considerthis

    Thank you Dave for considering my last post. Thank you much for stating that you like the way I think. This post may change your mind. I see , hear and read so much supporting this no-naming concept I really feel like a very small minority within our gun community looking for logic. If we re-read the last paragraph of Mr. Codrea’s piece ( who I have nothing but the highest respect for ) it kind of sounds to me like he’s saying – well o.k. , but don’t expect it will really work. This is a pithy problem. If… Read more »

    Dactylographer
    Member
    Dactylographer

    “Contagion” merely plays into the progressive agenda…play it as “gun violence” and make it a “public health” issue. Anonymity for murderers? Let us just erase history, yet another favored progressive action. Next, shall we erase the names of Mao, Stalin, Hitler, and thousands of other evil faces throughout history?

    Dave in Fairfax
    Editor
    Dave in Fairfax

    Writer(or possibly finger painter), nobody was talking about erasing history, that specifically was spoken against. The idea is to make the people who do bad things blank faces. No Name, no exalted leader. Just another sick B—–d that was hated. Can’t celebrate a birthday that isn’t know. Can’t name your kids after them either

    JPM
    Member
    JPM

    The public doesn’t want to focus on “Contagion Effect” or anything other than gun control. Soros, Bloomberg, the Brady organization, Handgun Control Inc., and the rest of the anti-gun organizations and individuals keep repeating the same mantra every time there is a “mass” shooting (while ignoring the daily body counts in places like Chicago). Their repeated and continuous hammering of their lies, carried by the media, is effective as the MAJORITY of people (citizen and non-citizen alike) in this country today are well-trained sheep with I.Q.s bordering on room temperature on a cold day, AND THEY VOTE (including the non-citizens).… Read more »

    Zond
    Member
    Zond

    “Contagion” Well not exactly – copycat – far more accurate. The dilemma – find a politician who has the fortitude to stand for and legislate the media out of the propaganda business. The failure of those beating the drum for gun control is that eventually they will cause such an upheaval that the unintended consequence will impact far more than they ever imagine and it will be truly nasty. I am reluctant to go to this extreme but here is the very essence of what is happening NYtimes WSJ and all. If gun rights folks don’t employ these tactics they… Read more »

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    @Zond, your list is too long, too complicated, and too replete with undefined terms to be remembered and used. Recompute and give it to us in three sentences. Use Jeff Cooper’s Rules of Gun Safety as an example to go by.

    Dave in Fairfax
    Editor
    Dave in Fairfax

    WB, What he did was publish Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, the rules only. The Book is MUCH longer.

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    @Dave, I was contemplating discussion over coffee. But I can see now that my situational vision was too limited

    Oldvet
    Member
    Oldvet

    @WB…The way they ramble on they might be older than me .

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    @OV, there have been some long comments lately. The kind that a guy really feels older after reading all that.

    out4trout
    Member
    out4trout

    What Zond is laying out are the 13 steps of Saul Alensky that is the playbook of dimoncrats, progressives, socialists, and communists. You have to understand your enemy and how he operates in order to take effective countermeasures. The list is not too long. It should be studied buy those of us who support the Second Amendment so we can take action to refute the ;Left’s bogus claims, and positions.

    KenW
    Member
    KenW

    THEY, the socialist that are hell bent from “fundamentally transformation the United States” need these shootings to further THEIR agenda. To achieve THEIR goal the need to confiscate our guns. The media covers these incidents with 24/7 repetitive news cycles, when all they need to do is report it. Now I’m referring to reporting on the actual event, but after the situation is secured they bring in this talking head and that one and it goes on and on. Three hours later they are still showing the same clips we saw from the beginning. But when in Parkland there were… Read more »

    Dave in Fairfax
    Editor
    Dave in Fairfax

    3 hours later? Hell, 3 DAYS later!

    JohnBored
    Member
    JohnBored

    How many times did they show a cop putting on tactical gear in the back of a pickup truck?

    Jeff
    Member
    Jeff

    Exactly. In their hysterical coverage of the Marjory-Stoneman killings and the subsequent exploitation of the surviving students, the media gave the killer everything he wanted.

    More thoughtful coverage and toned down rhetoric is called for after these mass shootings occur. The shooter should never be referred to by name after the initial coverage, his picture not shown in any subsequent stories or broadcasts. Fact-based reporting would be a welcome change, too, but I digress.

    Considerthis
    Member
    Considerthis

    I understand those that think by denying notoriety to these insane murderers that others will be discouraged. I believe that is wishful thinking. Think of the most terrible killer of innocents of all time. Most likely you thought of Adolf Hitler. How many think that by keeping his identity a secret and keeping him out of the news would have stopped him or even slowed him down ? Isn’t it a fact that since so much was not known about what was going on that he was able to do all the damage he did ? Don’t we need to… Read more »

    Dave in Fairfax
    Editor
    Dave in Fairfax

    Considerthis, I think you missed the point. The idea isn’t to hush up what happened, just to deny the doer any fame. Most killers are not in the same class as Adolph. They are doing it for notoriety, not to “cleanse” their nation. Motivation is at the root of the problem. Deny them the notoriety and there would be fewer copycats. Adolph could have had his name, but not his deeds, expunged. People SHOULD be taught more about what he did, just not WHO did it. The result would be an improvement. No more holocaust deniers or 420 exaltation. People… Read more »

    tomcat
    Member
    tomcat

    @ Dave in Fairfax To go along with your position on mental health, I want to advise you of an article I read the other day concerning the practices of the schools in northern Virginia and the article named Fairfax. The article stated the schools there are promoting gender identification and there are several different genders kids can choose from. They can change their gender, at will, according to the schools. If this doesn’t breed mental illness I don’t know what does. Have you heard anything about this disturbing practice. It needs to be stopped and the perps put where… Read more »

    Dave in Fairfax
    Editor
    Dave in Fairfax

    I’ve heard lots of things over a period of time, some of it contradictory. Here’s a link that gives an idea of what’s going on.
    http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/articles/fairfax_county/fcps-lays-down-the-gender-identity-law/article_934ec356-4554-11e6-9875-ffbb12196880.html

    Considerthis
    Member
    Considerthis

    Thank you Dave for considering my statements. Did I miss the point ? Could be, I’m an old guy that has probably missed a lot of points in my lifetime. I wonder how many think there was no effort to hush up what happened in Las Vegas ? If some of these mass murderers were not attempting to ethnically cleanse like a Hitler, how do we explain some of these manifestos that they bless us with ? Finally, my suggestions in regards to the mentally ill were intended to provoke thinking about how a carry permit holder is treated as… Read more »

    Dave in Fairfax
    Editor
    Dave in Fairfax

    Considerthis, Most of us here are Old Guys. I had dark hair, now it’s white or MIA. I’m pretty sure that LV was hushed, I expect most of us think that. Far as I know, nobody’s gotten a look at the guns to see if the Bump-stock stuff had anything to do with it. I’m sure that a number of them, if not all except the ones with a work beef, were cleansing. My point was the names being published, not the deeds. Some of the losers might still do it despite not getting their “Due Credit”, but I doubt… Read more »

    Considerthis
    Member
    Considerthis

    Thank you again for considering my comments. The very first thing I stated was that I understand those that believe by not naming the culprit was a possible solution. I really do. I wish I could believe that it would have the effect many desire. Please consider this- What if this whole idea is a clever scheme to put less emphasis on the criminal and move everyone’s attention to the firearm.. If the name of the actor is not spoken , doesn’t this naturally move our thoughts on to the act and further to the tool he used ? If… Read more »

    Joel F
    Member
    Joel F

    I’ve been wondering lately if calling them shooters rather than what they are, ‘murderers’ is also hiding some of the seriousness of what they did.

    ras52
    Member
    ras52

    Joel F, you are correct, We should never call them shooters, they are murderers. We are shooters. Also hate the term “gun violence”. Guns are not violent, but some people are.

    Dave in Fairfax
    Editor
    Dave in Fairfax

    The only thing that the press needs to leave out of stories about terrorism is the names of the terrorists. There is no need to censor the news wholesale, just deny them notoriety.