58 people are dead in another of a myriad of senseless attacks on innocent people. And like every other time this has happened, we are all in an uproar.
It just goes on, and on. In circles.
Sure, we want change. Most people (I would argue) want to see legislative change on gun control laws. Maybe we want background checks, maybe we want mental health reform. “Tragedies shouldn’t be politicized.” “Without politicizing the issue, nothing will change.” There’s plenty of rhetoric to go around, and this blog isn’t the place to focus on it.
Instead, I have two goals that I have set for myself and I would love to see make their way into the world.
Stop Ranking Massacres
We get it. More people died in Orlando than any other shooting before it. More people died in Vegas than any shooting in modern U.S. history.
But do we continually have to build a leaderboard of deranged people for others to aspire to? It feels to me that we are setting a challenge to the next person to try and beat. Deaths of innocent civilians shouldn’t be a high score.
To go with the high score, we let the killer fill our airwaves with his name, his picture, and his story. We know the news cycle.
It is less than 8 hours before the killer’s family is interviewed, always shocked that something like this could occur.
Within a day, we will see pictures of their home, their childhood school, and the gym they worked out at.
By a week, we will be reading facebook posts they wrote, text messages and emails they sent, and even childhood videos.
And every step of the way, I can’t help but feel like we are giving them exactly what they wanted, and worse, exactly what the next person wants too. Anyone sitting at home right now, thinking they might want to do something like this, are seeing the attention they are getting, the stories being told, the spotlight cast on the previously-ignored.
So, please, stop naming the killer. Name the victims. Share their stories. Tell us their lives. Show the true damage wrought by these acts.
So please, individuals and news outlets alike, stop doing the things that make these kinds of acts seem like a good idea. Stop sharing stories that use the killer’s name and picture. Don’t click links that glorify death counts with words like “most”, “greatest”, or “largest.”