December 17, 2012

Media Coverage Rewards the Killer

From Jim Geraghty:
The one gun-control proposal I'm starting to think about is the argument about extended clips. The standard version of the Glock, the most popular handgun in America, has 17 rounds in its magazine. I believe in a near-universal right to carry arms for self-defense, but does anyone feel their ability to defend themselves — the guy working the midnight shift in a convenience store, the coed walking home alone, the senior citizen in a bad neighborhood — depends upon the ability to fire more than 17 rounds without pausing to reload?

Of course, an extended-clip ban wouldn't end mass shootings. But it would mean that every maniac on a killing spree would have to pause to reload at some earlier point than some past shooters have, perhaps giving other victims a better chance to overpower him or escape.

But in the end, we're still left with the bigger problem: young men who want to kill as many people as possible.

We have quite the well-established profile by now, don't we? Young men alienated from their peers and society at large. They don't have many friends; they don't have girlfriends; they feel denied some sort of recognition or appreciation they deserve. They respond to this with an emotion so far beyond the garden-variety frustration, depression, or anger that it's hard to comprehend. Oftentimes they leave some sort of note or e-mail detailing their grievances against the world. They decide that they're going to become famous and well-known in death in the way they never could achieve in life — and then a world that never seemed to care about their troubles or how they felt will spend a lot of time thinking about them.

I'm pretty convinced that the media coverage fuels these impulses in these young men, disturbed and full of rage and desperately craving some recognition of them, their potential, their pain.

John Tabin spotlighted this assessment from a forensic psychiatrist:

If you don't want to propagate more mass murders . . .

Don't start the story with sirens blaring.

Don't have photographs of the killer.

Don't make this 24/7 coverage.

Do everything you can not to make the body count the lead story.

Not to make the killer some kind of anti-hero.

Do localize this story to the affected community and as boring as possible in every other market.
And of course, each one seems to spur copycats.


HokiePundit said...

Some thoughts on extended magazines:

1. It takes very little time to change magazines. With a few minutes' practice, it's almost instantaneous.

2. It's not that hard to make a magazine, or to modify an existing one. If illiterate peasants in the mountains of Afghanistan and the jungles of East Timor can do it, so can most people.

3. Sometimes a person is attacked by more than one (or even a dozen) people. What would happen if a convenience store owner in one of the "flash rob" situations suddenly got turned on?

4. On what authority? Where does the Constitution allow such restrictions?

5. This guy killed women and little children. Once he killed the teacher in a classroom, he had free reign, whether it be with a 30-round magazine, a single-shot gun, or his bare hands.

TS said...

Yes I see your points. I'm more passionate about Geraghty's thoughts on media coverage than the gun control issue.

My initial thought on the Second Amendment is that it wasn't limited to hunting for food, but was also intended as a defense against potential future tyrannical governments.