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Give Them Anonymity, Not Notoriety

To the Editor:

Like so many of us, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how we can to help prevent events like what happened in our town on 12/14. The more I think about it, the more I’ve come to believe that these people who perpetrate these acts really want to be known.  They want their names and faces splashed about our TV screens, so that, finally, even in death, they will be noticed. 

And they get exactly that.  The media loves to find pictures of these shooters and put them up on our TV screens, mention their names often, and delve into their lives.  They love to make them famous.  And the message to anyone even contemplating something like this is—yes, go ahead, do this, because even in death, you too will now become a household name. 

But make your crime bigger.  Make sure yours is worse.  Isn’t that what happened in our town? The young man worked hard, I believe, to create a situation which would be so horrible that he would be known to all, because in life, he was really known to none.  Rather than just killing himself, he needed to do this so that he would finally get noticed.

What can we do to change this?  I believe that we should, as a town, issue a challenge to the media. No more pictures of these shooters. Perhaps mention their name once, and then no more. Let the message get out that they will no longer be famous, but instead will become anonymous.  This needs to apply not just to our situation, but to any of these events. 

I was so frustrated with the situation recently near Atlanta.  The young man walked into the school with a gun.  In the media’s reporting, so much airspace was spent showing his picture.  One of the first things he asked for was television cameras!  This is exactly what I’m talking about.  The media gave him exactly what he wanted.  I really don’t want to see what he looks like or know his name.  I did want to hear about and see the hero who bravely talked to him and prevented the situation from becoming deadly.

I am very concerned that, as we will soon be getting the official reports from the police about what happened in our town, the name and picture of the shooter will again be front and center. I believe that does not need to happen, and issue a challenge to the media to make him anonymous.  We’ve seen enough of him, and he is not the important one.  The victims, the survivors, the first responders, and all the people who have done so much to help us heal—those are the important people.

I urge you all to join me in thinking about how we can make this happen!

Lynne Covill

9 Blakeslee Drive, Newtown                        October 9, 2013

More stories like this: 12/14, media, Lanza
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