We have to stop making mass murders famous

By BARBARA ANNE GREENE

Take a moment to think back to the Boston marathon bombings. Whose face did you picture? Now go back to Columbine High School massacre. Pretty sure for most of us, the first faces that came to our minds were those of the killers. For some of us, we can even remember their names.
Now try to remember the faces and names of the victims. Not as easy. That is the point.
We have a tendency in this country to make celebrities out of the killers. Not on purpose, but the result is the same. Take the most recent murderer in South Carolina. His face and name are all over the place. Why? He was caught; it’s not like we have to be on the lookout for him.
When a post on Facebook notified people that he had been caught, I took it, scribbled out his face and his name before sharing it. He has no business getting famous. NONE. Sure, we can talk about him and the signs that may have suggested he might do this horrendous thing. This can help us look for those signs in others. But his name and face are not important.
Go back to Columbine. After the murder, a lot came out about those boys’ behavior that should have clued people there was a problem. So why can’t we share those warning signs without making the killers famous?
As I recall in some other mass shootings, notes were found where the killer made statements about how doing the crime was going to make them notorious. That should have been a warning sign to us that there are some people who are disturbed enough to watch the media coverage and want it for themselves.
The day of the South Carolina killings, I wrote to all the national news media as well as news type TV shows like Insider, The Today Show, etc. I asked them to take a stand. To show the faces of the victims and their names, but not that of the killer. Did they listen? Not totally, but some did a better job of not saying his name over and over as well as spending a lot of air time on letting us get to know the victims.
We need to take a stand. We need to turn away from the media that makes celebrities out of stone cold killers. We need to write, call, email, Twitter or Facebook them all and say we will not watch, listen to or read them if they continue coverage the way that it is. Will this stop all the violence? No. Is it the right thing to do? Yes.