Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I could not agree more.

Go and read.

Thank you.


Matt said...

Good write up with which I heartily agree. I don't care much for using the term lepers and gnome as a euphemism for a person with a personality disorder that leads them to kill.

Lepers are victims of a horrendous disease and I don't recall them generally being violent killers. Gnomes? Really? Gnomes seem pretty harmless, subject to being kidnapped on a regular basis and liking a good vacation now and again.

David said...

All his points are certainly valid, but impractical. Attempting to get the media to behave themselves is a fool's errand. The one common factor which is mentioned, but not addressed, is that these events almost always occur in the unicorn-infested gun free zones.

There is no such thing as a gun free zone. They are only gun free until they aren't anymore, and then it's only the bad guy who has a gun.

The most practical solution to spree killers is to get rid of "victim disarmament zones," and spree killers and their fantasies can die right alongside those damn unicorns.

Critter said...

i read the original article yesterday and he's pretty well on with his points. the real problem is that most of this is known with LE circles but it clashes with certain political philosophies and is therefor not given a wide hearing. also, the instinctive reaction of media, if it bleeds, it leads, will be very difficult to retrain.

TBeck said...

How about a six-month waiting period between the event and the earliest the press can release biographical details? It would help with the investigations and jury selection.

staghounds said...

I have been suggesting this for years and suspect that if just one press outlet announced that it was policy to follow these recommendations, the others would get on board PDQ.

Not that many people actually want to read these killers' nonsense, the Journos just think that sells eyeballs.

Divemedic said...

That approach assumes that the press is there to improve society. They are not, they are there to sell advertising space.

Blood and gore sell. People like to see blood, gore, and revel in the misery of others. This is why there is a traffic jam around every accident on the freeway.

I can't tell you the number of times I have had to stop people from taking gory pictures of dead bodies at emergency scenes. I have even had people go so far as to impersonate being a family member in order to get closer to a corpse.

If it bleeds, it leads. That will always be the case.

Scott J said...

His points are valid but I think these points by Karl Denninger are probably more important.

I haven't checked into every one but every mass shooter I've paid attention to from VT forward has been on some flavor of these drugs.

I understand they are a Godsend for many but we need to spend some serious research time investigating why they seem to turn some percentage of their users into Reavers.

Matt G said...

We live in a society where making someone notorious means that they're famous, which means that dastards can get what they've always wanted: to be known and heard, and regarded.

KM said...

ScottJ, I understand, but it's been known for decades that treating depression is a minefield. Paxil is hardly the only player in this game. I agree that none of these drugs should ever be fast-tracked to market.

If the FBI/DOJ came out with guidelines and did the same thing they do with robberies -NOT reporting the amount- I bet it would do some real good.
Not that the media whores would follow them but if only one did, Staghounds wish may come true and the others might get on board.

Anonymous said...

I find this similar in value to the strategy for combatting terrorism that Dean Ing advanced in his first novel, "Soft Targets"....ridicule, and depersonalization of the perpetrators. The rule for terrorist events used to be that the perpetrators wanted a number dead, but a far geater number watching or reading about them...the same may be said about spree killers.
Joe Warrant

fast richard said...

This reminds me of the story "Very Proper Charlies" by Dean Ing.

Jerry said...


Thanks Tam

Brad K. said...

It might actually be worse for journalism that just those preying on Disarmed Victim Zones.

It might be that the whole tenor of journalism shines spotlights on individuals -- creating a need for others to grab the spotlights, to the detriment of contented living.

The reality shows, the "America's Got Talent" genre, the beauty pageant mess, these all distract industries of people from productive, competent lives. School sport programs have programmed lots of winners and team players -- with no clue how to support a family without boisterous -- or brutal -- conduct.

Gossip, a stable form of community monitoring that likely predates journalism, at least holds the "spotlight" as something to avoid.

One fairly stable form of culture, such as the Amish, doesn't depend on journalism, nor does it let selling soap determine their entertainment.

Perhaps the endurance of blogging is akin to the anti-war, anti-military-industrial-complex protests of the Vietnam War era -- a rejection of the propaganda of commercial interests.

The problem with a message of prudence in promotion-for-entertainment (mass "news" media) is that it doesn't lend itself to gathering wealth for anyone.

jim in houston said...

Thanks for posting this. Weaponsman puts up some good stuff; there's just so many blogs and such little time. Anyway, on the print media... a bit of reflection from an old (well, 55) newshound as the sun sets on print journalism. I came into it early - my favorite uncle was Metro editor of a small daily in Florida and when we visited on vacation I was amazed at the doors (back rooms to museums) he could open with a press card. My best friend's dad owned our small-town weekly, which I sold on the square in grade school and I wrote occasional articles for in high school. Also I was - still am - a voracious reader and some of my favorite books were anthologies by journalists. (Hands down, my favorite Mark Twain is "Clemens of the Call" which is a collection of his pre-Tom Sawyer San Francisco newspaper columns.) I was also fascinated by blue-collar up-from-the-newsroom writers Jimmy Breslin and Mike Royko. (Later, in the same vein, Miami's Edna Buchannan.) For various reasons instead of college I opted for the military (lots of favorite writers who had been sailors, as well) and while I took a lot of writing classes after the Navy it was never in pursuit of a journalism degree. Anyway, wound up writing for a really weird alternative weekly in Houston, got enough attention to be courted by more well-established papers and magazines. Still do some book reviews and opinion for the mainstream print media and a lot of my favorite people are career journalists.

However, I saw years ago that as a sporadically-educated former-enlisted blue-collar guy that I would never be a full member of the press club. The days of the gritty street-savvy reporter who started on the loading dock and wound up a columnist were long past. Today, and for the last 20 years, Breslin, Royko and Buchannan could not, as high school graduates who didn't need four years of college to learn to use a semicolon, get a job in the mailroom at a daily newspaper.

The sad truth is that for a long time the print media has been the dumping ground of the underachievers from overachiever families. "My brother's a lawyer; my sister is a doctor; my parents made me go to college so I got a C-average English bachelor's and became a reporter because I didn't want to teach high school." Which is why there is such a disconnect between the newspapers and the few remaining real-world readers... the folks writing the news have no real-world experience. And while I'm acknowledged as a fairly accomplished writer on the topics of books, the military, politics, food, and music I've noticed that most of the journalists I know have no idea how to relate to... oh, a submarine veteran who worked construction for years before becoming an urban-garden social worker. There's an odd notion that if you know quite a bit about something, you can't write effectively about it. Which is why so much of the media is viewed as anti-gun: it's not so much a bias as it is an ignorance.

A few years ago I ran into someone I had known as a fellow (different paper) city hall reporter, who is now a senior editor with a Northeastern daily. I gave her the above rant, lambasting her coworkers as ignorant, inexperienced, sheltered underachievers. She got a huge grin and said "Yes! And they are so arrogant about not knowing anything about the people and events they are writing about." Oh boy, is that ever true. There is an industry-wide mindset that if thousands of people read your account, your expertise is unquestionable... even if you sensationalize and simplify a complex situation you completely misunderstand.

Tam said...

@David 11:23,

I think your points are absolutely correct from a practical standpoint. The media is going to stay focused on this stuff because *BREAKING NEWS* is one of the few things they can do that gets eyeballs, and eyeballs are ratings, and the ratings are going to stay elevated for as long as they can keep the public's interest via navel-gazing over their anguished "WHY?" sessions.

The quickest way to stop a bad guy with a gun, trite and sound-bite-y as Wayne makes it sound, is a good guy with a gun. That good guy (or guyS. And gals.) can be already on the spot, or on the far end of a 911 call.

In a proper society, more people would be ready and able to defend themselves AND society on the spot, and we would ALSO stop giving these freaks the attention they so clearly crave.

Anonymous said...

Right there with the author up until "To follow Schulman's eight points would cost newsmen nothing...", when I mentally added "except their livelihood." The reason that "if it bleeds, it leads" survives is not because journalists are all crazed sadists, it's because their audiences are. Rolling Stone regained 20 years of relevance with that cover, and I'd bet that no-one here can recall what their competition led with that week. Either abolish the profession or reward it, but don't feed the journos from the table and then complain that they beg at mealtimes....