OP-ED — Earlier today, we ran a story which mentioned the name and featured photos of the suspect in the killing of 9 people at a Charleston, SC church. At the time, the suspect was still at large and we hoped the photos, name and description might be helpful in apprehending the suspect.
However, since that story has ran, the suspect is now in custody.
From this point forward we will not be mentioning the suspects name or featuring his photos on our website. Attention is what spree killers ultimately crave. This lunatic even went as far as to leave a witness alive to tell the world about his atrocities. He made sure it was known that the crime was racially motivated.
No doubt, this suspect will try to use his upcoming court case as a platform to spread more hate and garner more attention. We will not give it to him.
We would encourage other blogs and media outlets to do the same. Do not televise this monster’s trial. Do not speak his name. Do not glorify his photo by posting it across the internet and the airwaves.
So what explains the apparent rise in mass shootings?
One theory is that certain types of killing sprees are somehow contagious. Back in 1999, four public health researchers published a famous study titled “Media and Mass Homicides” in the Archives of Suicide Research. They studied a series of mass homicides in Australia, New Zealand, and Britain in the 1980s and 1990s and found that different incidents appeared to be influenced by each other in a number of ways, often spanning many years and across continents.
The idea that one violent rampage might inspire another has given rise to plenty of articles and papers about whether the press should be more conscientious in the way it reports on these events. Giving a murderer too much publicity might be a bad idea.
This suspect is a nobody. He thought he could become somebody by taking innocent lives. We will not let him do that. He should die a nobody.
Instead, lets remember the victims and celebrate their lives once their identities are released.
The next time we mention this man’s name should be after all of his appeals have been exhausted and we are reporting that he is dead with a needle in his arm.