Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech. Very few of you, if any, who are reading these names of these schools do not immediately know the terror and carnage associated with them. They, and many, many other schools have one main thing in common: school shootings. Each one of these incidents involved one or more sociopathic and psychopathic personality-laden individuals killing and injuring innocent and defenseless people. Each one of them also, made the headlines of every major news organization nationwide for a ridiculous amount of time and essentially were forced down the throat of the American populace for as long as the networks could pad their ratings with them. But the same questions linger in all cases: Why did this happen? Why are more and more people prone to gun violence against defenceless people? Why are more shootings occurring in schools and public places like movie theaters? What is causing the increase in massacres and the spilling of innocent blood?
While there are many reasons and many answers which can be applied to these questions and concurrently many answers which apply to each case individually and not the others, at least one thing seems to be common in all of them: mass media coverage. Each and every one of the most notorious cases of public massacres in recent years have been publicised to an alarming extent. Novels have spun out of the printing press, movies have been written, directed, filmed and sold exploiting the massacres in either a documentary format or in a horror/thriller film genre. Profits have soared and the dollars have piled up each and every time these disgusting tragedy befall our society, and we, the consumer, are eating them up like Stephen King novels.
We watch the train wreck as it unfolds, generally tuning in at the first mention of “shots fired” as it streams across the top of the page. We gorge ourselves on the carnage, feast on the feelings of the loved ones gathered in mass outside of the building fearful for those still inside, and drink up every drop of the tears shed. It fills us. It sustains us. All the while packing in the profits for the blood-thirsty media who, honestly, could not hope for a more rewarding story. We give infamy to the otherwise nobodies who perpetrate these horrendous crimes. We indulge and reward in their fantasies of gaining instant stardom. We reward them. We give them exactly what they were looking for: recognition, substantiality, and meaning.
Though you might not remember the names of the criminals now, you knew them well for two to four weeks of constant air time. You knew their faces. You knew their parents faces, their friends, their neighbors, and their hobbies. You read their journals and studied their habits. They were important to you. And, at the end of the day, you provided them, and the ones who follow, their reason for doing such a horrible thing.
Before I go on, I don’t want you to think that I am blaming you and you alone, there are some serious psychological issues going on with these disgusting excuses for people who perpetrate these types of inhumane and monstrous acts of violence. Also, there were warning signs in each and every one of these cases that were often willfully ignored and unreported which (if the right thing had been done) could have saved the lives of everyone killed. I, am also to blame, as I too was right there with you absorbing the chaos and padding the bottom line for the networks and Hollywood. I bathed in the blood each day until i was drowning in it and, honestly and disgustingly, finally bore of it.
Do not think for one second that the hypocrisy of my writing here about how the media callously profits from these horrible tragedies and in-turn popularizes them to the point where it encourages more to follow has escaped; it hasn’t. I am fully aware of the mountain I have climbed and the pedestal on which I am now standing as I shout these words for you all to hear. However, my intent is not the same as theirs. Yes, the readers of my blog afford me certain income as my fan base builds and my readers indulge themselves on my tastefully typed telegraph, but I am also sounding the horn. Stop watching this disgusting play the networks are forcing into your homes before they help write the second act.
The unfortunate truth is that the media could not hope for a more profitable story, save for the occasional savory “Bill & Monica” style scandal. People tune in to see what has developed in the latest school shooting the way they tune in to see what happened last night on American Idol. And that is the problem: we are creating the incentive for the sociopath to execute such heinous acts against innocent people. We, the viewers, the ones who tune in and watch; we have blood on the tips of our channel-surfing fingers, and it is time we step up and start doing the responsible thing: tune out.
(Continued in Part 2, which discusses more about the history of school massacres and psychology behind the executors of these types of crimes)
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