I wasn't going to write about this, but a friend encouraged me to do so.
Maybe it's my Western America mentality. Maybe it's the simple fact that pretty much everyone I know owns a gun and is a normal human being. Maybe it's just that I don't believe in blaming inanimate objects for the behavior of people.
I don't believe that new gun laws are going to stop the crazies any better than drug laws have changed illicit drug use. People have done heinous things to each other since Cain slew his brother Able. Lizzy Borden killed her father and stepmother with an axe. The worst school massacre in America was committed by a guy in the 1920's who blew the school up with explosives. Horrific crimes are not new.
But they are news.
So what has changed? Maybe the thing that has really changed is the nature of news itself. Some evil nutjob who is planning a mass shooting is surely thinking about how "famous" he will become. Twitter will explode with tales of what he did, Facebook will be on fire, and he will be on every internet news page, television news cast and on the front page of every publication in America. Maybe even the world! Reporters will swarm over the town and take pictures of terrified people, grief-stricken people, and bullet-strewn crime scenes. More spurious fame for the shooter.
Fear of the death penalty clearly doesn't enter into their thinking, since they all seem to kill themselves, or at least try to. What if doing such a thing meant that no one would ever speak your name again? What if every image of you was erased from the memory of the world and you would be immediately and willfully ignored and forgotten by everyone? What if no one was going to swarm your neighbors and family members to get their take on why you did it?
Yeah, I know. A tragedy like this most recent one is news, and of course the media must report on it. What if we reported news differently? What if reporters were respectful and didn't snap, AND SELL, pictures of crying children, screaming parents, sobbing people? What if a text-only report came out, reporting only the necessary facts, and it didn't become a free-for-all of sensationalism? What if the victims and their families were given the privacy to deal with all of this without being hounded by reporters, photographers and thrill seekers?
If we subtracted the SPLASH factor from such horrific acts, would that take away their desire to do it?