Since last week's issue of the Missourian, there have been three more mass shootings. Why are these shootings continuing to happen? It is possible that the media is influencing the shooters.
Forensic investigators have found that young men at risk of conducting a shooting are likely to connect with the shooters they see on TV. People allured by mass shootings often see the gunman as a hero, a man who came from being a nobody to being plastered all over media within a matter of days.
One possible solution to this could be to keep the name of the shooter out of coverage. However, one problem is that the media is spending too much time looking at the shooter's life and giving details about the problems the shooter went through.
Someone with the same problems, who is bullied or who is living a life similar to the life of the reported shooter will watch these reports on TV and see a way to make their life better. They might look at this person who has the same problems as they do, but the person they are seeing has become infamous and an anti-hero. The person might now see escaping the life they hate is as simple as obtaining a gun and starting a mass shooting.
Also, is giving the killer this much publicity the best idea? We understand the need to cover something as tragic as a shooting, though we may also be giving the killer too much attention. By giving them this attention, they are being talked about, which is something that a lot of killers want. They want to feel like they are important again, and we are promoting them.
Shooters will often post a video or photo about what they have done or what they are about to do. Seeing someone get the revenge that another person wants is something that can spark an idea.
We at the Missourian understand that there is no one way to keep shootings from happening, but there are actions media can take to prevent them from happening frequently. Step one is giving the killer less coverage. It is possible to cover a major story without going into unnecessary detail about the killer and his or her life. Keep images of the shooter out of media, keep the videos the killer puts up on social media out.
Media is a very large part of the reasoning behind multiple shootings, though we can not place all the blame on the media, it may be a very large part of why these mass shootings are continuing to happen. When we see a decrease of coverage on the killer, we could see a decrease in mass shootings.