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Web letter by Dan Drake: Stop massacres by stopping publicity for shooters

Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary last month, the papers have been full of ideas for preventing its happening again. Of course, the first cry heard was to control gun ownership. Next, came suggestions to place armed guards in all schools and/or arm the teachers themselves. Then came news of a company making armored backpacks for the kids.

The first idea attempts to deal with the tools used in an attack. The rest try to deal with an attack as it occurs. I think it would be more useful to try to remove the motivation for such attack in the first place.

What would motivate a human being to commit such a horrendous act? Unfortunately, we have several examples to study to look for similarities. For the most, these acts are carried out by one or two youths who are not part of mainstream society and have trouble interacting with others. In Wikipedia articles, you will find the perpetrators described as:

Sandy Hook Elementary: “uncomfortable in socializing” “no close friends.”

Aurora, Colo. movie theater: “bizarre” “freaky.”

Columbine: “victim of bullying” “depressive” “psychopath.”

Virginia Tech: “shy, frail” “wary of contact.”

In most cases, these people planned to die after shooting as many people as they could. In other words, they were making a statement. They knew they would never be successful in life, so they planned to arrange it so they would be remembered in death. And it works. Their faces and names are on everyone’s minds. Their lives are examined and reported on for weeks. Go online and their names and lives are detailed forever. In short, they have received the fame and recognition in death that they could never hope for in life.

Recognition is the tool to help stop these attacks. Remove the recognition and you remove the motivation. Stop identifying the people who commit this type of act. Do not publish reports on their names and their families. Don’t waste time trying to tell their story; these scum aren’t worth it. If they are reported only as a “white male, age xx,” you have removed the recognition and the motivation. Why kill a bunch of people and then die if nobody knows it was you? It is a simple plan that costs nothing to implement and if it stops only one person from committing such an act, it will be well worth the effort.

Oh wait. This idea is foolish because it requires the U.S. media to act in a responsible manner. That will never happen. Never mind.

DAN DRAKE

Roanoke

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