By Natalie Foster, NRA News Commentator
There is a disturbing and tragically predictable trend that occurs like clockwork after every attack, mass murder or large-scale bloodshed in our country. Another face is burned into our memory, and another name is talked about around the world.
We become so focused on the person committing these acts of violence, that I’m afraid we’re losing sight of the big picture here. Sure, we see flashes of the victims and their families, but we can’t seem to get enough of the bad guy. It’s all we hear about. It’s all the media gives us. I can name five mass murderers off the top of my head but I couldn’t list five of the victims if I tried.
What is with this macabre obsession? Some talking heads in the media have even openly acknowledged this fact. But they’re so dependent on the ratings and keeping your eyes glued to the screen, that, well they’re not changing their news coverage any time soon.
Staying informed, that’s one thing. I mean, we need to learn about these people so that we can deter further attacks, of course. But when it’s all we hear about—when it turns into glorification of these crimes and atrocities, even profiting off these criminals? Well the media becomes complicit in the next tragedy.
Now it’s revolting enough when a pop star brutally beats his girlfriend the night before the Grammys and then after waiting the obligatory punitive period, he’s accepted right back in to the Hollywood scene. But when the surviving Boston bomber, who murdered and maimed hundreds of innocent people somehow ends up on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine … how is that OK? What are these people thinking? They know precisely how much power they have and they know exactly what they’re doing.
They paint a picture of a young man who looks more like a budding rock star than what he really is: a blood-thirsty killer. And it’s looking more and more like our societal moral compass is broken. We need to be shaming these guys not worshiping at their altars. This isn’t the movies this is real life, real evil.
And then, there’s the real question, right? With all of this coverage that borders on fanfare, are we creating more monsters? We know that the man who committed the Newton massacre obsessively studied the Norway killer and sought to duplicate that shooting. Are there other people out there taking note of all this media coverage and planning similar attacks? More people who want to be ranked on this list of the most infamous household names?
Without question, yes. And we’re fueling their desire to be bigger and bloodier than the last guy. We are rewarding these people with the attention that turns into immortality—exactly what they’re seeking.
So what are we going to be here? A society that focuses on the negative and brutal facts far beyond simply being informed? I’ll be honest; it’s a question I have to ask myself too. It’s a slippery slope. And we’ve got to reassess what we’re ingesting, and what we’re glorifying. The only way to get the media to stop celebrating these villains is to stop patronizing their product. Tell them they can keep doing this; we’re not going to watch their shows or read their magazines. They’re going to be selling their twisted product to an increasingly smaller audience. Because we are better than that.
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