As many of you may have heard, this week there was another mass school shooting in Oregon.
The moment the notification showed up on the corner of my computer screen, my entire body was covered in goose bumps. The heading, which read “10 dead and 20 wounded at Umpqua Community College, shooter unknown” was only the beginning of the barrage of news articles which followed. “Shooter still on the run,” “Christian students targeted,” “Gun law reforms,” “Obama’s speech on Oregon Shooting,” were only a few of the titles which were continuously displayed on my screen. I’m so sick of this. How sad is it that when I was designing this project I was thinking that there hasn’t been a mass shooting in a while? How sad is it that the moment I saw the headline I knew this was going to spark a heated debate. Even as only a few minutes passed and the bright red headline shown across the top of my screen did the numbers shift. One news site said that an upwards of 20 people were killed, one site said the gunman had been killed in a shootout, one site said that 8 were missing. In the background of these articles were photos of young students running out of buildings, one of the most repetitive photos on multiple sites was a person who had been shot lying on a stretcher. It was dramatic, it was on the front page, it was shocking. As more information was found about the shooter it became known that he was obsessed with the fame mass shooters receive after death. Are you kidding me, I thought to myself, as his information was plastered on every news media site. This is exactly what he wanted. Kudos to the Oregon state police for stating that they refuse to refer to the shooter by name for his cowardly act. And to the news sources, do you not realize the irony in plastering this person’s name all over the web so they get exactly what they wanted? Who benefits from knowing his name? Who benefits from hearing his plans? Who benefits from seeing his disgusting face in a photo? No one. This needs to stop. I want media sites to see what they’re doing, what they’re encouraging, and what they’re upholding when they blast this on the front page.
I saw a great post on a web-hosting site that I’ll paste here.
It sums up my thoughts pretty well on the topic of mass shootings. We give individuals an initiative to become famous and encourage copy-cat shootings by doing all the things mentioned above. This is such an easy fix, and yet we continue to propagate news and exaggerate situations because news sites are selfish and people don’t even see what is really happening. This mass shooting made me realize all over again why I want to write a news article and why I wrote my open letter in the first place 2 summers ago. My project needs to be effective and needs to be informative because I need things to change. I want to write an informative and moving open letter or news article that addresses so many concerns in our society regarding media yet is research based and convincing. I want people to see it. I don’t want to write something just for class, I want to write for the public.