More police refusing to name shooters for fear of copycats
The sheriff detailed how a shooter armed with several guns walked into a Thursday morning writing class at a rural Oregon community college and killed nine people. He described how investigators found still more weapons at the man’s home.
But when it came time to reveal the shooter’s name, Sheriff John Hanlin adamantly refused, saying, “I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act.”
Like Hanlin, law enforcement officials are recently refusing to name mass shooters, hoping that not immediately identifying them will reduce the chance of their notoriety and keep their actions from inspiring others. SOURCE
Some have it, some don’t, some can’t even spell or define it.
This is an admirable effort on the part of Law Enforcement; sadly, the news media doesn’t have an admirable bone in their collective bodies and are not bound by any thought of human decency.
The old line in print news was *If it bleeds it leads*, meaning a bloody news story, one of a particularly gruesome or brutal nature, will be the lead story of the day, it’s the 1st story your readers see and the headline itself will draw you in some readers, new readers and your old crowd, they focus on the headline.
Let’s face facts; we ALL want hits and readers, mainstream media and the guy with a small time blog, we are all writing for the same reason in most instances, to get hits for our sites and to gain notoriety for ourselves.
But as with most things in life; there is a *catch*.
There’s little research to suggest the practice prevents copycats. And criminologists and ethicists worry that withholding names will make it harder to assess a mass killer’s motivations and spot trends that could help prevent future violence.
I have, on occasion, been privileged with information that I had to hold, I would have the story but due to the sensitivity OF the story, the subject of the story, the parties involved or the sensitive nature of the information I would be asked to not publish that particular story until there was more on it or its sensitivity had lessened.
I have NO problem with that; it is the right thing to do and once upon a time sources could ask the media for that courtesy and expect it to be given to them.
That is how you gain great sources, you protect their identity, you use the phrase *an anonymous source* or * a person not authorized to speak*, something of that nature, your sources were sacrosanct and as long as they knew that you would protect their identity they would feed you the good stories.
Every news source and blog in the nation was doing everything they could do to ascertain the name of the Oregon shooter.
I was looking for his identity too, I don’t believe simply using his name would provoke a *copycat*, but I do believe that details of his actions would cause some other mentally unstable person to try and emulate those actions.
I applaud Law Enforcement for not using the shooters name and by doing so denying him specific notoriety, but I don’t condemn the media or my fellow bloggers for posting his name as soon as they had it.
We all have to live by our own standards, but if you’ll notice, I have yet to publish the name of this despicable piece of garbage.