Thursday, September 14, 2006

If We Shoot Them with Cameras, Will They Shoot Us with Guns?

Another lone gunman shot up another school in Quebec yesterday. It's no coincidence that Quebec is a hot spot for these events - not because of anything to do with Quebec, but because of the large copycat element to this particular crime. When an area has one, they tend to get more. A person who is disturbed for whatever reason - mental illness, traumatic social problems - feels compelled to do something to change his life. Feeling that he's seen as a loser and weak, and finding no other way to fix his life, he remembers the sense of power emanating from the two boys hunting their classmates in video of the Columbine high school shooting, and so he too effects a homicide-suicide with maximum exposure. He knows his picture will be broadcast and his name will be remembered. It always is.

Anna Maria Tremonti dropped everything to be in Montreal this morning to cover yesterday's shooting for the CBC radio show The Current. As always, she and her team did an admirable job; the show was both insightful and interesting. But I don't want to hear about it. It isn't interesting in any meaningful context. It encourages other sick people to commit similar crimes. It increases the trauma of the victims. There is no benefit from the media frenzy over this shooting, and lots of downside.


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