Columbia Mall Shooting

Evidence about the shooting in Columbia mall was recently released by the police. Since the investigation is ongoing I’m not sure why there would be a press briefing at this point, but so be it.

The shooter was apparently obsessed with the Columbine shooting, much as Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, was obsessed with the Norwegian mass shooting by Anders Behring Breivik.

It seems apparent that the notoriety of the shootings is partially responsible for later shootings.We know that there is a contagion effect for suicides in general. Wikipedia states

Publishing the means of suicides, romanticized and sensationalized reporting, particularly about celebrities, suggestions that there is an epidemic, glorifying the deceased and simplifying the reasons all lead to increases in the suicide rate. People may see suicide as a glamorous ending — with youth getting a lot of attention, lots of sympathy, lots of national concern that they never got in life. (referenced 3/16/2014)

If news outlets recognized this and acted responsibly by reducing the lurid, wall-to-wall coverage given to mass shootings, lives might be saved. I am not, however, hopeful.

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