It has happened again.
Another madman goes on a rampage, and each time it occurs I’m left with a complete distaste for the era of the 24 hour news coverage of such events. That isn’t meant to minimize the tragedy, but it is meant to wonder what the coverage accomplishes.
I turned on the TV to watch the “Today Show,” but it was labeled a “Special Edition” of the show – “Massacre at the Movies.”
Sensationalizing something like that before the bodies were cold? If that isn’t shameful enough, that Friday’s “Good Morning America” featured a coffee table discussion about how the shooter was reportedly a member of the Tea Party, rushing to label him a Conservative. As it turns out, he was involved in the “Occupy Denver” demonstrations. I hate to break it to people, but most of these mass killers don’t wear an NRA badge and hang on the far right of the spectrum. Lately, they tend to be social misfits who cross all sorts of political and ideological spectrums.
Simply put, they are mentally ill people. This is what we need to understand.
I’ll say it again. We need to understand they are mentally ill so we don’t spend days and weeks trying to figure out what made them do it. Each killer is different. The Columbine students were bullied. The Virginia Tech shooter was a social outcast. The Giffords shooter was schizophrenic.
This latest madman is an introvert, we’re told.
Rational people cannot understand the motivations of a crazy person. When you have had people whose dog told them to go out and kill random people, trying to stop future events like this is impossible. Not just from a profiling aspect, but from a personal freedom aspect as well. Let’s say you identify a loner who has been acting erratically. What can you legally do about it? You can’t detain somebody for being shy. You can’t keep a person from legally buying weapons if they don’t have a record and have the money to do it. You can’t force the mentally ill to get treatment UNTIL they do something that warrants it. The way the system works is that people don’t get help until after they go berserk. So, wondering how to stop this in the future is an exercise in futility.
That doesn’t stop the networks from trying though. But what happens is that in order to fill the endless hours of coverage, the vast majority of time is spent on the suspect. His background, his recent troubles, his family, his manifesto (if one exists). They interview behavioral specialists and experts on mental illness. In all honesty, it would probably be more enlightening if they visited mental institutions and asked the patients their take on what happened, because the experts are still trying to make heads or tails on how to prevent the next attack.
In the meantime, the way most people will try to prevent the attacks is to overact. Some theaters will probably check bags before entering. So now you’ll take my hidden sodas, but still not catch the guy who leaves during the movie to get his guns out the back door. I sure hope we don’t make baby-faced ticket takers become armed guards as well.
You don’t stop these attacks, which is the dirty little secret nobody wants to say.
That would be too short of a newscast.