In January of 2011, I wrote a blog post on the shooting of Senator Gabby Giffords. I wrote it appalled at the evil behind a mass shooting. Shocked by the senseless tragedy and crushed by the death of innocent people. I wrote it because I couldn't let it go by without expressing my tidal wave of emotion brought about by a single madman. I sit here today in May of 2014, barely phased by the mass shooting that took place over the weekend. Saddened, yes. Disgusted, yes. But filled with a torrent of confusion and overwrought by the cruelty, no. Because now I know that there isn't a single madman. There are madmen, they are everywhere and they strike often.
What is worse... I think we are making them. When I wrote about Gabby Giffords and the 9 year old girl who died that day, I vowed to not name the shooter. To this day, I don't know his name. Or the man who shot up the theater in Colorado or the young man that took out the classroom in Connecticut. I don't want to know who they are. I don't want to see their faces and know their names. Be they mentally ill or just evil, I don't know. Its too late to know the whys of their actions, and to stop them. I want to know who they are when they're young and we can save them. I want to see them coming with enough time to save their victims' lives. After the fact, I don't want to know them at all.
After their evil deeds, I won't give them notoriety. I know the names of actors, sports legends, heroes and government officials. I know the name of people who matter (and people who really don't... Kanye and Kim... I'm looking at you). But, I won't let these murderers win by gaining fame. I don't need to know the name of a gunman that put himself on YouTube and authored a hate filled manifesto. I won't learn his name and I would like the world's media to try the same.
Would these mass killings still happen if the killer wasn't highlighted? What if this young man, now dead, didn't have his face, his video ranting, his pages of hatred spilled across all the sites, pages and news reports. What if we showed the victims, outlined their stories, their lives and their potential, all the while just calling the do-er the murderer, the criminal, the subject. Make him anonymous. Make him nothing. Make his face disappear and his tirades go unheard and unread. Make these people who plan to make others disappear, disappear themselves. What if we grant the fame and the glory to the survivors, the first responders, the heroes.... and put the do-er where he belongs.... in the dirt.