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Mass Murder Media Reporting Template

"Ten people have been shot in XYZ city. In cooperation with other major news outlets, we're following specific guidelines about how this story is brought to you.."
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To prevent future mass murderers from being enticed by the instant, perverse, postmortem stardom they can get by killing a lot of people before they commit suicide, major news outlets should consider a template on how these things are reported. This latest nutjob was evidently star struck by the guy who killed that reporter on live TV talking about how he went from obscurity to "fame" over night. To try to limit the fame appeal to future killers, beyond all the details of the killing:

1- No mention of the person's name. (which I know has been suggested before) Descriptions can be given, "20 year old white male, 5'8", 170 pounds." etc. If it's absolutely necessary put a picture of the guy's face up, put a dark rectangle over his eyes.

2- A brief synopsis of what his motivation was. This is just a reality of the situation, people are going to want to know "Did he hate religious people? A certain race? Was it totally random?" But no reading of his manifesto, blog pages, notebooks or anything else he might want the world to know about from his perspective. Go over it and give the people the general idea. "He thought he was too clever for the world." "He was mad that nobody liked him."

3- Heavy, heavy speculation as to what a loser the guy was. Bring in the psychologists and have them talk about how the guy couldn't get a date to save his life, was awkward, had no friends. This is the ONLY time it's appropriate to tear somebody apart, after they've killed a lot of people and they're dead anyway. I would bully the hell out of this nameless faceless dead guy as an example to the next loser. "Wow, everybody just talks smack about you but nobody even knows who you are."

The story given to everybody should be "Nameless, stupid, dull, boring, unattractive, immature nobody kills a lot of innocent people." Nothing's being held back that really matters, it's the TRUTH, and new outlets have no problem putting a little spin on their stories, so there you go.

It's almost like you can go from nobody to superstar overnight. President holds a press conference about you, the flag on the White House gets lowered to half mast, everybody talking about you, your picture everywhere. I think the allure to sick minds that this provides really needs to be considered.

Sorry, ranty I know, but the idea is to only do those three things in the reporting.

doctorremulac3, Oct 03 2015

http://www.breitbar...-with-deadly-force/ [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 04 2015]

Shocking http://www.politifa...all-wars-says-colu/
enough to believe anti-gun nuts [4and20, Oct 05 2015]

Seems like the Auxiliary Police Force Training is under question http://articles.chi...nforcement-training
Given lousy state agency book keeping, apparently. [RayfordSteele, Oct 05 2015]

Other relevant articles http://www.wsj.com/...training-1429141610
[RayfordSteele, Oct 05 2015]

[link]






       I think it's humourous (for a suitably broad definition of the word) that everybody's squawking about gun control or lack thereof. The second amendment has existed unchanged for well over 200 years, and it mostly just ratified preexisting conditions anyways.   

       Why hasn't anybody bothered to check the school systems ?
FlyingToaster, Oct 03 2015
  

       I have long thought that this is what they should have done with terrorists from the very start.
RayfordSteele, Oct 03 2015
  

       Every one of them has been a loser, but whereas losers exist in every society, the broad emphasis on winners and losers is in fact introducing randdomness into a few (ok, mostly one) social system.
4and20, Oct 04 2015
  

       A BBC reporter made an interesting couple of comments when covering the latest school massacre. He pointed out that (a) all countries have their share of mentally ill people, but in most countries those people don't have easy access to guns; and that (b) the problem in the US is not simply the abundance of guns but the fact that people see gun ownership and gun use as a means of expression. Hence, in the US you have a large population of loonies who see it as natural to express themselves by large-scale killing.   

       From the outside, the US looks a little crazy in this respect, especially when a common response to school shoot-fests is "if only the teachers had been armed".
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 04 2015
  

       //I’m quite surprised the people who do this don’t broadcast it//   

       I'm not surprised at all.
pertinax, Oct 04 2015
  

       Although a US citizen, I have to agree somewhat with [MaxwellBuchanan] --but the real problem is, in my opinion, a bit more subtle. There is something MISSING here, which needs to be matched with the prevalence of guns. That thing is "gun education". There is lots of talk about when sex education is appropriate in the schools, and nothing about gun education.   

       While it is well-known that it is easy to use a gun, the message doesn't seem to be getting passed along, that it is not so easy to use a gun SAFELY. Which is exactly what gun education should be about. After which, see, everyone could walk around carrying a gun all the time, and everyone could be fairly confident that it is getting done safely.   

       And then, of course, if some loony starts shooting, it will be ended quite quickly. Every time. With minimal casualties.
Vernon, Oct 04 2015
  

       //Surely the whole point of doing such a thing in the first place is to make a point?//   

       I suspect not.
pertinax, Oct 04 2015
  

       //From the outside, the US looks a little crazy in this respect, especially when a common response to school shoot-fests is "if only the teachers had been armed".//   

       Well, "Nobody is going to like you unless you do things our way." is never a very convincing argument.   

       I personally think we should be in or out with guns. Ban them or do them right by putting them in the hands of carefully selected, highly trained citizens. By highly trained I mean the same training and vetting police get to carry a gun.   

       The idea's always been shot down but I've suggested before having a citizen police force, a "well regulated militia" where people have gone through all the police training necessary to deal with a situation like this but none of the other training a uniformed patrol officer gets. You don't hand over speeding tickets, you don't arrest shoplifters, you only shoot people who are shooting people.   

       There really is no intelligent rebuttal to this solution. It's simply saying "put thirty million highly trained plain clothes policemen among us." It keeps guns out of the hands of crazies, arms citizens in such a way that you have an average of 1 cop for every 10 people and makes violent crime in any given group a futile endevor. Any nutcase knows that the odds are he'll be quickly shot by a trained conceal carry militia member. And they're everywhere and free because the citizens pay for their training themselves.   

       But there's no money in this for anybody and it doesn't pander to our "Pick your side, solution A or solution B." tribal way of approaching problems so it's not going to happen. And it's got the word "militia" in it which is a word that's been tarnished by years of misuse in my opinion. Unfortunately sometimes solution C is the answer. I don't see a lot of thought being put into problems these days, only drum beating for "Our side."
doctorremulac3, Oct 04 2015
  

       //But we’ve had similar expressiveness here. Michael Ryan, as recently as 1987, and a few other people. If someone wants to get a gun, or toxin such as ricin, or explosives such as that which blew up South Quay DLR station, legality of possession isn’t going to stand in the way all that much.//   

       Mass shootings (and shootings in general) are very, very rare in the UK (or even France, Germany...etc) compared to the USA. And, as I pointed out, it's not just the ready availability of guns in the USA; it's also the fact that they are seen as normal, and are therefore a natural means of expression for people who are angry or just plain nuts.   

       The Swedes also have fairly high gun ownership, but the culture there is not so different from that in the rest of Europe - guns are "unusual" enough that people don't automatically turn to them as readily as they do in the USA.   

       //the message doesn't seem to be getting passed along, that it is not so easy to use a gun SAFELY.// [Vernon], I don't think gun safety is the main problem. About 30,000 people (half a Vietnam's- worth) per year are killed by guns in the USA, and less than 1000 of those are due to "accidental discharge".
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 04 2015
  

       So what's the solution?
doctorremulac3, Oct 04 2015
  

       We need a solution??   

       I think the solution for the USA is to stop expecting there to be a solution. As I understand it, the constitution gives people the right to guns; the arms manufacturers fund US politics via the NRA; and nobody particularly wants to change anything.   

       In any case, 30,000 deaths per year isn't a huge number compared to other causes, so it's not an urgent problem. It's just a fact of life, at least for the foreseeable future.   

       I'd very much enjoy having a gun, probably for the wrong reasons, but UK law won't let me. Again, it's just a fact of life for the foreseeable future, and I can live with that.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 04 2015
  

       Well, we could just talk about how it's a particular political party or organization's fault and the solution to this problem is the same as the solution to every other problem in society: having a one party political system where we put the people who are right all the time in charge.   

       Alternatively, I would just propose that we stop making things worse by enacting a small, free, non-legislative action that would potentially reduce the allure of doing this sort of "sensation killing" to future psychopaths looking for negative attention.   

       That or the one party system solution. Call them the "Always Right On Every Issue All The Time Without Ever Being Wrong, Not Even Once" party. They'd get my vote. Especially since they'd be the only party on the ballot.
doctorremulac3, Oct 04 2015
  

       Dr., the intelligent rebuttal to that line is that having a bunch of Wyatt Earp wannabe cocky gun-nuts and mall cops deputized after taking a class or two, as the market-efficient solution demands, and then all coming together and shooting at perceived bad guys isn't going to work out the way that you expect.   

       Vernon, even most well-trained people don't score that well in random threat tests.
RayfordSteele, Oct 04 2015
  

       You know that in the end it always comes down to bullying.
Some of you probably know just how close to the edge of snapping it is possible for one's peers to push a person to through alienation and torment.
Not that there can be any reasonable excuse for such actions, but unless someone is born sociopathic then they were 'made' into killers, and the motivation to destroy everything around you is not fame... that's just a perk.
They know the effect their actions will have on their families. They know dent their actions will have in the community which shuns them, and they know that they will no longer be suffering silent and alone.
  

       Until we can solve those issues... I'm kinda favoring Arkansa's point of view. [link]   

       //after taking a class or two,//   

       Ray, if you do both sides of the argument as you're prone to do, you'll win every time.   

       What part of "all the police training necessary to deal with a situation like this" didn't you understand?   

       I'll try again.   

       ALL the EXACT training a police officer gets. Background check, months of training, years of cumulative training and regular re-certification, monitoring by a central regulating agency. They're limited duty police officers.
doctorremulac3, Oct 04 2015
  

       //Well, we could just talk about how it's a particular political party or organization's fault and the solution to this problem is the same as the solution to every other problem in society: having a one party political system where we put the people who are right all the time in charge.//   

       No, I'm not saying that, and I don't think anyone in America is right all the time. It's _all_ political parties. The NRA happens to be a hamstring on any politicians breaking ranks, but that's only an exacerbating factor. And it's also the American people.   

       Basically, Americans want ready access to guns, and that is a collective decision, and they have that ready access, so that's OK.   

       What I _was_ saying is that there's no answer, and it's probably best to accept that. The number of gun deaths in the US is large in absolute standards, but small in relative terms, and it's not as if the US is underpopulated. Many more people die every day from cancer, from road accidents, from infectious disease and from heart attacks than die in the occasional school massacre (or, indeed, from all gun deaths on any given day), so why gripe about it? Tackle the bigger problems first.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 04 2015
  

       //Well, we could just talk about how it's a particular political party or organization's fault and the solution to this problem is the same as the solution to every other problem in society: having a one party political system where we put the people who are right all the time in charge.//...   

       YES, me.
blissmiss, Oct 04 2015
  

       Do you like guns?
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 04 2015
  

       //Tackle the bigger problems first.//   

       I agree Max, even though I was following your post, I was sort of making a generalization about the whole debate, my acerbic tone wasn't directed at you.   

       I'm just thinking there may be new circumstances like copycat killers that might require a new procedure, like minimizing this "glorified martyr" vibe that crazy people are taking away from news reports about previous killers.   

       Would reporting these murders differently help? I have no idea. Might be something to consider at least.
doctorremulac3, Oct 04 2015
  

       It probably would help a little, but to be honest it's not going to happen. TV networks are in the business of attracting viewers, and the channel that shows the phone-video of the gunman will get the most viewers. If all the stations report that the gunman was 5ft1 and impotent, one station will break the news that he was actually a 6ft2 white supremacist.   

       Again, it comes down to the fact that the people have what they want: free access to guns, and the excitement of watching the consequences on TV. Neither of those is going to change, and that's OK - a few thousand deaths per annum is not a big price to pay for a few tens of millions people being a little bit happier. What you can't have, though, is that bit of happiness without some random deaths. (Unless you're Swedish, but many people aren't. And in any case Swedes don't seem particularly happy.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 04 2015
  

       Just read that gun death totals in the U.S., starting in 1968, outnumber the total U.S. losses in all wars. Hard to believe.
4and20, Oct 04 2015
  

       Just checked and apparently that's true. Over two thirds of gun deaths are among black or Hispanic people. Considering that together they make up less than a third of the population that's a troubling statistic right there.   

       According to one article, of total gun deaths, two thirds are suicides. Supposedly the suicide rate is climbing while the murder rate is going down.   

       Anyway, there's nothing I can do about it. Getting on Halfbakery and bringing everybody down probably isn't doing much good.
doctorremulac3, Oct 04 2015
  

       //all the police training necessary to deal with a situation like this" didn't you understand?//   

       The part where it interacts with a market of people whom all want a gun, with a gun lobby that will push to make those classes as minimal as the law (as influenced by that same lobby) allows, the part where the fact that not everyone is cut out to be a cop or could pass the training, the part where the guns that they acquire are never found on any gray / black market for any reason or if they are what is done about that, the part where cops are given psych profile tests on a routine basis, and the part where they are accountable for their actions to the city and can be told to turn in their badge. Find some method of handling these issues in this fantasy land of yours and maybe I'll be sold on the idea.
RayfordSteele, Oct 05 2015
  

       4and20, source? That seems highly dodgy.
RayfordSteele, Oct 05 2015
  

       //source? That seems highly dodgy.//   

       Wikipedia lists number of US casualties by war, with a total of about 1.3 million going back to the revolutionary war in the 1770s.   

       Gun deaths in the US (presumably excluding wars) have run at about 10,000 per year since the mid- 1970s (I couldn't find data before that), or about 400,000 since 1975. So, a total of >1.3 million since the 1770s is not at all unlikely.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 05 2015
  

       If there's no possibility of introducing gun control legislation in the US to prevent unstable people purchasing assault weapons, how about really, really tight ammunition control laws, prohibiting the production, sale, import and possession of any ammunition? Then people could safely own as many guns as they want.
hippo, Oct 05 2015
  

       A top-down approach to politics is contrary to the spirit of representative government. As long as people want guns or ammunition under the current system, they are going to have them. To push against this only alienates the people and undermines any authority the government has in their eyes and invites civil war, coups, revolution. As for gun-laws or ammunition bans, there are a surprising number of rather adept machinists about, and anyone can raise chickens.

Also [Ray], I am under the impression that at least one individual at the most recent shooting did have his personal firearm but did not use it. After examining several incidents where a privately-armed individual did stop a mass-shooting, it was found that many of them were off-duty/ex police or military. The Bystander Effect is a significant deterrent to the OK Corral hypothetical you are worried about and it takes significant training to instill the reflex and confidence necessary to overcome it.
LimpNotes, Oct 05 2015
  

       Incidentally, according to Wikipedia:   

       "As of September 8, the U.S. was averaging 1.05 mass shootings per day in 2015 (defined as incidents in which four or more people are shot)"   

       So the latest one is just another dot on a graph, really.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 05 2015
  

       //Find some method of handling thise issues in this fantasy land of yours and maybe I'll be sold on the idea//   

       They already do this, the fantasy land where this works is called planet Earth. They're very common all over the world, look up "auxiliary police force". The idea can easily be expanded to have additional training given to specifically deal with mass shooting situations.   

       I know I had said if you do both sides of the argument you'll always win but I see now that's not always the case.   

       As far as the inevitable gun control debate, generations of Americans were trusted to hold firearms without these rampant gun deaths. What's changed? Are we getting stupider?   

       Evidently by the way, homicide and other gun violence has been dropping in America since 1993 so the reason why should be part of any search for a solution.   

       //As of September 8, the U.S. was averaging 1.05 mass shootings per day in 2015//   

       I'm not the only one considering the "instant stardom" effect in the minds of these killers. Guns aren't going to be outlawed any time soon so something else should be considered to at least try to address the problem.
doctorremulac3, Oct 05 2015
  

       I've always said laws should be considered like patent applications. The people proposing the law would first have to cite similar laws in place, if any, to address the specified problem (prior art). They would then have to explain why they didn't work, how this law is different, and how this law would work.   

       So if there are screening laws to keep guns out of the hands of crazy people, (something I support by the way) would they have worked for this shooter? How about this other example, and this one over here? If the law is put under scrutiny as theoretically being applied to past circumstances with known variables and it wouldn't work, we know it's not worth doing.   

       Would "crazy guy" screening have worked with this last case? I don't know. If being depressed and not being able to get a date is reason to keep firearms from somebody, well, that's one way to keep guns out of the hands of absolutely everybody. Thing is, if somebody told me they've never been depressed and un-able to get a date, I'd say that was reason enough to keep them from having gun: they're lying on their application.   

       In other words, I'm all for solutions, but there might be a little thought put into whether they would do anything more than polish the image of the politician proposing them.
doctorremulac3, Oct 05 2015
  

       I think we've gone over this before. I'm mostly for the idea, except for section 3:   

       //Heavy, heavy speculation as to what a loser the guy was.//   

       I think that's going to have some unfortunate consequences. People will start assuming that 'losers' (loner / unattractive / eccentric / short / fat etc.) are likely to go off on a killing spree, and mistreat them more than they already do.   

       No.   

       Either, you chose some random and ideally incongruous slur which the media agree to call each one ("the pooey pants killer", "captain halitosis", "rat-tail mullet murderer" etc), or...
well, if you as a country really do want to keep the guns, why not pretend that it's because of how crap they are with them?
  

       "Ten people have been shot in XYZ city. The gun-owner unfortunately lost control of his weapon killing nine bystanders and himself."   

       "Ten people have been shot in XYZ city. A man, possibly of limited intellectual capacity, repeatedly confused the safety-catch and trigger, ceasing only when he ran out of ammunition, ironically mortally wounding himself with the last bullet."   

       "Ten people have been shot in XYZ city. Police say the man had brought N guns to an impromptu game of show and tell at his office, which went horribly wrong because he'd neglected to perform basic safety checks."
Loris, Oct 05 2015
  

       Wow. I'd heard New York was bad, but there's no way I'm going anywhere near XYZ City. Those guys are just plain crazy.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 05 2015
  

       //I've always said laws should be considered like patent applications. The people proposing the law would first have to cite similar laws in place, if any, to address the specified problem (prior art). They would then have to explain why they didn't work, how this law is different, and how this law would work.//   

       Ooh, I like that idea.   

       //Auxiliary Police Force//   

       Interesting. See, I can be reasonable.   

       //I know I had said if you do both sides of the argument you'll always win but I see now that's not always the case.//   

       That usually rings true for any given ad-hominem, I find.   

       //As far as the inevitable gun control debate, generations of Americans were trusted to hold firearms without these rampant gun deaths. What's changed? Are we getting stupider?//   

       More stressed, more populated, faster paced, and more global bringing about larger mixes of different and disparate cultures together into a frothy blend. Add to that mix higher tech weapons and a host of higher-stakes oneupsmanship issues like social media and you have the makings of a society that spits out maniacs like a vending machine.
RayfordSteele, Oct 05 2015
  

       Yea, probably a bit of all of that.   

       I should probably just not let it get to me when stuff like this happens. There's really nothing I can do about it.
doctorremulac3, Oct 05 2015
  

       //I've always said laws should be considered like patent applications. The people proposing the law would first have to cite similar laws in place, if any, to address the specified problem (prior art). They would then have to explain why they didn't work, how this law is different, and how this law would work.//
This is a good idea only if we include the corollary: that any law which fails to be sufficiently novel is not subject to the state's monopoly of enforcement, and any person or enterprise is free to exploit enforcement as it, in its market-led wisdom, sees fit.
  

       My own pet theory for why the US is so massively into gun rampages is (a) that the US is so massively into gun rampages and (b) most people don't have an original idea in their heads. Without wishing to make light of the terrible lives and burdens that teenagers might want to escape, the press in the UK have, by and large, stopped reporting on teen suicides in the fairly reasonable belief that the more teen suicide is reported on, the more teens might think that suicide is a Good Plan for them to follow through on. What I take from this inherently confirmation-biased observation is that if we - and when I say we I mean the media / press / we - stop reporting these things at all, then hopefully disaffected young men will find better way to express themselves (video games, model railways, ragewanking, whatever).
calum, Oct 05 2015
  

       Yes, there's a real cause and effect with this copycat stuff regarding reporting.   

       In the very weird city I live in there's been a rash of youth suicides by train. It's so horrible I hesitate to even discuss it, but they've stopped reporting them. We just hear "Another pedestrian hit by a train." They've posted 24 hour guards at all the railroad crossings and put up barriers, everything you can think of.   

       It seems to have worked, we were getting several a year and it's been several months since I've heard of one.   

       Christ, this whole post is becoming so depressing. Who's the asshole who put this up in the first place?   

       Oh... right.
doctorremulac3, Oct 05 2015
  

       "Oh, we cannot understand WHY someone would do this!!"   

       Well, maybe they are doing it for attention, and we are giving these morons more attention than they could possibly otherwise attain.   

       Long ago, my pop told me, "The best way to get famous? Kill a celebrity". It taught me that fame wasn't necessarily merit-based.   

       (Oh, and neither he nor I ever attempted any murder of any kind. We like thought experiments.)
sophocles, Oct 06 2015
  

       Just as people troll themselves online out of self-loathing, I would expect this to encourage some people to do this precisely because they'll be vilified and forgotten. The question is how many people would do that compared to the current situation. In the meantime it probably doesn't matter very much to the people close to the victims because their loved one is dead regardless, and one death is too many.
nineteenthly, Oct 06 2015
  

       It looks like in this particular example that the mom showed poor judgment in allowing her mentally-and-socially challenged son unfettered access to unlocked weapons and injecting a bit of that paranoid mentality herself. Ways to reduce any of that would be stronger community reach for kids on the spectrum, a free gun safe for all families who buy more than 1 weapon or perhaps as a package deal with some firearm insurance, and perhaps some shorter working hours for nurses, who, lets face it, are completely frazzled by their schedule.
RayfordSteele, Oct 06 2015
  

       Could go the super high tech route. The only guns allowed are connected wirelessly to a central command center where they're tracked and can be shut down if they're at a school or something.   

       Naa.
doctorremulac3, Oct 06 2015
  

       Yea, I was thinking about how complicated it would be vs how easy it would be to dismantle the system, hence the "Naa".   

       Maybe I'll post it anyway for discussion.
doctorremulac3, Oct 06 2015
  
      
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