It is no secret that the U.S. has been fighting a never-ending battle to eradicate gun violence. These heinous crimes have stolen the future of countless innocent people. Extensive research has been done to minimize this predicament, and criminologists have come up with a wide array of factors that contribute towards increasing gun violence. The media has done its best to shine a light on all of them.
The media has analyzed a multitude of factors. However, they missed one prominent cause, which, in my opinion, might be the root cause of a lot of this mayhem. Ironically enough, a growing body of research deems the media a prime culprit for this specific cause.
University of Alabama criminologist Adam Lankford, who has studied mass shootings for over a decade, has concluded that the media coverage of mass shootings incentivizes more shootings. According to him, fame-seeking is a common theme in the majority of school shooters. His studies find that winning an academy award garnered less media attention than committing a high-profile mass killing.
The Columbine killers and other gruesome shooters have confirmed fame as their primary objective and seem to enjoy all the notoriety that the media has served them on a silver platter. Unfortunately, this has motivated other attention-craving people to commit the same despicable crimes.
Because of this, Lankford has started a petition to make the media not release any irrelevant information about the shooters, such as their names and faces. More than a hundred researchers have signed Lankford’s petition in hopes that they persuade the media to adopt new norms.
After reading about Lankford’s earnest endeavor, a thought popped into my mind. How can we, the general public, share Lankford's burden? I find that raising awareness about this research could help. So, I ask the VoiceBox community to stop interacting with media coverage about the mass shooters themseleves to help put a stop to this deplorable crime that has tormented U.S. society for decades.
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