Don’t make killers rock stars

OK, usually I don’t comment on these things, but I can’t help here.

Cho Seung-Hui’s face doesn’t deserve to be on the home page of Yahoo, the New York Times or next week’s Time magazine. To put his picture there guarantees the creation of new school shooters. When you can get this famous by killing people, it creates inspiration to vent your depression/frustration/anger with violence.

There is ample research and examples to make this case. Check out The Copycat Effect.

I will collect some studies to prove this and add them to this post, I’ve read them over the last few years. Media organizations (and people talking at the water cooler) need to remember that giving someone attention and focus gives them value. Numerous studies in Europe prove that when you put a terrorist or a serial killer on the front page of a a newspaper, you create a new one.

Let’s focus on the tragedy and what we can learn about it. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to understand what was wrong with Cho Seung-Hui, or the warning signs that we should pay attention to. I mean that we shoudln’t make him prominent, use his name or display his picture. He’s not worth it. He accomplished nothing.

PS — NBC did not do the socially responsible thing today (Tuesday). Now his video is being played million of times on laptops owned by future school shooters. He’s getting more views than any YouTube video EVER released. Talk about inspiring other school shooters!!

The video proclaims that “I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people.” And he gets airtime and webtime to spew this? I can’t believe how irresponsible media sources like NBC and a host of online portals are being. Once let out of the bottle, this newly minted rock star will use the power of sight sound and motion to further his cause after death. If I were NBC I would have squashed it. Give it to the authorities and never show it. They won’t show the footage when Steve Irwin was killed, too distrurbing. But the media and online publishers cannot resist this video. Do they think that they are generating incremental page views or eyeballs for ad revenue? Ridiculous! No advertiser (like Netflix on Yahoo) gets ANY value from this association. In my experience, ad buyers never want to associate with tragedy.

Do you remember when the media finally wised up and stopped showing planes flying into the towers????