How the Media Can Help Stop Mass Murders

Gina Tron was once feared to be a killer
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2014 12:04 PM CDT
How the Media Can Help Stop Mass Murders
In this July 21, 2012 file photo, people carry flowers to lay at a makeshift memorial across the street from the Century Theater parking lot, in Aurora, Colo.   (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez, File)

Gina Tron made headlines as a teenager when people mistakenly feared she planned to go on a killing spree at her high school. Now, she writes at Politico about how she enjoyed her brief fame—and how mass murderers seek media validation. If we stop offering them a platform, she explains, we may see fewer mass killings. A teenage Tron's writings about killing prompted worry in the community, eventually resulting in her being banned from prom and a boosted police presence at her school. "My notoriety was made. And although I had no desire to go on a killing spree at all, I began to sort of enjoy it," she notes.

Tron began to "identify with mass murderers, probably because I thought I was the same as them: a loser destined to be secluded from society." Meanwhile, "I felt that being suspected as a villain gave me power. I was no longer a quiet nobody. I was infamous." Killers seem to seek that feeling, and we're not helping the situation: Given the vast media attention to mass murderers, "We send a message to the wrong people that if you want fame and attention, just amass a high enough kill count." Yes, reporters should continue to investigate the backgrounds of the attackers, Tron writes—but she suggests avoiding releasing the suspect's name, just as we do with some victims. Let's not turn them "into celebrities." Click for the full piece. (More mass murder stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.