Author Topic: Mass Shootings-Encouraged by Language of Media and Police?  (Read 88 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ken Gigliotti

  • Retired Professional
  • Posts: 263
      • Email
Mass Shootings-Encouraged by Language of Media and Police?
« on: October 03, 2017, 11:35 AM »
Do police and media unintentionally encourage a romantic  view of mass shootings and terror acts by the use of certain  words and phrases. The romance of the gun culture , and Hollywood movie themes of “old west shootouts,” going out in a “blaze of glory”,a “last stand,” a “rebel without a cause”,or words that are used by law enforcement to profile these crimes like “lone wolf” or “homegrown” all add comfort and support in the eyes of desperate ,depressed or otherwise unhinged person contemplating these violent and tragic crimes against humanity.
The inherent message to those contemplating violent acts are with words that resonate like , “glory,” “rebel,” “home,” and   “wolf.” These words stand out to give encouragement to the demented minds of these particular persons. There seem to be more and more every week.

Does every crime have be described as the “worst mass shooting...” with accompanying qualification , that town, that state, in the US,this year , this month or ...Is there a score card or unhelpful record keeping that may be driving these murderers to better planning, better weapons , more lethal results.
Is there is a fame element , maybe this persons actions will result in gun laws changing in their mind and they will be remembered by these terrible acts?  Who knows what that person is thinking , and no one will ever know. Is there logic or organized madness.
Both police and media have to be careful in the terminology used to describe anyone who is contemplating these crimes.
These crimes are getting to all to common and language matters, future shooters are listening, we in media and law enforcement might consider that we are talking directly to the next perpetrator of such  violent acts.
This is not to excuse violent acts because of environment, social status, heredity but to offer a strategy for prevention. There is a trend and it is moving upward.
There is no condition that cannot changed in the favor of a peaceful outcome. But, these events seem to push for more guns not less.  Opinion by Ken Gigliotti



Offline Warren Toda

  • Administrator
  • Toronto
  • Posts: 1946
      • www.warrentoda.com
      • Email
Re: Mass Shootings-Encouraged by Language of Media and Police?
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2017, 11:20 PM »
Quote from: Ken Gigliotti
Does every crime have be described as the “worst mass shooting...” with accompanying qualification , that town, that state, in the US,this year , this month or ...Is there a score card or unhelpful record keeping that may be driving these murderers to better planning, better weapons , more lethal results.

There is a practice or "style" at some news outlets to always emphasize the numbers. The hottest day, the most snow, the biggest storm, deadliest car crash . . .  etc.  I've heard news editors tell reporters to rewrite their story to "make the numbers pop."

Maybe numbers do make the story. Or maybe we need more and more hyperbole to attract our attention. If shootings do happen everyday, at least in the US, will they become "boring" like reporting car crashes?

I remember when we used to report on every medium to major car crash and every gun call in the city. After a decade or so, car crashes and gun calls became too common to be news.  I had a photo editor once tell me, "Unless there's at least three dead, don't bother." We also gave up on reporting stabbings because they weren't as "exciting" as shootings.


I also think some news outlets are trying not only to report the news but also to "entertain" us. Hollywood action movies are filled with hyperbole and crazy action scenes. Maybe some news outlets think they have to compete with this to get attention.

I know some Canadian news outlets and reporters can't wait for big disasters and crimes to happen here in Canada so that they can get into the "action" just like their US counterparts.  After a multiple shooting in east-end Toronto in 2012 (2 killed, 23 wounded), I overheard a TV reporter on the scene say to her colleagues, "Finally, we get the good stuff." She then went live on-air to report, "worst mass shooting . . . dozens of people shot . . . neighbourhood in panic."




Photographer in Toronto
info@warrentoda.com