Time and again the media gets it wrong after a terrorist attack or mass killing – they continue to slap pictures of the killers on front pages, run lengthy stories about their lives, delve in depth to the motivations for their actions, and basically stoke the flames of all the crackpots, wannabee mass murderers, and pending terrorists to go out and get their moment of fame and glory. It is truly and utterly despicable.
I cannot go to a website and not be subjected to seeing the face of the killer in this latest mass shooting in Orlando. I sign on to the Internet, and there is his face! If I go to another site, there he is again! It is beneath contempt that we must keep seeing his image over and over again, including the one with his smiling wife and the blanked out face of their child, as if to humanize him as a family man.
President Barack Obama, “presumptive” presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and an assortment of other politicians seemingly never fail to let a crisis go to waste. Discounting the feelings of the victims’ friends and loved ones, they all launched into attacks on one another while pushing their particular agendas. It is thoroughly disgusting to see this situation become – instead of the national tragedy that it is – an opportunity to pound home political ideologies and blame everyone else but the man who pulled the trigger.
Make no mistake, this is not just a horror for the LGBT community, although they are feeling particular anguish and despair as well they should. The nation must mourn this loathsome attack on the gay nightclub Pulse because every one of the dead and wounded was out for a night of entertainment that should have been enjoyed without fear. This is not just one group’s loss but a national one. If any one group cannot go out and dance joyfully, none of us can.
As always in these cases, I refuse to mention the killer’s name or that of his family. It matters little to the public what his motivations were, who his parents were, or that he was married with a child. These are things for the investigators to know, to explore, and to make determinations as to how to go about using that information to better protect Americans and prevent another disaster like this from happening again.
Having lost a family member on 9-11, I know the victims’ friends and loved ones are only in the beginning stages of processing what has happened. It doesn’t get any easier, doesn’t go away, and with time only increases the vacancy in their lives as they will ache for their missing loved ones even more. None of these people, or the survivors of the attacks, should be disrespected by politicians using the incident to advance agendas. They should not have to suffer through story after story in the media regarding the depraved lunatic who perpetrated this attack and be made to see his ghastly image again and again.
Unfortunately, the media and the politicians don’t learn and obviously don’t care. The more the media publicizes these killers, the more fuel they add to the fire of other people waiting in front of their TV sets or staring at their computer screens. This kind of dubious fame is just what they are hoping for, and the media gives it to them on a silver platter.
If I didn’t know any better – and maybe I do and don’t want to believe it – I would assume that Mr. Obama is in cahoots with the gun makers. Every time something like this happens, he makes his call for gun control, and invariably the stocks of the gun companies go up through the roof as Americans run out and purchase more guns. If he is really serious about stopping gun violence, I would think by now he would see the futility of this tactic and adopt a different strategy.
As for the rest of the politicians and presumptive nominees out there, they too have only made things worse. By slinging mud at each other in the days since the attack, by completely disregarding the victims’ friends and love ones by furthering their own candidacies or platforms, they show their true colors and it is totally reprehensible. Mr. Trump, Mrs. Clinton, and all the rest of them should hang their heads in shame.
At this point the authorities should (exclusively) know everything about the killer and use it to their advantage as they investigate and plan to stop future attacks; instead, all of this is front page news and not only stokes other wackos’ fires but aides in their planning the next incident. What should be clandestine in a fight against terrorism is out there in the public domain.
Let’s thank the media for undermining the safety of every American and all the people from around the world who visit our shores. Let’s praise their lunacy of publicizing the killer in Orlando and all the criminals they have promoted in copious stories over the years in hopes of higher ratings or copies sold. Let’s thank the politicians for exploiting tragedy after tragedy to further their agendas without considering the effect on the survivors of such atrocities or members of the lost victims’ families.
The media and politicians are strange but cooperating bedfellows; however, we the public do not have to play into their hands. It is up to us to switch the channel, to go to a different site online, or not purchase that morning edition with a killer on its cover. More importantly, we should not vote for any politician who exploits tragedies such as Orlando to elicit votes or to advance an agenda.
Finally, the face of the killer has also been all over social media. Please know that anyone who has lost someone in a large scale event does not want to see the face or faces of those who killed a friend or loved one, especially when he or she is going to social media to maybe relax or try to forget what is going on. It is an affront to these people who are suffering. Show them some respect and do not post pictures of a killer on Facebook, Twitter, etc. None of us want to see these despicable faces of evil.
But please do post the images and stories of those who died. Let’s honor their lives and memories. We need to speak their names, pausing and reflecting after each one, and acknowledge the unbearable loss of their presence in this world. These are the people to publicize, to laud, and to remember in necessary and meaningful ways.
In the end it is doubtful that the media or politicians will ever learn, but it is up to the American public to teach them a valuable lesson. Withholding our support as viewers of TV shows, visitors to websites, as purchasers of the morning edition, and in the voting booth should send a clear signal that we are not only as mad as hell but we surely will not take it anymore.
Photo credit: CNN