Last Friday I told readers why I have a personal interest in the shooting at the elementary school in Newtown, CT; twice I have lived less than twenty miles from there, and as recently as eight months ago, I was in the same county.
Ever notice how local news programs seem to be preoccupied with crime stories? Their motto seems to be: “If it bleeds, it leads. If it booms, we zoom.” Well, Newtown has just been put on the map, in an unfavorable way. Some of you may remember a TV show from a few years back called “The Gilmore Girls,” which was set in a fictional Connecticut town that was attractive and full of small shops and quirky people. Well, after my recent job in Connecticut, I can testify that several Connecticut towns really look like that (e.g., Bethel, Brookfield, Huntington), though the people aren’t as strange as their TV counterparts. Most of them are considered suburbs of New York City, which may explain why people can afford to live in those affluent places. Newtown looks like “The Gilmore Girls” setting, too, but unfortunately, if you hear about Newtown in the future, you probably won’t think of the shops or scenery.
Predictably, several people are also speaking out on what can be done to prevent such tragedies. Including gun-control advocates, though they have yet to offer an effective way to stop a bad guy with a gun, besides a good buy with a gun. Just keep in mind that Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people in Oklahoma with just a truckload of fertilizer, and that an awful lot of people are killed every year by weapons that a cave man would have no trouble using.
Normally I avoid posting quotes from Hollywood celebrities. Most of them are so idiotic they only prove that our actors were hired for their looks; they obviously don’t have perfect brains to match their perfect bodies. However, Morgan Freeman said something about the Newtown tragedy that deserves our applause – that we should pay attention to the victims, not the killer. Perhaps he has enough sense to say this because he has played God more often than any other actor since Charlton Heston. Anyway, check it out:
“You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.
It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.
CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.
You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.”