In a morbid diversion from my usually frivolous content, I feel compelled to throw my hat into the metaphorical ring concerning the sad events in Woolwich yesterday.
I was going to write a similar post after the cinema shooting in America last year, but by the time I sat down to write it, the moment seemed to have passed. (Un)luckily there are enough arseholes in the world that it wasn’t long before someone else swung around to commit an act of pre-meditated idiocy.
Happily, on a per-capita basis, events like this are rare, and our individual likelihood of being directly or indirectly involved is staggeringly low. Despite this, or maybe because of it, when some such arsehole does feel entitled to go on a killing spree the Media is quick to spread his (and it usually is a “he”) face and name all over the television, internet and newspapers, making them a martyr of their cause and proving to others that violence and murder are an easy way to fame.
Worse, as the story unfolds, the press then starts quoting the individual’s insane ramblings or playing video of him justifying his actions, turning him into a celebrity and giving air to his warped beliefs - the people who murdered Lee Rigby are as representative of Islam as the cinema killer is of PhD students
It is here that I would like to offer a solution. In much the same way the a sexual assault victim’s identity are protected by law, stop the press circulating the perpetrator’s name and likeness.
Ignore them. Forget them. Consign them to the dustbin of history. They are not worth reporting.
The press will undoubtedly want to report the incident, but cover your papers and screens with the names and faces of the killer’s victims. The killer himself is an anonymous nonentity who no one will remember. And for God’s sake stop writing biographies of serial killers. These people are not worthy of having their lives memorialised while their victims’ shortened lives are reduced to a footnote.
If, for some reason they absolutely must be referred to, do so as “the accused”, “the convicted”, or just a letter “J”.
No doubt the accused will say they were drawing attention to a cause, but that’s what the internet is for. If you’re right people will agree with you. If they don’t, don’t go and kill people. Or at least have the decency to do what homophobe Dominique Venner did earlier this week and kill yourself in stead.