No, We Will Not Publish The Oregon Shooter’s Name
A lone gunman entered a rural community college on Thursday morning and opened fire. Within ten minutes, law enforcement had responded to the scene and after a brief exchange of gunfire with the terrorist, police killed the man. But in that time, the gunman had taken the lives of nine innocent people and injured up to seven others.
As more information has emerged about the killer, it appears he was a 26-year-old loner. He was reclusive and had a fascination with previous mass shootings, even showing sympathy for a Virginia shooter who in August gunned down two journalists over an alleged romantic relationship.
“I have noticed that so many people like [the Virginia shooter] are alone and unknown, yet when they spill blood, the whole world knows who they are. A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone. His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems like the more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight.”
The message would “suggest a desire for fame, which experts suggest is quite common among mass shooters,” according to Vox.
With that in mind, as a part of the media we will not publish in our coverage the name of this man, a cowardly individual who instead of choosing to make his name known through goodwill and benevolence, took the easy route of inflicting untold tragedy on the lives and families of scores of people, both those personally affected and those who yearn to see something in this country change to stem the epidemic of gun violence.
This decision is not an indictment of the media, who are, in fact, doing their jobs. History should be recorded accurately. We do not believe the media is somehow responsible for this tragedy, though many will attempt place the blame there because of this very issue.
Do not blame the media. Instead, blame the gunman. Blame the gun lobby and the NRA who resist any change to existing gun laws except to loosen them. And the politicians who are paid campaign contributions to simply regurgitate the talking points of these lobbyists, they share in the blame.
As journalists, it seems the least we can do to help is an attempt to prevent something like this from happening again. By denying this man the one thing he sought, we hope we can make the slightest difference in the future.
We may be just a small voice in this deafening World Wide Web, but a chorus of whispers can resonate across the globe.