School shootings remain uniquely attractive because the media gives shooters a massive platform to air their hateful views.
By Kenny Xu
The Sante Fe High School shooting was a horrific tragedy, but it was also a sadly predictable affair.
A socially isolated white man takes out his rage on his school. The media, appalled, tries to study what went wrong. Some blame guns. Some blame toxic masculinity. All repeat the name of the shooter, over and over again, until his name, and his deranged views, become as embedded in the public consciousness as any celebrity. The public commentariat abides by a cultural script that spins the shootings into one partisan direction or another, allowing the acts of violence to completely dominate our news cycle, across airwaves and headlines. In a sad perverse way, the shooters get exactly what they wanted — attention.
And the cycle of shoot, rinse, repeat, continues.
Over the past 20 years, news media have failed to balance their investigative natures with concerns about legitimizing the views and lifestyles of people whose world views do not deserve to be heard. One of the first articles in The Washington Post to accompany the actual news of the Santa Fe shooting was a lengthy profile of the perpetrator, the headline saying that he had a “fondness for trench coats and a growing darkness.” From Santa Fe, to Parkland, to Charleston, to Aurora and Virginia Tech, the news media can’t help but elevate the platforms of deranged men by publishing their sick, twisted views.