Mass Killers: Don’t Name Them, Don’t Show Them, But Report Everything Else

And please, stop calling shooters “snipers”. Snipers are trained professionals. Most of the time, shooters are merely “kooks with a rifle”, generally a .22LR because they cannot hit with any other caliber as they are unskilled shooters.

Gun Culture 2.0

A while back, Professor Adam Lankford (Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice, University of Alabama) sent me an open letter to the media and asked if I would sign my name to it. I, along with 146 other scholars, agreed.

The letter (reprinted in full below) asks the media “to take a principled stand in your future coverage of mass killers that could potentially save lives”:

  1. Don’t name the perpetrator.
  2. Don’t use photos or likenesses of the perpetrator.
  3. Stop using the names, photos, or likenesses of past perpetrators.
  4. Report everything else about these crimes in as much detail as desired.

The release of this letter after the Las Vegas massacre is timely, but it also follows the publication of a paper by Lankford and Eric Madfis (University of Washington-Tacoma) in the American Behavioral Scientist explaining the scholarly basis for the letter.

Here is some coverage of the letter in the…

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