Columbine. Virginia Tech. Amish school in Pennsylvania. Westroads Mall in Omaha. Chances are pretty high that each of these things reminds you of a very tragic event. In each case, at least one shooter went into a place of gathering, fired several gunshots killing many and then turned the gun on themselves. Each of these events came as a big surprise to people all over the United States. How could such a horrible thing happen in their small town? After this past weekend, we can add another name to that list: Ryan Schallenberger or Chesterfield, N.C. He never got the chance to carry out his plan however. When 10 lbs ammonium nitrate showed up at the teens home, his parents called police who then discovered the plan to place several bombs in the local high school. They also discovered a journal where the teen had written his plans for what he was calling a "Columbine follow-up."
So how do we explain these tragedies? It is easy to point fingers and blame all sorts of people. An unusual one to point the finger at though is the media. How does the media cause this pain and suffering? It might be a bit of a stretch, but I really do think they contribute to some of it. When these events occurred, the media went crazy with covering as much of it as they could. They interviewd anyone they could who was involved or maybe just knew someone who was involved. They flashed several pictures on the screen of the shooter(s). By giving so much attention to the shooters, I think it sometimes motivates others. It seems that very often the shooter is angry about how they were treated by others. They know that by committing this horrible act, their name will be remembered for a long time to come. For them, that can be a very gratifying feeling. I think it is important that the media let the public know what all happened, but maybe focus more on the victims and not giving so much attention to the criminal.