I’m going to get very serious for a minute.
In light of the recent school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon last week, I can’t help but feel like we, as a society, keep creating these situations. I’m not talking about the bullying that doesn’t stop, or whatever causes these students to carry out these acts. I’m talking about the news media, but also social media. While this might not be completely related to PR, I feel compelled to share my feelings on this issue.
Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, there has been 262 school shootings in the US. That number is outrageous. I can’t help but wonder if we didn’t glorify the victims as well as the offender in such a public way, if these numbers would go down. I know that for myself, even though I don’t attend a college in the US, that every time I hear about a shooting at a school that I get nervous. It makes me wonder if we are giving people ideas.
There have been cases of crimes being committed for the fame, be it a copy cat or corresponding with the media to allow their crimes the 15 minutes of fame that they feel it deserves. I don’t think that these shootings are any different. With the news media allowing full media coverage of the wreckage, it’s making the offender a type of celebrity, if only for a moment. And now with social media making information travel even faster, and to a wider audience, there is no telling how this might affect the future safety of these students.
Social media sounds innocent in its layout. We use it for liking pictures and sharing our lives with each other. But we also use it for news and tragedy. When there is a missing child, or a mass murder (like these school shootings), my Facebook lights up. I don’t even need to check a paper or subscribe to a news channel because it’s all right there. Every gory detail at my finger tips.
I’m not saying that the news media is doing anything they aren’t supposed to. I’m just saying that maybe these events should be kept local. While it is a tragedy, why does the entire world need to know? I know that it isn’t my job to be a journalist or report on tragedies, I just feel that this is a good message to get people talking about.
If I haven’t convinced you of my points, I will post this video that I found that sparked my curiosity into this topic. This video plays on a social media site called Reddit every time there is a school shooting.
I hope this was thought provoking. See you on Thursday.