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Does the Media Cause Mass Shootings?
frontpagemag.com ^ | Feb 1, 2013 | Daniel Greenfield

Posted on 02/01/2013 6:44:17 AM PST by expat1000

On Dec 3rd, Naeem Davis, a homeless Muslim man, shoved a middle-aged Korean man in front of an oncoming Q subway train in Times Square. A Muslim photographer snapped a shot of him waiting to die that appeared on the cover of the New York Post and then went around the world. And that was that… except it wasn’t.

On December 28, there was another shoving murder. After the latest round of murders, suicides and accidental deaths, seven people have died under trains in 2013; a number that does not include the deaths previously mentioned. Last week two people committed suicide by jumping in front of trains. Another was killed in a possible accident. One lost a leg. Two others were seriously injured. And this week there was another suicide.

For those who might be wondering, these numbers are not normal. But they are predictable. While the MTA discusses the cost of putting up platform barriers, the actual triggering mechanism was the New York Post photograph of a dying man waiting to be hit by a train. And that photograph has dark implications for school shootings as well.

We like to think that we have free will. That we enter the station, knowing our destination ahead of time so that whatever delays or mistakes crop up, we will get to where we intended to go. And that may be true for most people. But it’s not true for all people. It may not be true for the people who push others under trains or jump in front of them.

Around the same time that the American Revolution was getting underway, the German writer Goethe wrote “The Sorrows of Young Werther”; a book that would become the Catcher in the Rye and Twilight of its day.

Werther Fever spread around the world. Readers wrote parodies of the book, dressed up like Werther and some committed suicide like him. The Werther Effect was born and it had a sneaky way of resurfacing whenever and wherever the book became popular again.

Some 200 years later, German television debuted “Death of a Student”, a six-part series about Claus Wagner, a high school student who commits suicide by jumping under a train. Each episode began with Claus jumping under the train. The series was supposed to teach teenagers that suicide was wrong, but it had the opposite effect.

The real message of “Death of a Student” was the same message as that of Werther Fever, if you kill yourself, lots of people will pay attention to you, and the number of teenage boys killing themselves by jumping under a train increased 175%. Having failed to prevent enough suicides, the show aired a second time. This time fewer people were watching and the suicide rate for teenage boys only went up 115%.

A few years later in neighboring Vienna, suicides went up when they were featured on the front page rand fell 75% when they were pushed to the back page, run sans photos and without mention of the word, “Suicide.” Young Werther, in his blue-tailed coat and yellow vest, stopped chasing the trains of the Vienna underground.

The suicide cluster is a well-known phenomenon, especially among teenagers; it is why the media avoids coverage of teenage suicides… with one exception. A teenager who hangs himself in his garage, jumps under a train or turns on the gas will generally not make the front page or even the back page. But if he takes a gun into a school, opens fire and then commits suicide, Young Werther will be front page news for days, weeks or even months.

James Holmes of the Aurora Massacre did not kill himself, but like Werther he picked up his own groupies, the Holmies, some of whom dye their hair orange and dress like him. Misery loves company and so do the unhinged. As the media began covering the Holmies, the fan club increased with the amount of condemnatory coverage. The usual media cycle of promoting what it pretends to discourage for its own profit, so that it can cover it even more, had begun.

Suicides spike after front page coverage of a suicide. After Marilyn Monroe’s death, 197 more people killed themselves than the statistical norm. Suicides rise even after fictional suicides on soap operas. And murders are also influenced by the coverage of real and fictional murders. The rise in the number of shootings after a heavily publicized shooting isn’t a mysterious conspiracy, it’s Werthers being Werther or Lanza or Holmes; identifying with the method of dealing with their frustrations, if not the man.

Stick a photo of a man about to be hit by a train on the cover of a citywide newspaper, and more people will be pushed under trains and jump under trains. Spend weeks making a mass shooter famous and others will decide that resolving their problems with a shooting spree makes sense. Bad ideas are like bad signals, even if disapproved of, they are imitated if they are broadcast loudly enough. And the modern media is a deafeningly loud broadcast mechanism with few standards and many cynical and hypocritical agendas.

That does not mean that we ought to push the 1st Amendment under the train, the way that the media has been trying to do to the 2nd Amendment, but it does call for soul-searching and responsibility not by the people who make guns or defend the right to carry them, as the media insists, but by the people who make school shootings and subway suicides. The people who insist that everyone must search their souls, but them.

Stephen King, who recently jumped into the fray with his own gun control screed, was credited with inspiring one of the first clusters of school shootings in the United States. To his credit, King has wrestled with the question, withdrawing “Rage” from sale and conceding that it had an incendiary effect on troubled minds. To his discredit, King has used that action to argue that gun owners, manufacturers and civil rights groups should agree to a ban on the mythical assault rifle.

Ideas are more powerful than weapons. Weapons can kill a man, but ideas can cause a man to kill. Nevertheless the United States is a country built on the premise that ideas and weapons should be available to all. We are a country with high capacity magazines of both kinds. That experiment in human liberty is a dangerous one, and even though some Americans get on the wrong track, whether it’s the left-wing terrorists who haunted America in the last century or the spree killers who trouble it now, it is a profoundly worthy experiment because it allows us to choose who we are and that makes our choices meaningful.


TOPICS: Government; Society
KEYWORDS: banglist; guncontrol; secondamendment

1 posted on 02/01/2013 6:44:23 AM PST by expat1000
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To: arasina; daisy mae for the usa; AdvisorB; wizardoz; free-in-nyc; Vendome; Louis Foxwell; ...


Sultan Knish/Daniel Greenfield Ping List (notification of new articles). FReepmail or drop me a comment to get on or off.
2 posted on 02/01/2013 6:45:44 AM PST by expat1000
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To: expat1000

Copy cat crimes have always been a problem.


3 posted on 02/01/2013 6:50:25 AM PST by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
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To: expat1000

I think constant media coverage inspires the nuts.

Just a couple of days after the Sandy Hook shootings a legal analyst of FOX (Black guy, former cop but I can’t remember his name) he said pretty much the same. Too much attention will inspire others who want to be famous.


4 posted on 02/01/2013 6:50:45 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: expat1000

Mass Shootings Analysis – Commonalities and Trends
28 November 2012

(U//FOUO) NJ ROIC Intelligence & Analysis Unit / Threat Program ~ #
IAU201208-1430

New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center Mass Shootings Analysis
9 pages
For Official Use Only
November 28, 2012

link to press release:
http://publicintelligence.net/njroic-mass-shootings/

link to PDF of report:
http://info.publicintelligence.net/NJROIC-MassShootings.pdf


5 posted on 02/01/2013 6:58:11 AM PST by theBuckwheat
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To: expat1000
There may also be an issue with the intensity of preparedness drills

How realistic should school shooting drills be?

...In the upstate New York town of Hudson Falls, police in body armor carried unloaded weapons and negotiated with an acting hostage-taker Monday during a drill at an elementary school, including younger students, in what had been a middle- and high-school exercise before December's shooting of 20 first-graders and six adults in Newtown, Conn.

6 posted on 02/01/2013 6:59:38 AM PST by opentalk
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To: expat1000
I've heard that to a suicidal person, depictions of suicide is like pornography, so there could be a considerable amount of truth to this.

7 posted on 02/01/2013 7:00:01 AM PST by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: BitWielder1

Advertising works.


8 posted on 02/01/2013 7:08:38 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (In the game of life, there are no betting limits)
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To: opentalk

I’m not even a fan of the grief counseling they put kids through these days. It makes the traumatic event the central event in their lives.

Kids are amazingly resilient after a traumatic event and the best thing to do is make the kids feel safe in the home while letting them work through things.


9 posted on 02/01/2013 7:14:16 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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Real life shooting imitates training exercise at Parker medical school

... The tragedy that played out in an Aurora movie theater Friday was ironically paralleled as a classroom learning experience in a medical school in Parker the same day.

Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine is in the middle of holding specialized classes in disaster life support for 150 second-year medical students. Along with response to natural disasters like hurricanes and floods and terrorist attacks, one of the scenarios being used to train the students is how to respond if a shooter fires at people in a movie theater and also uses a bomb in the attack.

10 posted on 02/01/2013 7:16:01 AM PST by opentalk
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To: expat1000

As long as we have 24/7 news channels, twitter, email and mobile phones with cameras, this will continue.


11 posted on 02/01/2013 7:22:43 AM PST by stuartcr ("I upraded my moral compass to a GPS, to keep up with the times.")
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To: cripplecreek

I’m not even a fan of the grief counseling they put kids through these days. It makes the traumatic event the central event in their lives.

i agree. a parents can watch their children and ease them through the grief and fear better than a stranger in most cases.


12 posted on 02/01/2013 7:30:33 AM PST by bravo whiskey (“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”)
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To: expat1000

Champaign, Illinois County Sheriff: The problem isn’t guns or magazines, it’s the mentally ill
January 31, 2013

Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh.

EXCLUSIVE TO GUNS SAVE LIFE.com (for now)

Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh has weighed in on the hysterical call by Democratic Party leaders to ban guns, limit magazine capacities and impose all sorts of other restrictions both in Springfield and in Washington, D.C.

While he doesn’t come out and say he’s not going to enforce further gun bans, he does cover a number of points that are just common sense around here:

Right to carry will deter crime.
America’s favorite rifle, the AR-15, isn’t criminally misused around here.
Magazine capacity isn’t an issue.
Cops here, including him, support law-abiding citizens’ right to carry and possess firearms of all sorts.
The real problem for his department is mental health issues.

Sheriff Walsh probably isn’t going to earn himself any free donuts for the department from Governor Quinn’s office, and certainly not from Senator Durbin or President Obama, but he calls it like he sees it.

http://www.gunssavelife.com/?p=5414


13 posted on 02/01/2013 7:40:42 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: expat1000

bump


14 posted on 02/01/2013 7:45:48 AM PST by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: expat1000

Yes.


15 posted on 02/01/2013 7:48:01 AM PST by YourAdHere (Gaithersburg, MD is a toilet.)
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To: cripplecreek

It is a terrible and stupid thing. just like the (pagan) candle/ teddy bear shrine garbage. “making a difference” is the idiot mantra of this shallow religion.


16 posted on 02/01/2013 7:50:08 AM PST by Bainbridge
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To: Bainbridge

Never understood what people get out of placing teddy bears at a death shrine.

Much better to pray to the Lord that He welcome the souls of those victims into His heavenly kingdom, that His grace bring comfort to the bereaved, and ask all this in the name of our Savior.

That’s doing something, IMO.


17 posted on 02/01/2013 8:13:35 AM PST by elcid1970 ("The Second Amendment is more important than Islam.")
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To: expat1000; All

I prefer to say to the MSM:

Stop shouting Fire! in crowded schools.


18 posted on 02/01/2013 8:23:06 AM PST by marktwain (The MSM must die for the Republic to live. Long live the new media!)
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To: expat1000
Does the Media Cause Mass Shootings?

Yes.

19 posted on 02/01/2013 8:58:15 AM PST by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: cripplecreek

I’m not even a fan of the grief counseling they put kids through these days. It makes the traumatic event the central event in their lives.

&&&
We had a boy commit suicide in the high school where I was teaching at the time. Our principal, who was a total lib, brought in a team of “grief counselors”. I know that the principal and this group meant well, but it was sickening to see them operate.

It was as if they wanted everyone to wallow in the tragedy. I had one try to corner me, even after I had explained that I did not even know the boy.

The teenaged girls really fed into the whole drama, and I really worried about a copycat incident. Fortunately, that did not come to pass.


20 posted on 02/01/2013 9:17:54 AM PST by Bigg Red (Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! -Ps80)
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To: elcid1970

Never understood what people get out of placing teddy bears at a death shrine.

&&&
I was thinking about this phenomenon recently. So stupid when I see coverage of some blubbering woman who had never even heard of the child show up with a stuffed animal.

My conclusion is that they are just hoping to be a part of the celebrity/notoriety of the whole event. It is a disgusting facet of our media culture.


21 posted on 02/01/2013 9:29:36 AM PST by Bigg Red (Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! -Ps80)
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To: marktwain

fine them for every uttered or print version of a mass murderer’s name.

I’m sure they’d have no problem with ‘reasonable regulations’ placed on the 1st amendment.


22 posted on 02/01/2013 9:41:39 AM PST by TurboZamboni (Looting the future to bribe the present)
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To: expat1000
This is too easy: Of course it does! Media coverage describes in detail how the perp did the deed and encourages copycats.

When other attacks happen, the Media acts shocked. innocent, and pure as wind driven snow.

23 posted on 02/01/2013 9:43:38 AM PST by MasterGunner01
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To: elcid1970
Never understood what people get out of placing teddy bears at a death shrine.

Me either. Was this happening prior to the Princess Diana death/funeral? The only time I understood it was after 911; the whole nation WAS grieving.
24 posted on 02/01/2013 10:21:26 AM PST by Girlene
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To: expat1000
Ideas are more powerful than weapons. Weapons can kill a man, but ideas can cause a man to kill.

Number of people murdered in the cause of Communism (the very same intellectual thread that drives liberals) - 100 million in less than 100 years.

Number of people killed with rifles of any kind in 2011 - less than 400. Times a hypothetical 100 years is 40,000.

There's no comparison.

25 posted on 02/01/2013 10:34:55 AM PST by Hardastarboard (The Liberal ruling class hates me. The feeling is mutual.)
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To: Vaquero

The MSM is far more the cause of these shootings than any rifle manufacturer.

The 24/7 coverage of mass shootings, in the hope of ramping up more gun control, is the equivalent of shouting Fire! in a crowded school.


26 posted on 02/01/2013 10:40:12 AM PST by marktwain (The MSM must die for the Republic to live. Long live the new media!)
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To: expat1000
Stephen King, who recently jumped into the fray with his own gun control screed, was credited with inspiring one of the first clusters of school shootings in the United States. To his credit, King has wrestled with the question, withdrawing “Rage” from sale and conceding that it had an incendiary effect on troubled minds. To his discredit, King has used that action to argue that gun owners, manufacturers and civil rights groups should agree to a ban on the mythical assault rifle.

Thank you Daniel Greenfield ... Thanks for calling him out.

27 posted on 02/01/2013 11:05:19 AM PST by GOPJ ( Revelation can be more perilous than Revolution. Vladimir Nabokov)
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