Don't name them

America has once again been rocked by one of the deadliest school shootings in its history. We all know the statistics, we know the victims, the heroes, the villain; but perhaps we shouldn't.

Much as with Sandy Hook and all the rest, this incident has spurred a lot of conversations that are hard to have. Should America ban guns? What about instituing mental health checks? Should teachers be armed so as not to be a target? Is it too soon to even be talking about such things? Should the press identify the shooter?

It is in regard to this last question that I write to you. The evidence is clear. Some shooters are motivated by a desire for fame; for notoriety. When we give them such fame, we allow them to accomplish their goal, possibly encouraging others to commit such atrocious acts. We also see a correlation between incidences of reporting shootings and 'copycat' shootings around the globe. Our own University faced this 'contagion effect' in 2015, when the campus was locked down for a day following a post on social media mirroring a similar status made by the then recent florida school shooting perpetrator.

With all this in mind, it was disappointing to see the victim's face and name published in the ODT this weekend, while none of the victims, survivors, or heroes were shown. It serves no purpose other than to promote hateful agendas and encourage more horrific acts.

Many hard conversations must be had during these dark times, but one that does not need to take place is that of who the shooter is. We can talk about his state of mind, factors that contributed to his actions, how we can help people before they get to such a point. But please don't name him.

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 - Finn Shewell

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