It has happened again, this time at the Washington Navy Yard. Twelve Navy people killed by an insane man who showed all the signs of a psychotic individual prone to violence. As one talking head psychiatrist said on CNN: “People like this are seeking attention. It is part of their pathology.”
Earlier this year I published, “Let’s Not Publish the Names of Terrorists or Mass Murders.” I did this because I knew that many of the mass murders—such as the man in Connecticut, the guy in Colorado last year, and now this man at the Navy Yard—are killing people to join the ranks of John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Son of Sam, etc.
Sadly, this issue remains painfully relevant.
These men lost their grip on reality and were/are insane. They didn’t commit such nightmarish acts for a first class ticket to the afterlife and a plethora of beautiful virgins; they are committing these horrific slaughters, in part, for the publicity.
In most locales, it is customary to have a Rape Shield Law. This shields the names of rape victims from the press. These Rape Shield Laws were found unconstitutional. However, most newspapers and television stations do not report victims’ names, nor should they. I was relieved to see Time did not disclose that First Class Midshipman’s name who had to endure an Article 52 hearing, (ironically) at (now crime scene) Navy Yard two or three weeks ago.
Again, I want you to assist me in taking on a project for the avocation of a non-binding resolution from each state legislature and Congress that requests journalists and law enforcement agencies not to report the names of suspected or convicted mass murder or those who may have attempted the same.
I ask law enforcement to abide by these guidelines by not reporting the names of suspects or the convicted terrorist or mass murderer. I would ask the press not to publish names of suspects of these people or the names of those convicted.
I need assistance because I want Congress and all state legislatures to pass Joint Resolutions supporting this idea. Then no jihadist or person with a mental defect could be assured their name would be reported in the press, their families could live without retaliation for something not in their control, etc.
I would request this anonymity no matter whether the person was under arrest, on trial or convicted and sentenced.
Please remember the most recent ricin attack and the arrest of the first man in Mississippi His name was dragged through the mud for a week and then, finally and quietly, exonerated.
Another man is under arrest for the ricin attacks and tried by the press. In the first ricin poisonings, the FBI named a physician who had worked a Ft. Detrick; he was never arrested but suffered for six years until the FBI realized they royally screwed-up. There is a new suspect in custody.
It then cost the government $6 million to pay the physician for the damage the government had caused to him, and money may help, but it will never undo the professional and personal harm he suffered.
We do not ask for a curtailment of First Amendment rights, just responsible journalism. Journalists; both in print and electronic media have abided by this code (usually) for rape victims.
It is imperative that the names of the suspects of those who shoot numerous innocent people and then commit suicide by cop or are under investigation and awaiting trial for doing these dastardly deeds do not get the publicity they may have sought.
After conviction, people guilty of mass killings should not be remembered. Their victims should be remembered.
Our society should shun the killers. Let’s not give them another fifteen minutes of fame when/if they are injected with lethal drugs. Let’s just forget the names of the people who commit senseless acts of violence such as these.
An appropriate epitaph that could be reported on the news could easily be “The man convicted of the Boston Marathon bombing was put to death yesterday;” or, “The man found not-guilty by reason of insanity in the case of the Colorado Theater shootings died in custody yesterday of natural causes.”