School Shootings

As reports have poured in over the last month, it seems that there has been a school shootings nearly every week and in the case of the most recent shootings, two, with the cases in Texas and Arizona. The causes for this are varied but throughout these it is beneficial to see the responses by all spheres of society, with colleges and their preparations coming to the forefront of conversation. In a month that is usually marked by a peaceful transition into the winter months, this is a marked contrast that has been on the rise in past years. Many sources mark the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school as the beginning point in this statistical increase of such crimes, showing an With many people racing to offer a commentary on this growing trend, there is a wide divide between how these events are being interpreted. Though it is difficult to wade through the topic without running into a slurry of opinions, there is a needed memorial of what has occurred and of those tragically involved in such events. With around 30 school shootings occurring in 2014, and with that number nearly being met already, only three fourths of the way into the year, there is a growing need to ensure the memory of the victims of these attacks. Though there are numerous people affected throughout these crimes, it is most commonly the name of the shooter that classifies the way it is portrayed in the news. Events like these, though reported in a negative light, still serve to provide infamy to those who commit the crimes, driving others to do the same. In a movement that has had a vastly positive public response, there has been a challenge made to the media to not focus on the name of the shooter but rather the heroic actions of those being attacked. The families and friends of the victims of the recent shooting in Roseburg, Oregon have called for this kind of treatment by the media, and initially this could be seen throughout the early coverage of the event. Even once the public knew the name of the shooter Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer those reporting, still focused heavily on the names of those killed and injured.

It is shown that, the main thing that has inspired these actions is the infamy that has been shown to follow. Harper-Mercer displayed this in a post on a forum, he made about Vester Flanagan, the former television news employee who shot his collogues on a live news report. He said “ I have noticed that so many people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are. A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone.” This displays the mentality of many such criminals, and perhaps a problem in the reporting of such crimes. This kind of coverage is appealing to many unstable outcasts who want to be heard, even at the cost of their lives and other’s. An easier story to make from the events in Oregon would be the heroics of Army veteran Chris Mintz, who pulled a fire alarm and shielded the door of his classroom, taking a few bullets, to save his classmates.

Though it is difficult to simplify these events and the rise of such crimes to one cause, as some have tried to do, it is evident in the comments made by these criminals that the way the shooters are portrayed by media needs to change as it gradually is. Besides changes to media depiction, there are other preparations that need to be made, as ENMU has shown in the way that they have made policies on campus to prevent such attacks, colleges are starting to take safety measures in response to the rise of these crimes. From the building of Guadalupe, with staggered hallways, to smaller measures such as and text alert system, ENMU has taken effective steps to minimize the danger that would occur if such an attack occurred. Though there are many differing opinions on how to effectively deal with this growing problem, it is evident that there is a needed sensitivity to both the victims of such crimes and their families as well as taking precautions to minimalize future occurrences.

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