Why give him “credit?”
After a previous mass shooting, a local paper declared they’d no longer grant a shooter’s final wish by covering them such that they’d go out in a blaze of glory. Those editors accurately explained that kind of publicity would only incite the next on-the-edge individual into the very same act.
But here we are coping with yet another mass murder – this one in our own backyard – and that newspaper, and the rest of the Chicago tabloids, are doing their damndest to glorify another mass murderer.
What’s the point of making him a hero to every disgruntled individual who doesn’t think they have anything to lose? What’s the point of turning him into an idol to those desperate people who wish they had the nerve to do the same thing?
I don’t get it.
I’m not saying the press could prevent these tragedies simply by withholding the shooter’s name. I’m not nearly that naïve. But there’s a reason the NFL and Major League Baseball asked the networks to avoid aiming the cameras at any nitwit who was stupid enough to run out onto the field. Since that wise decision, fan interference episodes have become virtually non-existent.
I also understand the inherent human drive to want to learn more about and try and understand the Aurora mass murderer, but it’s a fool’s errand. There have already been 43 mass shootings in this country this year and it’s only February 18. The solution isn’t a matter of understanding, though we do need to provide a better safety net for the mentally ill, it’s to keep guns out of the hands of people who’ve shown a propensity for mental illness and violence.
That certainly isn’t a 100 percent proposition, but it would be a great start.
Go ahead and honor the beyond brave Aurora Police officers who rushed towards that building and dealt with the shooter at light speed. Go ahead and explain why no one should have to fear that going to work on a Friday morning will be the last thing they ever do. Go ahead and make an argument for reasonable gun control.
But please don’t cover the shooter. It’s an utterly irresponsible journalistic act.
But the folks who politicized it are so much worse!
It’s fun when a columnist acquires new readers, but it’s equally fascinating when those first-time folks make all sorts of assumptions based on just one column. So, for the record, please let me stipulate that, while I might be a fiscal hawk, when it comes to social issues, I stand squarely with most liberals.
And being a social liberal puts me in the unique position of being able to call out my progressive counterparts when they insist on making the right seem sane by comparison.
To wit, I was more that a bit dismayed at the capacity of the usual Elgin liberal suspects to politicize the Aurora mass shooting well before we knew any of the facts. Led down the primrose path by former U-46 School Board member and self-appointed Elgin morality expert Traci Ellis – the one who called the American flag the equivalent of toilet paper – here’s how that social media conversation unfolded:
Liberals: Is there any doubt this is another disgruntled white guy with a gun going on a rampage.
Ellis: “Shot four Police officers and in custody? Welp. We know something about the shooter, don’t we?”
Reality: Um…the shooter was black and he’s dead.
Liberals: He was black? Of course, he was black! If a Caucasian man pointed a gun at the police, they would’ve taken him alive.
Ellis: “Oh! And the shooter was black which partially explains why he’s dead.”
Reality: He didn’t just point a gun at the police, he killed five co-workers and wounded five officers, most of them at long range. They had no clue about his race when they went into that building.
Liberals: My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. But obviously the shooter was driven to this kind of rage as a result of enduring a lifetime of bigotry, culminating in The Man firing him.
Reality: The shooter worked at the company for 15 years at a time when the average American job life expectancy is just 4.6 years.
Liberals: Did you know Aurora has a woman police chief! And some male law enforcement expert said this was going to be particularly emotionally tough on her. He wouldn’t have said such a scurrilous thing about a male police chief, now would he? This whole unfortunate incident is chock full of racism AND sexism! I’m outraged!
Ellis: “Several of you are slightly testy because I commented on the race of the Aurora shooter and pointed out the fact that he was black was PARTIALLY the reason he was dead. I never said it was the sole reason. For those of you who felt I was playing the “race card” (that default narrative when you want to ignore or are blind to race issues), I invite you to read this article from 2015… Just because you don’t see the race issue doesn’t mean it’s there.
Reality: No Ms. Ellis, by clearly playing the race card and being dead wrong every step of the way, you proved exactly what kind of bigot and race baiter you really are. We’re quite clear on race issues with or without your blatant BS, thank you! And for a woman who just informed the Elgin City council about what is and isn’t moral, blatantly politicizing a tragedy to press your specific agenda and getting it wrong every step of the way, makes you far worse than Donald Trump. If that’s possible.
As is par for the course, Ellis’ “progressive” posse, consisting primarily of sycophantic middle-aged white women who fawn over her every pronouncement just to be able to say “one of my best friends is black,” proceeded to tell her that, despite the evidence to the contrary, she’s always right!
Remember Elgin! City Councilmen Tish Powell and Corey Dixon regularly take their marching orders from Traci Ellis. And their singular goal is to co-opt and take over that same city council. Is that the Elgin you really want?
Here’s to those beyond brave Aurora Police officers who, with no regard for their own personal safety, dealt with a truly terrible situation in an incredibly calm, efficient and competent manner. And that kind of thing always starts with the Chief.
Well done APD!