Mass shootings: when are we going to have a conversation about the “copy-cat” effect?
There are well-documented links to the increase in suicides following a well-publicized one (called the Werther Effect) covered by sociologist David Phillips in his paper “The Influence of Suggestion on Suicide: Substantive and Theoretical Implications of the Werther Effect”
This was also discussed in a Freakonmics Podcast – the effect of stopping publication of jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge based on the following: “In 1995, when the number of bridge suicides approached 1,000 and a radio disc jockey offered a case of Snapple to the family of the 1,000th jumper, Mr. Holmes, then assistant coroner for Marin County, contacted the radio station and persuaded local newspapers to stop reporting totals because he did not want to encourage more suicides.” [Wikipedia]
Since then, you will not find articles or reference to specific jumpers off the GG Bridge in any of the major publications surrounding the Bay.
Now my point:
The recent widely-publicized mass shootings have memorialized the shooters, their pictures, history, back-stories, family history – you get it. Like Germany (yes, it’s the law there that perps’ names aren’t reported), we can still report the horror of the occurrence, and continue to try to implement other solutions that are widely debated, but let’s stop giving these individuals recognition, stop splashing their names and pictures all over, stop giving them the notoriety that others may, in turn, seek.