Stop treating mass murderers like celebrities!

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Dec 01, 2015

Has the New York Times ever run your life story? No, you say? They haven't run mine, either.

Have you ever gone on a shooting spree and killed several people? No? That's something else we have in common. And that's why the Times doesn't pay attention to us. 

Today's Times has a long story about the man arrested for a murderous rampage in Colorado. No, I won't provide a link, and I hope you won't read the article. And No, I won't mention the name of the alleged killer. But if you're curious, the Times will furnish you with photos of his seedy homes, quotes from his girlfriends, a rundown of his disconnected thoughts on religion, politics, and other matters. 

Why do "respectable" media outlets continue to give exhaustive coverage to killers? What purpose does the Times profile serve, apart from the obvious appeal to morbid curiosity? Other than law-enforcement officials, who really needs to know about the background and habits-- much less the chaotic thought processes-- of an accused mass murderer? 

Sure, the profile might sell a few newspapers. Against that, balance the possibility that there's some lonely, troubled man out there somewhere, reading the Times story, and thinking that although the world has never paid him much notice, he's finally figured out how to command public attention. 

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: nix898049 - Dec. 03, 2015 5:14 PM ET USA

    Bingo! And today, more than ever. And stop this incessant pleading of WHY? Evil is IRRATIONAL. Got it? Just remember, the worst crime ever committed was on Good Friday. And we know how that turned out. Veni Emmanuel!

  • Posted by: bruno.cicconi7491 - Dec. 03, 2015 3:32 PM ET USA

    And the worst part is that it is clear that this kind of crime multiplies itself as a result of media coverage. When will the media make an assessment of its own responsibility in such atrocities?