Ask any expert on the topic and you’ll find them saying that the news media shouldn’t focus on the shooters in a mass shooting. Rather, they should focus on the victims. Focusing on the shooter, as is often done, only gives the shooter the fame he often desires and inspires copycat shooters. Already, there have been copycat threats stopped since the Florida shooting due to the media attention the shooter and entire incident has received.
I want to focus here on the victims and survivors, like the experts suggest we do. It’s true, most of them are teens. But they turn out to be highly intelligent and articulate teens. They are currently dealing with going through a massive trauma, but many of them are raising their voices against gun violence.
When experts suggest we focus on the victims and survivors, I have taken it to mean that we should show our sympathy, attend a candlelight vigil, mourn for the loss of life and assist in healing the existing trauma. I’m not saying not to do any of that. But when the survivors insist we pay attention to gun violence and its reduction, I think there’s a place to assist there, too.
The young people who have spoken up against gun violence have been targeted for smear campaigns. They have been called names, accused of being too young and stupid to know what they are talking about, and more. These kids have just gone through a terrible tragedy and they are being targeted by more powerful, older, and often wealthier people. Seriously?
I want to take a moment and ask you to focus on the victims and survivors. Listen to what the survivors are saying. Pay attention to them. Give them some credit, by golly, because not all of us can go through something so terrible, have the nerve to speak up, and withstand smear campaigns.
Listen to the kids. They are alright.