The Washington Post is facing mounting backlash after promoting the video footage of the Parkland shooter declaring his intention to murder at least 20 people so the world will finally know his name.
"It's going to be a big event," the mass shooter said in the newly released cellphone videos. "And when you see me on the news, you'll all know who I am." The soon-to-be mass murderer went on to describe himself as "nothing" and "no one," but made clear that his murderous act would win him fame. "I had enough of people telling me I'm an idiot and a dumbass...you will all know who my name is. With the power of my AR you will all know who I am."
The Post acknowledges in its report that the shooter was clearly motivated by a desire to have his name spread by the media, and even cites concerns by Parkland survivors that promoting his name and image would only inspire more mass shootings.
"In his boasts about becoming famous, the teen touched on something that has worried survivors of shootings and their relatives alike," the Post reports. "Some have called for news organizations to limit their coverage of mass killers to take away the very infamy those attackers describe as a draw. Survivors of the Parkland attack made a similar argument Wednesday, pleading for attention to be paid to the victims rather than their attacker."
Undeterred, the Post chose to promote his name, image, and videos, thus effectively playing into his twisted scheme. Below is an edited screenshot of the Post's tweet promoting its write-up of the new video confessions (name redacted and image photoshopped):
In backlash first chronicled by Twitchy, users slammed the Post for its "reckless" reporting. Some edited screenshots of the posts below (shooter's name redacted):
On February 19, 2018, a few days after the horrific Parkland shooting, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro announced that this site will no longer publish the names or images of mass shooters, which includes would-be mass shooters. The reason, as Shapiro explained, and as the Parkland shooter's videos underscore, is that studies have found that mass shooters are often motivated by a desire to be famous.
On Thursday, Parkland survivor and Second Amendment advocate Kyle Kashuv co-wrote an op-ed for The Daily Wire providing some of the empirical evidence supporting the conclusion that publicizing the names and images of mass shooters promotes more shootings:
Empirical evidence supports the conclusion that publicizing the names of mass shooters promotes more mass murders. A 2016 paper presented to the American Psychological Association concludes that a “cross-cutting trait among many profiles of mass shooters is desire for fame.” An Arizona State University study found that shootings occurred in “clusters,” meaning that there is evidence to suggest “mass shootings, publicized in the media, may have a contagious effect.” The combined weight of these studies merits serious consideration on the value of publishing the names and faces of mass shooters versus the potential danger of inspiring future killers.
We know this desire to be famous to be the motivation of many killers by their own words. The Parkland killer recorded his plans on his cellphone before the shooting, declaring, “When you see me on the news, you’ll all know who I am.” The Sutherland Springs shooter was also “obsessed with mass murders,” calling them “cool” and wishing he had the “nerve” to commit one. The Virginia Tech shooter prior to his rampage in 2007 mailed a video manifesto to local news, a video that they played for their audience, solidifying his place in mass shooting infamy. Fame played a role in the minds of these mass shooters; it’s imperative to snuff out the sinister aspirations of potential mass shooters by refusing to give perpetrators the notoriety and fame they seek.