An op-ed published in The Los Angeles Times on Sunday documented the staggering amount of free media publicity that news organizations like CNN give mass shooters in the wake of tragedies and how that free publicity is driving the frequency and lethality of the tragedies.
The article was authored by James Densley, a sociologist and professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University, and Jillian Peterson, a psychologist and professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline University.
“Studies estimate that in the aftermath of their attacks, mass killers receive approximately $75 million in free media coverage, a level professional athletes and Hollywood actors would envy,” Densley and Peterson wrote. “For men who feel angry, alienated and anonymous, the incentives to perform are appealing. And bigger body counts mean bigger headlines. One recently thwarted shooter posted that, ‘A good 100 kills would be nice,’ and another wanted to ‘break a world record.'”
Other researchers, who have been admitted gun-control advocates, have found that gun-control is not the answer and will likely solve nothing with respect to the mass tragedies that are happening.
Statistician Leah Libresco wrote in The Washington Post in 2017 that she used to wish that “the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.”
“Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way,” Libresco wrote. “We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.”