In an op-ed in the New York Times (8/28, Tufekci, Subscription Publication), contributing opinion writer Zeynep Tufekci argues that the media should change the way it covers mass shootings to decrease the likelihood of copycats. Citing an FBI study, Tufekci says that would-be shooters often seek inspiration from past attacks.
The media can limit the flow of inspiration, Tufekci says, by voluntarily monitoring what information is disseminated. What’s more, “psychiatrists agree with the FBI’s conclusion and statistical studies.”
Eight years ago after the shootings at Virginia Tech, “the American Psychiatric Association weighed in, saying that ‘the scientific evidence in this area is clear.’” Specifically, the “APA said that publicizing these materials ‘seriously jeopardizes the public’s safety by potentially inciting ‘copycat’ suicides, homicides and other incidents.’”
— “The Virginia Shooter Wanted Fame. Let’s Not Give It to Him.,” Zeynep Tufekci, New York Times, August 27, 2015.