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Monday, January 10, 2011

Media miss the boat on this high profile shooting

Most crimes are seen in the US as being cause by individual level factors.

The recent murder of innocent civilians and the assassination attempt of a member of Congress is no exception.

Yes, there has been focus on what political elites said prior to the shooting, suggesting a possible link between their words and this guy's actions. And there is a storm brewing in the press about "toning down the political rhetoric."

Now, the focus is shifting to the shooter, his background, his motivations. And the blame is being laid squarely at his feet. Take this recent story as an excellent example:

While this fits nicely with our belief in free will, the fact remains that individual behavior always has a context. And the context here is this man has a long history of mental problems for which he never got help. This is a failure on us as a people.

Rather than focusing on this context, the new media instead tell us how crazy he was, and oh yeah, did you know he killed a federal judge (and that four other federal judges have been killed in our history). And he is being defended by a public defender who also defended two other high profile, crazy killers?

Once again, the media miss the boat on this story.

1 comment:

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    Misses the boat