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  • Every parent's worst nightmare:

  • July 20, 2012,

  • my phone rings at 4:30 in the morning.

  • It's my son Alex's girlfriend, Amanda,

  • saying hysterically,

  • "Tom, Tom, there's been a shooting,

  • and they dragged me out of the theater.

  • They wouldn't let me stay.

  • I wanted to [stay], but they dragged me out."

  • I say to Amanda,

  • "Amanda, are you OK? Have you been hurt?"

  • And she said no, that she was fine,

  • that Alex had saved her life.

  • I then say,

  • "Amanda, where's Alex?"

  • And she says, sobbing,

  • "I don't know, we can't find him.

  • They dragged me out of the theater.

  • They made me leave.

  • He was shot.

  • I tried to wake him up, but I couldn't wake him up.

  • He wouldn't get up.

  • They dragged me away. I didn't want to leave him."

  • And I say to Amanda,

  • "The last time you saw Alex,

  • was he bleeding?

  • Did you have any of his blood on you?"

  • And she cries, "Yeah, a lot,"

  • and breaks down.

  • Alex loved Amanda.

  • And he was one of the most honorable men on earth,

  • and at the age of 24,

  • he had to make the decision to risk his life

  • in order to ensure she would live.

  • I knew in my heart if he couldn't get up,

  • he was dead.

  • I had just arrived

  • the night before

  • with my wife Caren

  • and my youngest son

  • for a week's vacation in Hawaii.

  • We were literally

  • 3,300 miles away.

  • Caren and I frantically started calling his cell phone,

  • to no avail.

  • We left multiple messages.

  • We then turned to the media.

  • But all we could find

  • was information on the murderer

  • and his booby-trapped apartment.

  • We tried calling the Aurora police station,

  • but it was impossible to get an answer.

  • But in hindsight, it was understandable.

  • They were dealing with

  • 12 dead, 70 injured,

  • the carnage so bad,

  • the police had to bring some of the victims to the hospitals

  • in the backs of their police cars,

  • because they had run out of ambulances.

  • It was a horrific and chaotic scene.

  • We would never see Alex again,

  • his injuries so severe

  • I had to shield even his mom

  • from looking upon him,

  • for fear that would be the lasting image of him in her mind.

  • But you know who we would see again and again?

  • The murderer.

  • His pictures were everywhere.

  • One article was six paragraphs long

  • and featured his name 41 times.

  • The media had made him famous.

  • But my firstborn son, Alex,

  • a hero,

  • was absent from those initial reports.

  • Caren and I immediately realized that there was something wrong

  • with the way the media responds to these random mass shootings

  • since Columbine.

  • We started doing research,

  • and we realized

  • that if we could change

  • the way the media reports,

  • we could reduce the amount of shootings

  • and save lives.

  • (Applause)

  • Let me explain.

  • Almost every single random mass shooter

  • has something in common.

  • Can anybody guess what that is?

  • They want notoriety.

  • They want to be famous.

  • In fact,

  • these murderers are telling us this themselves.

  • The Sandy Hook murderer

  • kept a spreadsheet

  • of previous mass murderers and their number of kills.

  • The Orlando Pulse nightclub murderer

  • called a local news station --

  • during his attack! --

  • and then stopped to check Facebook to see if he'd gone viral.

  • The Parkland murderer

  • recorded and posted

  • a video

  • stating,

  • "When you see me on the news, you'll know who I am."

  • The Aurora theater murderer told his psychiatrist

  • that he recognized he couldn't make an impact on the world in science,

  • but he could become famous

  • by blowing people up.

  • And most telling,

  • the Umpqua Community College murderer

  • wrote on his blog about a previous mass murderer,

  • saying,

  • "I've noticed that people like him

  • are all alone and unknown,

  • but when they spill a little blood,

  • the whole world knows who they are."

  • A man who was known by no one is now known by everyone,

  • his face splashed across every screen,

  • his name on the lips

  • of everyone on the planet,

  • all in one day.

  • It seems like the more people you kill,

  • the more you're in the limelight.

  • These are just a few examples.

  • I could go on and on.

  • These murderers are telling us they want to be famous

  • like the murderers before them,

  • and the media continues to give them exactly what they seek:

  • notoriety.

  • The gun debate is very emotional,

  • and our mental health issues are very complicated.

  • Both will take time to correct.

  • But to reduce the carnage,

  • we don't need an act of Congress.

  • What we need is an act of conscience

  • on the producers and consumers of mass media

  • to remove the reward of notoriety.

  • (Applause)

  • So to save lives,

  • Caren and I launched "No Notoriety,"

  • dedicated to challenging the media

  • to protect our communities

  • by adhering to these research-backed principles.

  • One: report all the facts

  • on the mindset,

  • demographics

  • and motivational profile of these shooters,

  • but minimize their names and images,

  • unless they're at large.

  • Two: limit the use of the shooter's name

  • to once per piece,

  • never in the headlines

  • and no pictures in prominent locations.

  • And three --

  • Three.

  • (Laughter)

  • I'm not good with numbers.

  • (Laughter)

  • Refuse to publish any self-serving material

  • provided by the shooters.

  • (Applause)

  • To be clear:

  • this is not an infringement

  • on anyone's First Amendment rights.

  • This is not censorship.

  • We are merely asking the media

  • to leverage guidelines they already have in place.

  • For example,

  • the media does not report

  • on journalists that have been kidnapped

  • in order to protect them.

  • The media does not report

  • the names and images

  • of victims of sexual assault or suicide.

  • These responsible journalistic practices

  • protect public safety

  • with zero impact

  • on the public's right to know.

  • Academic studies show

  • that the average news consumer

  • wants to hear less about the shooters.

  • Instead,

  • the media should elevate the names and images

  • of the victims, both murdered and injured,

  • the heroes

  • and the first responders.

  • They should --

  • (Applause)

  • They should promote data and analysis

  • from experts on the fields of mental health and public safety.

  • All the experts agree.

  • The FBI,

  • the International Police Association,

  • the Major City Chiefs Association

  • and A.L.E.R.T.,

  • the law enforcement organization dedicated to training first responders

  • to stop active shooters,

  • all endorse the principles of No Notoriety.

  • In fact, in 2014,

  • the FBI started the "Don't Name Them" campaign in support of the idea.

  • The American Psychiatric Association supports reducing and minimizing

  • the identification of these shooters.

  • The idea has gone worldwide,

  • with the Prime Minister of New Zealand

  • calling for no notoriety

  • after the Christchurch shootings.

  • But as much as we want the media to change,

  • they are for-profit organizations.

  • They won't change unless we hold them accountable.

  • (Applause)

  • The media makes their money

  • from advertising

  • based on the number of viewers and clicks.

  • If we can reduce the number of viewers and clicks on any subject,

  • the media will change the way they report on it.

  • So the next time you see any media organization --

  • print, digital, radio or television --

  • gratuitously leveraging the names and images of these shooters,

  • stop watching,

  • stop listening,

  • stop clicking,

  • stop liking

  • and stop sharing.

  • Write to the producers,

  • editors, station managers and CEOs

  • of these news organizations.

  • Take note of the advertisers who support those segments

  • and write to their CEOs.

  • Because together,

  • we can push the media to act in the interest

  • of public safety,

  • not profits.

  • It's too late for Alex,

  • and it's too late for my family.

  • But please don't join our club by inaction,

  • the club nobody wants to join.

  • The due's too high.

  • Because it's not too late

  • for people who aren't victims yet.

  • We have the power

  • to reduce random mass shootings.

  • Let's use it.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

Every parent's worst nightmare:

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Stop making mass shooters famous | Tom Teves

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/06
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