Terror attacks and mass murders will continue, leaving news reporters with an impossible dilemma
Share This Article:
Orlando, Nice, Munich, Bavaria, Ansbach, Sagamihara, Rouen… There have been so many high-profile mass killings in the last couple of months you could be forgiven for not having been able to keep up with them all. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that the occasional atrocity will dominate the news, to the point that we’re almost desensitised to it. But over the last couple of months there has been such a spate of them that everyone has been left shell-shocked, and wondering what on earth is going on. The possible reasons why there has been this increase is on everyone’s minds – could the news coverage itself be encouraging killers to gain blood-stained infamy? Well, first of all, the numbers of attacks haven’t increased as exponentially as media may lead us to believe. When researching for a list of attacks to make sure I hadn’t missed any, I realised that if I listed all the terrorist attacks in June alone my opening paragraph would have made up half the article, and that’s not even looking at the multiple, daily US shootings. There are a horrific number of terrorist or other attacks across the world all the time, it’s just more have been close to home and particularly bloody lately. With this in mind, we must also make a distinction between terror attacks and lone wolf massacres. Attacks by so-called ISIS have a different motivation and inspiration. Though there is no doubt that the huge coverage of their attacks is part of their plan to disrupt and divide people across the world, it is only a “fortunate” side-effect for them. No one would try to claim it is their sole or main purpose. The lone killers that are later claimed by ISIS have had their already disturbed minds twisted by the brain-washing of such groups. As Gen Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA and NSA, explains, the perceived power of ISIS “allows the truly troubled and the truly dangerous to reach for a broader cause that gives meaning to their alienation.” So, with the existence of such groups, it is likely that these attacks would happen regardless of news coverage. The need for awareness of such issues outweighs the possible encouragement of the rare few. Of course, the difference between those directed by and those inspired by ISIS is an important distinction, but an almost impossible one to determine after an event, which often results in the killer’s suicide or death. When it comes to the killers who are not terror-orientated, many assume that they must be crazy. However, psychosis is not as common in serial or mass killers as popular crime media would lead us to believe. According to the FBI’s 2008 report on serial killers, for example, the majority are not insane, and in fact “evidence suggests that these crimes are often committed by individuals who – although very different from the rest of us – are completely rational”, quoting Professor Peter Hepper.
- Article continues below...
- More stories you may like...
- The “feminine hygiene” industry does not want what’s best for you
- The only relationships on Love Island 2019 worth talking about are the girls' friendships
- With crime-solving at an all time low, who’s to blame?