After 45 years of professionally representing criminals, the mentally ill and social outcasts, I have come to believe that almost every “lone wolf” or “copycat killer” comes to a choice between suicide in silent solitude or becoming a notorious media star.
My answer is for newspapers and television to stop publicizing the names and aims of these killers, at least until their trials.
Do not try to justify media complicity as a First Amendment free-speech right. The law prohibits yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, so why shouldn’t greater protection be available to our dying kids?
There is a precedent for my idea. The number of subway suicides in Vienna, Austria, declined when the government, media and health professionals got together and agreed to minimize coverage of these incidents.
Fayette County judge-executive