When the media decided to provide a massive platform to the Columbine school shooters in order to score ratings and push for gun control, they set off a wave of copycat killings whose true death toll may be all but impossible to calculate.
Because it continues to grow.
The latest mass shooter in Bend, Oregon, a small city, has left behind what some say is a manifesto. It’s more of a diary which is just as stupid and nihilistic as you expect a mass shooter’s diary to be composed of his diatribes about having to work for a living, conformity, Nine Inch Nails lyrics, anti-religion rants, boasts about how evil he is, lots of pot smoking, complaints about government oppression, incel stuff about women denying him love, and repeated references to Columbine.
Like so many mass shooters, there were two key points
1. Viewing Columbine as a model
2. A desire to equal or top the kill count from Columbine and previous massacres by killing ten or twenty people
That kind of mass murder ‘gamification’ comes up a lot with mass shooters. And the chain repeatedly traces back to Columbine. While that was not the only mass shooting ever, a certain kind of mass shooter, young, impelled by malicious nihilism, and self-destructive pop culture feels drawn to it, trying to beat their total like it’s an arcade high score.
The media will talk a lot about the gunman’s AR-15. It will ignore his ramblings about how much pot he was smoking. Guns don’t alter your state of mind, drugs do. And it won’t stop to look in the mirror and assess how much its own glamorization and promotion of mass shooters beginning with Columbine had to do with it.
In Bend, Oregon, the mass shooter never got anywhere close to his desired death toll of 10-20 dead or his conviction that he would be known nationwide. And that’s good. Mass shooters shouldn’t have names and they shouldn’t be made famous, but it will take a lot more than that to put what the media unleashed in Columbine back in the box.