This is the time of year where high school students should be worried about exams, college applications and seeing friends and families over the holidays. But, for the students of Arapahoe High School, they must instead deal with the aftermath of 80 minutes of terror after an armed gunman stormed their school. One of their classmates, Claire Davis, is still in a comatose state at Littleton Adventist Hospital. Our thoughts are with her, her family and her classmates.
The usual media pattern following a tragedy such as this is to figure out as much as we possibly can about the perpetrator. Who this person was, what the motivation was and how the materials to carry out the tragedy were procured.
There are stories that are already reflecting this pattern. Headlines and lead sentances drip with words like “rampage” and “revenge,” vivid depictions of what the shooter was armed with, what he planned to do and furious speculation as to why he wanted to do this in the first place.
This is something that needs to stop. It only serves to transform the gunman into a celebrity, and the coverage overshadows the people who are most affected by this tragedy. There is only one group of people that need to be focused on in the aftermath of a shooting: the victims and their families.
Their tragedy is something that cannot be eclipsed, and it is the responsibility of those of us in media to make sure that it doesn’t.