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The press should not pay attention to killers

The tragedy that occurred in Winter Haven, Fla., is a sober reminder of the power children can wield with today’s social media. The need for two disturbed children to publicly bully a girl, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, to the point of suicide, then shamelessly broadcast their indifference illustrates that, for some, shock value trumps conscience.

In reporting this story, the Associated Press has been careful not to publish the names of the accused minors, stating repeatedly that it is not their practice to do so. I wholeheartedly agree. I do not ever need to know their names or see their faces. But why doesn’t the AP have a similar policy with mass-shooter cases?

Sitting here I can recall the faces and names of the Boston bombers, I can remember the name of the Sandy Hook shooter and what the shooter wore in the movie theater in Colorado. But I have to wrack my brain to think of the names of one of their innocent victims. Not because I do not want to, but because the names were repeated so much in the reporting.

Case in point: underneath the article on the Florida case was a story about the heroism of a 6-year-old Sandy Hook victim, Jessie Lewis, who tried to warn his classmates to run. Even in that brief article, the murderer was named.

Whether mental illness or simple evil is the motivation, these killers go out very publicly for a reason. They know their names and faces will be immortalized by our press. Why doesn’t the AP refer to them in a manner that both denies their wish and describes the act for what it is? Refer to the accused as “the coward” each and every time.

Tony Duggan

Buffalo