More Celebrity Killers Means More Killers, Period

posted on July 28, 2015

Possibly showing an unexpected flash of reason, NBC News says that reporting of dreadful events does inspire copycats. And such perverse motivation isn’t trivial: As many as 20 to 30 percent of these events are inspired by reporting, according to a new study from Arizona State University and Northeastern Illinois University.

Got that? Very nearly a third. Worse, it shouldn’t be news: The Atlantic (2012), The Guardian (2006) and Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (2002) support the same conclusions.

Assistant Professor Zeynep Tufekci of the University of North Carolina suggests: a) law enforcement should not release details about methods; b) social media presence of perpetrators should be removed; c) the names of the killer(s) should not immediately be released; and d) immediate interviews of survivors and the families of victims should be stopped.

The common thread is a simple one: Stop aggrandizing ghastly behavior, and we’re likely to get less—maybe far less—of it.

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