Friday, May 30, 2014

I'd like to start a movement

It's unusual for us to receive an event that pushes so many buttons all at once, which we now have in the case of the UCSB tragedy. Elliot Rodger killed six people and in doing so ignited controversy all over the blogosphere, touching on feminism, men's rights, pickup artistry, gun control, mental health, and more. Relevant blogs have been buzzing around the clock and will probably have enough material to blog for weeks. I too, have quite a bit to say on this matter.

But before I get to all that I want to establish a rule, and I wish that everyone would follow it. The rule is that we only use the killer's name once (and only if necessary).

The rest of the time we refer to him simply as "the idiot." Let me explain.

When these things happen, the media always focuses on the perpetrator. A few well-intentioned activists can campaign for responsible media coverage but even if official news sources went silent, in the age of social media, you can be sure that information would get out there anyway. So let's change the information. Let's change how we talk about this. There are many reasons someone might kill, some of them I might even sympathize with. But no matter what those reasons are, there is no excuse for indiscriminate murder. And so we should call this man, and others like him, what they are: idiots. They should be ridiculed endlessly after they're gone, in the media, on blogs, and in newspapers. Any would-be killer should be able to open YouTube and see his potential fate as a laughing stock of history. He won't be a villain. He'll be a joke. And maybe, he might even think twice.

Look at this screencap of a video from ABC News:

"Inside the mind of a killer." "Who was Elliot Rodger?" "Chilling manifesto." Such gravitas. Such importance and mythologizing of one who doesn't deserve it. Wouldn't this be so much better?

Unprofessional? Not if we make it policy. We don't negotiate with terrorists and we don't pay any respect to fools like this. Speculation and mythologizing fuel their life after death. In truth we cannot deny their immortality. But we can steal their dignity.

C Tran