Sunday, December 13, 2015

Puzzle piece

       No one should ever become famous for shooting innocent people. There should be no prize for terrorism. Yet it happens all the time.
       Sixteen years after the massacre at Columbine High School, most of us could name the pair of misguided teens who killed 12 students and one teacher. But how many of us remember the name of one victim?
        It's happening again with the San Bernadino shooting. We read every detail about the two shooters, who I refuse to name, but much less about the 14 victims. People like environmental health specialist Robert Adams or mapping expert Hal Bowman. Or Issac Amanios who immigrated to America from Eritrea; Vietnamese refugee Tin Nguyen or persecuted Iranian Christian Bennetta Betbadal.
         You can blame the media, but the media provides information on both the shooters and the victims. It's just easier, and maybe perversely more interesting, to talk about the shooters. We can change that. 
          Quick: who was responsible for the slaughter at the Alamo in 1836?. A few Jeopardy players may remember the Mexican general, but all of us "Remember the Alamo." You may not know the names of all the victims who died there, and you may have some misconceptions from the movie versions, but the focus is always on the victims. "Remember the Alamo" became a call to action, not because of the media reports but because of the public groundswell.
         It's a behavior modification technique every mother knows. Ignore bad behavior, praise the good. Don't give shooters the attention they crave. 

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