Mass Killings Under The Eyes of Media and Laws

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“There Are No Lessons To Be Learned From Littleton” is an essay written by Gary Kleck, a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University, about the matter of school mass shootings involving teenage boys. By reviewing the 1 incident at a high school in Littleton, Colorado, Kleck explains his disagreement with the news media and the lawmakers in the way they deal with the happened situation.

In his essay, Kleck reveals that it is a “mistake to diagnose the causes of violence and crime” (54) immediately after a highly publicized violent event such as the mass shooting in Littleton. He points out some sufficient information such as the students’ behaviors, the schools’ roles, the parents’ responsibilities, etc that the news media does not include as they blame guns as the key contributing factor to these cluster of mass shootings. Despite the recent statistics show the declining violence of youth, school, and gun, the media still does not recognize the mass shooting in school as the only form of existing violence. Moreover, the obsessing news coverage does not only tend to make people misunderstand that school violence is increasing, but also encourage another copycat crime, in which the adolescent boys realize their chances of being known, famous, and powerful like any previous killers they read about.

Kleck’s next concern is that the news media are trying to cover these shooting stories with the preexisting news media themes, the stories seem to be exaggerated only the point they want to make and ignore the other that does not fit their themes. He emphasizes that “less than one percent of Americans who are murdered are killed in incidents with four or more dead victims and only two percent are killed in incidents with more than two victims” (55). However, the news media focuses on these school-shooting events because they are unusual and bizarre. With this kind of coverage, the solution they provide will not be relevant to the greatest number of ordinary violence.

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Kleck also points out that after these kinds of events, people are forced to make decision quickly and emotionally instead of a well thought out. He provides the examples of this with the lawmaker in Mississippi passes a law that making murder on school property a capital offense. He reveals that this law does not do anything useful to prevent this kind of event in the future. In addition, Kleck shows the improper proposal about restricting sales at gun shows, which does not fit to this form of mass killings “gun show sales have nothing to do with any of these high-profile school shootings” (56). Kleck believes that gun show restriction is not the relevant way stopping high school students to access to gun, which any eighteen-year-old teenager is eligible to buy.

At the end of his essay, Gary Kleck draws attention for the careful considerations in dealing with the bizarre crimes and odd situations, which people should be logical and fair-minded to have an accurate analysis without any effects from the new media.

Works Cited

Kleck, Gary. “There Are No Lessons To Be Learned From Littleton.”

Perspectives on Contemporary Issues

Readings Across The Curriculum, rd ed. Ed.

Katherine Anne Ackley. Boston, MA Heinle, 00. 5-58

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