Cable news networks and their affiliated news websites today note the one week anniversary of the mass murder of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Headlines and leads such as "Remembering the Victims" imply that media coverage of the tragedy had moved on to other issues and now has returned to see how the families of the victims are fairing.
Media coverage of Sandy Hook never really left. Initial reports of the details of the events one week ago (including lots of speculation) were followed in succession by introductions to the victims one by one, reactions by families, friends, and co-workers, re-introductions to the victims one by one as the funerals began, inquiries about the perpetrator, and the obligatory call for a "national dialogue" on guns.
That is part of the problem.
Obviously the outrageous crime was a newsworthy event. The combination of the natural human emotional reaction to suffering and the desire for viewer ratings have conspired, however, to turn coverage into a 24 hour a day spectacle. This sets the stage for future tragedies perpetrated by lunatics like Adam Lanza.
No one knows why Adam Lanza murdered a classroom full of children. We probably will never know. On a superficial level, Lanza and previous perpetrators of similar crimes seem to be self-absorbed youths possessing no social skills, enjoying few friends, wallowing in self-pity, and harboring an intense resentment that no one notices them.
After the commission of their horrific crimes, however, the mainstream media finds them simply fascinating.
When all is said and done, isn't this really what it is all about?
If you can't enjoy fame, why not infamy?