His main point is that understanding the perpetrators can help us prevent future tragedies
WashPo national editor: "We believe that comprehensive information about those responsible for mass shootings and other horrendous events informs the public debate." (...) there’s a considerable journalistic imperative in retracing Mercer’s steps and, indeed, the steps of previous mass shooters. Serious biographical work can highlight breakdowns and missed opportunities that could have prevented the tragedy. (...) deep investigation by news organizations into Mercer’s life is a public service
The problem with this argument is that you could have the name available via the police department to interested parties without plastering it all over the news. It's the fallacy of the false dilemma.
He quotes someone who makes the point that not all of these people say they did the shooting because they'd seen another one in the media
Doris Fuller of the Treatment Advocacy Center told the Erik Wemple Blog: “Jared Loughner [charged in the January 2011 killings in Tucson] — he wasn’t copying anyone. He was acting on his own internal stimulation. [Seung Hui] Cho at Virginia Tech, the Fort Hood killings — these people weren’t copying someone else. They were acting on their own delusions and their own illness. . . . These people tend to have their own unique delusional worlds when they’re ill. One person is paranoid, one person thinks he can save the world.”
The problem is that they do it to get ratings...
And having Congress pass a law might set a dangerous precedent. I'm not sure if it would be legal.
One thing I'm kind of disappointed that I don't see mentioned more often is that from around the '60s until around the '80s there was apparently a wave of serial killers, and these killers would be covered heavily by the news. It seems likely to me that the news coverage was tipping people into this kind of behavior who would not otherwise have behaved so drastically. It seems likely that they were seeing the news and seeing that the killer had not been found and it would lead them to think, "Oh, I should try that".
It seems repressive regimes take at least two kinds of approaches to dealing with this kind of aberrant behavior from dissidents: they either 1) don't give the dissident much attention, for example disappearing the person without any mention in the news, or 2) make a brutal example of the dissident (e.g. executing them in public, displaying their corpse in public, etc.). But I can't think of them ever doing what the US organizations do with mass shooters and serial killers.
It seems to me that it might be better to instead have some kind of service that people can sign up for that will tell them about crimes that have happened around them, so people can get the safety benefit the news organizations allegedly offer but without the sensationalism of the news. Alternatively, it might be possible to 'fix' the news reports by making sure they can't do certain things, like showing the person's name, face, etc.
Summary of the crime: a Japanese guy took a rental truck and drove it into a crowd of people, and then jumped out and started stabbing people.
This was pretty interesting because the guy who committed the crime admitted that he did it because he felt ugly and had no friends and was angry at society.
"I don't have a single friend and I won't in the future. I'll be ignored because I'm ugly. I'm lower than trash because at least the trash gets recycled."
He also made reference to another stabbing spree, which is clear evidence that these guys are getting inspired by each other.
"His motive was to vent his pent-up anger at society and demonstrate to all his tormentors, including people he claimed had been harassing him in an Internet forum, of the consequences of their actions."