Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Huffington Post on Copycats

In looking for the various factors involved in the recent wave of "rampage shootings," The Huffington Post columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson posted his thoughts on the afternoon of Friday, April 10, 2009.

Huffington Post's Political Analyst and Social Issues Commentator, it was good to read, briefly reviewed the influence of copycats in conjunction with these events.

Here is an excerpt of the copycat reflections, from Mr. Hutchinson's posting, "No Easy Answer to Mass Killing Wave," The Huffington Post, April 10, 2009 | 02:28 PM (EST):
Suicide prevention and school violence researcher Loren Coleman examined the media saturation coverage of the school shootings in the late 1990s topped by Columbine. He found a direct cause and effect relation between them.

In his book How The Media and Popular Culture Trigger The Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines, Coleman found that the copycat killings followed a regular temporal pattern that repeated themselves after a primary media event in a day, a week, two weeks, a month, or a year. He further found that the copycat killings imitate the previous violent attacks, oftentimes down to specific details that mirror the previous specifics of the shooter, the victims, and the methods. He dubbed the mass killings "celebrity" events and noted they have a far-reaching impact and modeling effect. In other words, the killers knew they'd get their proverbial fifteen minutes of fame, and killed with impunity.

Days after the Binghamton killings, a gunman shot up the Korean Christian retreat center in Temecula in Orange County, California. Investigators gave no reason for the shooting. However, the proximity in time to the Binghamton shooting made it possible that Binghamton could have been a trigger.

Note: It is always good to begin the discussion anywhere, even if the proper title of my book is not given, and I appreciate Earl Ofari Hutchinson's overview.

As readers here know, of course, the full and correct title of my book is The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines (NY: Paraview Pocket~Simon and Schuster, 2004).

Buy the book, and remember to...

Thank you for reading The Copycat Effect

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