We shouldn’t name mass killers, scientists say - it encourages more attacks

Rob Waugh
What will happen to the Las Vegas shooter’s room at Mandalay Bay?

When naked ‘streakers’ or other pitch invaders run onto a football field, most TV channels don’t screen them – because to do so encourages others to try it.

Should we be doing the same with mass killers?

Yes, according to group of 147 behaviour experts including criminologists, sociologists and psychologists, who have written an open letter suggesting that media stop publishing names and photographs of mass killers.

Adam Lankford of the University of Alabama, is one of the authors of the letter, and told Live Science, ‘They want to be celebrities.

‘We know that some of these offenders have said things like, ‘The more you kill, the more you’ll be known,’ and ‘Someone who is known by no one will be known by everyone.’


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Lankford, who conducted a cross-country study of mass killings in 171 countries, says that this may have been a factor in the attack in Las Vegas this week.

Mandalay Bay resort and casino towers over the festival area.

Lankford told the San Francisco Chronicle, ‘The (Las Vegas) shooter’s father was on America’s Most Wanted list, so if ever there was a kid who grew up knowing that crimes can get you a lot of attention, it was him.

‘He clearly had a sense of what kind of media attention this would get. … The offenders realize if they want fame, they have to kill as many as possible.’