Sunday, July 22, 2012

How to Discourage Aurora Copy Cats? (A Response)

A response to an article on The Atlantic:

Yuk! Where do I begin to critique this article?
  • I have read analyses that show that increased, broadly reported media portrayal decrease the likelihood of copycats. Other than the common belief, do you have any facts or studies regarding copycats?
  • You actually assume the usual simplistic analyses of loneliness and retaliation. It is more likely that Holmes failure in his Ph.D. program was an indication of a faltering ego, of someone slipping into mental illness, rather than the cause of his action
  • You believe Holmes is gratified at seeing his picture plastered across the media. That is true, only as far as any psychotic might be gratified to see his own picture.
  • His picture is disrespectful to victims? This is simply more pandering to the masses and that is usually just a justification for vigilantism, more of the punitive justice system that has failed for so long.
  • Certainly empathy matters, and concern for the current and future welfare of those impacted is good, but as mentioned, the concern for victims is typically used to for abrogate the accused’s' rights, and by punishing some even more severely. Instead, how about something that might reduce or solve the problem, like government-provided mental health services, or if you go along with the simplistic idea the cause was that he was a loser and alienated, why not just have true government-supported educational system. And as always, there is gun control.
Nothing that you would suggest, or that this government will do, will stop these crimes. There will always be psychoses. There will always be the disaffected and alienated. There is the internet, with its bounty of information about almost anything you might not want someone to know. Even the actions that might reduce the likelihood of these crimes are not even on the table, considering the loons that form the Republican party.

What are our options?
  • Gun control, not even a ban, just simply registering weaponry?
  • Cracking down on the small number of suppliers supplying most illegal guns?
  • Single payer health care, and the related mental health services?
  • Laws, or even administrative action, against bullying?
  • Republicans coming to their senses and joining the 21st century?
  • Cogent, broadly handled, analyses of the illness that these crimes entail?
How about we just throw a big party and invite everyone, taking special care to make the outsiders feel liked? There is no chance anything of real value will happen anyway...

A Journey — if You Dare — Into the Minds of Silicon Valley Programmers

My responses in a NY Times comment section for the book, Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson ...