So much punditry on media, so many facile views, so little understanding of media’s heavy burden of responsibility. This is from an NPR interview with Dr. Joshua Sparrow a child psychiatrist and the head of outpatient psychiatry at Childrenâ€™s Hospital in Boston, one of the top hospitals specializing in pediatric care, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, and Director of Special Initiatives at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, i.e. he’s somebody who actually knows something about what’s at stake. Dr. Sparrow talked about the potential impact of unfettered distribution of “content” from the Virginia Tech shooter’s “multimedia manifesto”:
NPR: Thereâ€™s the story itself, which was horrific enough, but then weâ€™ve the impact of the video that was made by the shooter, and that has been repeating over and over again. Does that have a particular impact on children to see this young man in what almost looks like a movie pose.
Dr. Sparrow: I have a number of concerns about that. First of all, we have seen in previous school shootings and now with this one too the copycat phenomenon, and I donâ€™t want to speculate about what was going on this young manâ€™s mind, but one can perhaps speculate that he was hungry to be heard. In fact, dying to be heard, if he went to this trouble to video himself and send it off in the midst of the killings. We also know that this young man, like some of the others, was very fascinated by other mass murders. So by providing children and adolescents with all of this exposure, I think we run the risk of feeding that kind of curiosity in the very, very small number of children.