Ignore the Media Circus

Give the kids around us the love and attention they deserve

By Lyle Olsen

Teachers can learn much from their students. I learned some individuals will do anything for attention. Anything! And we’re not talking enough about how this can lead to mass murders.

Attention is a basic human need. Growing up, we discover positive and appropriate ways to satisfy this need. Or not. Lately we’ve watched athletes basking in Olympic glory and heard their stories of working their behinds off and often risking serious injury for their moment in the spotlight. Or consider the passionate and articulate youngsters taking on the gun lobby. These kids rock.

I’m convinced the kids who prefer negative attention pose little danger. They either get it figured out or live miserable lives or grow up to be president. It’s the kids who never figure out how to satisfy this need we should worry about. We’ve made it far too easy for them to make the world pay attention.

Some shooters choose suicide knowing their goal of widespread attention will be satisfied by our media circus. The concert murderer purged his past of any explanation of why he would commit an atrocity, knowing we’d be scratching our heads about him for years. He died a tragically satisfied man, convinced he had killed hundreds and believing he’d be remembered forever.

The latest shooter looks like a kid who never figured out how to connect with others and enjoy their attention. He’s getting it now. He shouldn’t be.

Decades from now, when these tragedies are rare, our media will handle them much differently. They’ll honor our right to know, but they’ll never focus on the shooter. The story will be the victims and further steps to eliminate this horror.

Our youngsters are finding ways to address this problem. Amazing kids nationwide are making sure no one at their school eats lunch alone. This one commitment will change the lives of thousands. Kids will find other solutions, but in the meantime, adults can do their part. Let’s ignore the media circus, pass common sense gun control, and give the kids around us the love and attention they deserve.

Lyle Olsen

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