To the editor: I do not believe there is a dilemma with regard to reporting the identity and publishing the picture of a mass shooter (“Mass shooters seek notoriety, and we, the media, provide it. Is there another way?” column, Aug. 11).
The 1st Amendment protects the dissemination of news, as long as it’s factual. So yes, unfortunately mass shootings are newsworthy. However, there is absolutely no reason to disclose the shooter’s name or publish any personal information about him.
The media have an unwritten obligation to help protect the public. The old adage that shouting “fire” in a crowded theater is not protected by the 1st Amendment is a good analogy.
The non-publication of shooters’ names and pictures should be the voluntary decision of all media outlets. Congratulations to those who adopt this policy, and for those that do not, shame on you.
Marianne Bobick, Long Beach
To the editor: Here’s one thing reporters can do: Stop saying gun legislation cannot be passed or research cannot be federally funded because of “political gridlock.”
These things are stopped by Republicans. There’s no gridlock caused by Democrats — it’s all Republicans.
Maybe reporters can name the people who actually prevent research from being funded or common-sense gun laws from being enacted. Let’s name the victims and also the politicians who allow these acts of gun violence to continue.
Liz Shopes, Del Mar
To the editor: It was amusing to read of columnist Frank Shyong’s agony over whether the media should attempt to deny mass murderers the publicity they seek, just as the Los Angeles Times is devoting hundreds of column inches to the 50th anniversary of the Manson “family” killings.
Ron Rapoport, Santa Monica
To the editor: The one thing that all mass shooters have in common is that they are sociopaths; therefore their motives are not relevant. Reporting their manifestos is reporting the ravings of sick minds and is better left to scientific journals.
Their faces should never be shown, and journalists should concentrate on the horrific consequences of their acts and the environment that permitted it.
John Sherwood, Topanga