The “Perfect Storm”


A gun laying on a table surrounded by six bullets.

Images of faces one after another spiraling on the television screen, eye-catching headlines, followed by tragic news stories,. A common misconception about media coverage is that not all media coverage is beneficial. Something society fails to recognize is that although gun laws and unattended mental illnesses have both been major causes of school shootings, other factors contribute to the issue at hand. Publicity.

 Killers are glamorized by the media through the publicity of TV news stories, books, and Netflix movies, making it harder to recognize what should be the real faces of the story, the tragic event that took place, and the victims of the damage caused. 

Most people may have forgotten the name Adam Lanza, but almost everyone remembers the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. A shooting that left 20 children and six staff members dead and an event that will forever be known as one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, and thanks to all the media attention, even though he is deceased, Lanza will forever be the face of Sandy Hook Elementary. I was the same age as those kids. I can vividly remember the news stories and being scared to go to school because I thought mine would be next. I was scared of my baby sister growing up without her big sister there to help take care because that thought stays with you in the back of your mind. What if?

“Where Arts and Academics Share Center Stage.” Central Visual and Performing Art Arts High School’s welcome sign representing the school and their Eagle pride. (

On Oct 24., another bright headline came across the screen of my phone. “19-year-old Orlando Harris opened fire inside the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in south St. Louis Monday morning, killing a teacher and a 16-year-old female,” said Fox2Now.

“A teacher and 16-year-old female?” It’s as if they are extras in their own movies. Giving a name and face to these titles makes it harder to ignore. “This teacher,” was Physical Education teacher and cross-country coach, Jean Kuczka. She was a mother of five and a grandmother to seven. “The 16-year-old female,” was sophomore student Alexzandria Bell. A dance major who planned on starting culinary school while attending her high school. But their futures were ripped from them in a matter of seconds. Because Harris was the face of this story. He was the main character.

News sources say Harris was bullied and possibly angry and resentful due to the fact. After the incident, police found the killer’s manifesto left behind in his car explaining his motive. The note described his troubles with feeling alone and isolated from his peers. Harris’s note described it as “a perfect storm for a mass shooter.” 

We all crave some sort of attention, but not everyone goes about it the same way. Most of the people behind the trigger are looking to create a legacy for themselves despite the cruelty because they know when it is all said and done, it’s their name that will be remembered. 

I understand covering such gruesome and heartbreaking events are necessary to report so that the public can see that a change needs to be made, but whatever happened to anonymity? I don’t need a name to be informed. I refuse to give a killer the satisfaction of knowing their name is in my mouth.

To say I’m not one of those people who sits in front of their TV and watches one crime documentary after another would be hypocritical. I am as guilty as every other Netflix-binging crime junkie, but I can acknowledge when there needs to be a change. To give the killer a name and a face would be giving into exactly what was sought out in the first place; Attention. Knowing that even though the coverage is negative, it is still a form of recognition. It’s time for the media and general public to rethink their approach on news coverage for school shootings. When news is covered, unnecessary details that only rile up the public should be kept out of the picture because the victims should be the main focus of the story. It’s time to stop giving these criminals a platform to be talked about because it’s only feeding into the already brewing storm.