The news media’s focus on Holmes also inspired some familiar crit­i­cism. Was the atten­tion to the details of an alleged mass killer’s life not just wrong but also poten­tially lethal? Could the media’s gaze inspire the next nobody to commit a sim­ilar act in a sick attempt to become some­body, too?

How often must we see the alleged murderer’s name in print and his face shown in pho­tographs from hap­pier times?” asked noted crim­i­nol­o­gist James Alan Fox in a blog posting. “It is per­fectly rea­son­able to shed light on the tragic event without a media spot­light on the alleged assailant. It is shame­less, if not dan­gerous, to trans­form” an obscure indi­vidual into “an infa­mous some­body who may be revered and admired by a few folks on the fringe.”

 

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