Liberty and Media Responsibility


            This past month has witnessed yet two more senseless and horrific shootings, this time in Charleston, South Carolina. As a result, we have seen the alleged killer’s name and picture featured prominently in newspapers and the electronic media – thus glorifying his deeds and, in many ways, encouraging other demented people to follow his lead so they too can achieve this notoriety. But by doing this, the media is being irresponsible! I hope that after receiving the prior 20 editions of this “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty” you understand that censoring the ability of the media to publish and broadcast in this fashion would be a violation of Liberty. But Libertarian Liberty also entails being responsible. So we must all take it upon ourselves openly to chastise and criticize this irresponsible journalism.

Many years ago several newspapers irresponsibly published a picture of then President Jimmy Carter as he put on a bulletproof vest. Of course, that simply sent a message to would-be assassins that they should shoot him in the head. Similarly, glorifying any of these past or present misguided people (I refuse to use their names), and making them into household words, directly encourages others to follow their lead. We all should do our part to stop this practice. Instead, journalists should simply label them as the shooter, or the demented killer, and leave their names and photographs out. That is what responsibility, and Liberty, demand! Help us make it so.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)