When we pay attention to these people, we idolize them, and we make it more likely to happen again. This copycat phenomenon is called “the Werther effect,” after Geothe’s first major work elicited many copycat suicides of young men suffering the same woes as Werther.
Especially for these young men who want the attention and desire to have their story heard (think Sandyhook or Christopher Dorner; all three wrote ‘manifestos’), publicizing these stories only makes it more likely that individuals aiming at the same goals will employ the same techniques again, it worked last time.
How do we stop these from happening?
We can stop talking about it, or stop idolizing it when we do speak about it. These individuals get sooo much attention, every detail of their lives is delved into. Their story gets told, which is what they want. So, we stop telling their story. Yes, the news can talk about it if they desire, but we don’t have to watch their channels. We can *not* click that link, we can *not* talk about it on facebook, it is our choice, after all.
By clicking on the link, by watching the video, we indicate to the media and to others that that is the appropriate thing to do. That paying attention to this is correct, that we want more of it.
If you stop paying attention to it, then we signal to others that this is the proper thing to do. We are examples of the correct way to live for those around us.
Perhaps a better solution is to make sure that these people don’t end up like this by paying attention to and legitimizing them before they turn to these sorts of things, though there was something obviously disagreeable about this individual..
This is not a perfect solution, and I would be interested in hearing your thoughts about how we can keep these things from happening more often in the comments section. 🙂
And yes, I do recognize the irony in writing a blog post / encouraging others to read a blog post telling others not to write blog posts. :p
Remember to speak your mind, because your opinion matters.