Let's Honor Hitler? A Stupid Stress Management Question

Apr 26 09:39 2007 Richard Kuhns Print This Article

Why air the Virgininia Tech Manifesto and not Hitler's? The news media has again demonstrated its irresponible handling of a national crisis. Rather than simply report news, it feeds suggestions to other deranged terriorists. It's time the news media steps up to the plate in being responsible to the citizens it serves.

I don’t believe that there is any one news media would give that question the time it takes to answer,Guest Posting “NO.”

This article is about how stress of news reporting affects our society and how it could be managed.

Now suppose I write a complete course on how to murder a minimum of thirty students with two hand guns and six clips of ammo, do you think I could get any free publicity to publicize my course? Stupid question, right? I can’t get any free publicity on how to extend life through managing stress. Publicity on how to kill people?

How about if I demonstrate it and kill myself? Suddenly a different answer.

Why is the answer to the first question, “NO,” and the answer to the second question, “YES?” Double standard?

My specialty is hypnosis and stress management. Normally I write about managing stress--one’s personal stressors—which ones to avoid and which ones to tackle head on. That’s a micro scale (the individual), on a macro scale we have the effects of stress on a society.

It’s ironic, Don Imus got fired for racist remarks. What I found amazing is that not one news media played his actual comments. They all carried the story—“Don Imus Fired!” but not one repeated what he said or even played a recording of his comments, yet we have a deranged mentally ill young adult male named Cho who kills thirty two other young adults, maims many more, and the news media show his tortured soul via his self made video manifesto—he didn’t even have to hire a professional company to shoot it to have it shown all across this great country—free publicity. And what’s even sicker is that some day in the near future, some other deranged mind will probably make a movie of it.

Now there are several issues that dramatically increase the stress on the society—something that simply could have been avoided. What is the price that our society will pay? To get the answer, all you have to do is extrapolate. What happened after DB Cooper was popularized by the news media? What happened after the first case of Tylenol product tampering was popularized by the media? What happed after the first case of anthrax was popularized? What happened after…? Copycats, right?

I use the word popularized because what the media has done is beyond “INFORM.” 

We all agree that it takes a deranged, sick, desperate mind to perform these heinous acts. So, what are the chances of other sick deranged, desperate minds coming up with the same or similar heinous acts? The odds are much higher with the media helping, right?

The first issue is suggestibility. From my two decades of private practice many of my client’s problems were from catching suggestions. One of many examples: one client and his wife (happily married for twenty years) attended a party during which time they learned that close friends (who they thought were happily married) were getting a divorce after fifteen years of marriage. In our next session, the first thing my client wanted to know was if he should be questioning his relationship—he caught a suggestion. This is how easily suggestions can be caught.

Yes, it’s true that you can’t hypnotize anyone to do anything they normally wouldn’t do, yet there are many mentally ill individuals who would be mass murders given that free course on how to murder over 30 people with two guns and a half dozen clips of ammo. I imagine they would even go to the trouble of taking lessons at a local gun club so their aim would be as good as possible.  

We don’t need Al qaeda in this country to create terror; we have all the terror we want from our friendly news agencies feeding ideas to our own grudge carrying mentally ill citizens. The executive responsible for airing the killer’s photo and manifesto justified it by saying, “When that material landed on my door step, I though we had an obligation to air it.”

The second issue is responsibility. Just as Imus was irresponsible, the news media is being irresponsible, but who’s going to fire the news media? What is needed is a “Responsibility Rating.” Zero is totally irresponsible equivalent to showing Hitler spouting his ideology and ten is totally responsible equivalent to doing a story on each of the Virginia Tech victims—making them the Heroes. How many sick deranged people would want to make those whom they hate into important people—no they want to be the martyr.

They kill themselves after a blood bath because? Maybe it’s because they don’t want to be accountable for their wrong distraught angry deeds by sitting in a jail cell for the rest of their lives. But the visual and auditory suggestions the sick deranged individuals get by seeing another sick angry deranged individual in a Clint Eastwood pose pointing two hand guns at the world and then hearing the audio (no matter how inept) justifies their own ill feelings and fuels them to do a better job at creating terror to get even with society, their mother, father, other students…

In summary, the news media hides behind free speech and the public’s “right to know” in order to sell advertising space thru sensationalism. The cost is irresponsible news reporting. On a side note, we are technically at war and the news media are guilty of treason any time they air which railroad corridor, nuclear facilities, watershed… is vulnerable to terrorist attack.

Everyone knows the same thing can be said many different ways (in this case. reported in many different ways)--responsibly or irresponsibly. For instance calling the event a massacre attracts competition to make a bigger massacre as opposed to calling it a tragedy (less sensationalism)

It’s amazing, during the airing of the deranged young man’s video, one of the commentators on CNN asked the other commentator if they should be airing the clips. Some are capable of thinking, why not more of them? It’s time for the news media to "step up to the plate," and be responsible. Sooner or later someone will invent technology that measures suggestibility that will be accepted in a court of law which will hold irresponsible news castors accountable for inciting terror with copycats. Can you imagine how many tens of millions of dollars each victim’s family could win in a court settlement?

Evidence is in Cho’s manifesto where he mentions Columbine. Is it possible that the way the media handled that catastrophe played it up in Cho’s deranged mind and resulted in the Blacksburg Virginia Tech tragedy.      

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Richard Kuhns
Richard Kuhns

Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E NGH certified looks at the stress on society and its cost caused by the irresponsible handling of the Virginia Tech tragedy by the news media. He has a website for managing stress and another one for for overcoming Panic and Anxiety.

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