OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – In the wake of the Oxford High School shooting, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald is pushing for the court to stop using the name of the accused shooter.
The goal is to not sensationalize the names of shooters. Local 4 Defender Karen Drew sat down with McDonald to talk about her push for change.
The quest for notoriety and infamy is a well-known motivating factor in mass killings and violent copycat crimes. McDonald said if the court, and the public, can stop using his name it could potentially prevent another school shooting.
“There is someone who wants to be remembered and he has contemplated how he wants to be remembered,” McDonald said.
During a court hearing to determine if the accused shooter should be moved to a juvenile facility when McDonald decided something need to change inside the courtroom.
Accused shooter asked for fan mail
“His request that he, ‘How do I get my fan mail, my hate mail and my commissary.’ He knows that he’s going to have people who admire him and people who hate him alike and he wants that notoriety,” a prosecutor said.
The accused shooter asked for his fan mail. McDonald is asking the court to stop using the accused shooter’s name in court and the written pleadings.
Researcher shows that many mass shooters have explicitly admitted they want fame -- and that fame incites more school shootings.
“We know in this case, the shooter mentioned prior school shootings, mentioned and really sought to be the school shooter with the most casualties,” McDonald said. “We know there was a search of violent content in a website that includes school shootings over 400 times leading up to this event.”
Prosecutor asks public to stop saying name of accused shooter
McDonald is asking the court to stop using the accused shooter’s name and is also asking the public to do the same.
“As much as I will vigorously prosecute these cases and I believe the public has a right to know and I’m committed to that -- I don’t want to be part of the problem so I’m not going to say his name and I’m going to ask everyone to stop saying his name,” McDonald said.
In court filings, it has been stated that the accused shooter made explicit references to a prior school shooter and in text messages stated the need to do something that will make people think about him until time ends.
There are national groups like No Notoriety and Don’t Name Them that share research about not sharing the names of mass shooters.
- Click here to learn more about the Don’t Name Them campaign
- Click here to learn more about No Notoriety
Below is a study that looks into the coverage of mass shooters and the effect it can have.