Names of infamy: deny killers the notoriety they seek

This is a photo of David Brin.
David Brin
FBI mugshot of Timothy McVeigh.
Timothy McVeigh

“Journalists and shrinks and the public fret over each killer’s declared motives, From Brevik’s islamophobia to Timothy McVeigh‘s war against government, to Al Qaeda suicide bombers, to the murderous students at Columbine High School who appeared to be seeking vengeance for bullying. Yet, when we step back and look for common threads, the emerging pattern seems to be less about specific hatreds, racism or anti-Semitism than frenzied, bloody tantrums staged by a string of losers with one common goal — to grab headlines…

…Courts already do have some authority to order name-changes. Suppose that power were widened — any criminal sentenced for a truly heinous crime could be renamed as part of his punishment, with a moniker that invites disdain… Who would choose the new names? Judges could get creative, or the public might be invited to suggest appropriate derogations.  Or something random might be the greatest punishment of all. However it’s done, won’t it make sense for ridicule to replace some of the grotesque fashionableness that’s now attached to terror? It would reflect society’s determination to allocate fame properly, to those who earn it. We would be saying — “You can’t win celebrity this way. By harming innocents, you’re only destroying your own name.” (– David BrinCONTRARY BRIN)

Via Shelby, who commented:

“Right. Show no photos of the actors, use ‘unsub’ or some other neutral, impersonal term for them, pay them no attention at all. That’s the way we treat the enemy killers in wars, after all, while we pay all of the attention (but still too little) to the victims.”