March 7, 2018 The Signal page 11
Shooters do not deserve sympathy Pitying perpetrators disrespects victims
Victims should be the focus of media attention following a tragedy. By McKenna Samson An active shooter invaded Marjory
Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, claiming the lives of 17 teachers and students on Feb. 14. Following the
shooting, several news outlets and major media networks published articles that sympathized with the shooter. Action News anchor Matt O’Donnell tweeted, “An orphaned 19-year-old with a troubled past and an AR-15 rifle was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in Florida this morning.” Why do media outlets paint a sympathetic picture of mass shooters after they terrorize innocent civilians? This is far from the first time a mass shooter has been pitied in the media. This pattern of using mental illnesses and troubled childhoods to explain or excuse the actions of mass murderers is problematic. Able-bodied people are more likely to feel sympathetic for those with disabilities, which could result in these pitying headlines, but it should be pointed out that many of these shooters don’t actually suffer from mental illnesses. Simply labeling all shooters as mentally ill further stigmatizes those with mental illnesses as “dangerous.” It should also be noted that when a crime is committed by a person of color, the mental illness narrative is rarely applied.
Mass shooters should be categorized as domestic terrorists since their actions instill fear in the general public. It seems when a mass shooter is a white male — which is a majority of the time — the media rushes to paint him as a victim of circumstance. The shooter should be seen for what he really is — a monster and terrorist. Anyone who takes the life of an innocent person should never be viewed as a victim. For many Americans, it’s difficult to identify someone who looks like them as a terrorist. Despite the awful crimes committed, there will always be pity for the white male shooter. Some outlets have even blamed the victims for missing signs that the shooter was dangerous. This is not only extremely problematic, but deeply twisted. Victim blaming sells a story of sympathy for the perpetrator rather than the victims and survivors, who should be shown overwhelming sympathy and support. This ongoing sympathetic narrative is dangerous for society, particularly people of color and those suffering from mental illnesses.
Students should feel comfortable at gym By Kristen Frohlich This semester, I became the person I never thought I would be — the person who actually goes to the gym almost every day. I have always been insecure about my body. I am fortunate to have never struggled with my weight, but I feel as though I am constantly defined by my
lack of muscle and naturallythin physique. I decided that I wanted to gain muscle mass with the help of one of my friends, a fitness enthusiast who exercises frequently. Before my first day at the gym, I was overwhelmed with anxiety and began to wonder if I could actually follow through with my plan. I knew I wasn’t very strong
Students should treat the gym as a judgement-free zone.
and probably would not be able to lift weights. I also assumed I would not know how to use the equipment or follow along with my friend’s workout regimen. After my first trip to the gym, I learned that my anxiety was unwarranted. The gym is a judgement-free environment, and I didn’t feel like anyone was staring at me, which was one of my biggest fears. I realized that everyone is there for themselves — no one was focusing on what I was doing. When I told my friends that I was finally getting into exercising, I received both positive and negative comments. While many of my female friends were supportive, some of my male friends said that I was not strong enough to work out at the gym, or that I shouldn’t be sore because I only lifted fifteen-pound weights — and these comments were very upsetting. I am well aware of my lack of strength — it is the reason I started going to the gym in the first place. No one starts off lifting massive weights, and while my starting place might not be the
Some students feel self-conscious while working out. same as theirs, it does not give them an excuse to laugh at mine. People have no right to decide how others should feel after their workout. I have the right to complain about feeling sore if I am using muscles that I didn’t even know existed. I have the right to express pain, as that means I am making progress and working hard to build the muscles I want. People have attempted to make
me feel inferior by claiming I have not earned the right to feel pain, which is something that I will not stand for. I am going to the gym to get stronger and better myself. I know I will not be able to reach my goals overnight, but with time, hard work and dedication, I know that I will eventually gain muscle and feel comfortable in my own skin.
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The 03/07/18 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey's student newspaper