The following is an editorial from Adam Judd, Chief Editor of the Pattaya News. The opinions inside are his own.
It was obvious from the start of Saturday’s tragic mass shooting that the killer, who doesn’t deserve to be named by this publication any further, was out for infamy.
Broadcasting live from Facebook, updating on his own account and victims and hostages accounts, even creating new accounts during the massacre the shooter was well aware the world was watching…and seemingly enjoying it.
This is not the first mass shooter who has used social media to glorify and increase the audience of their crimes but it should teach a valuable lesson to all watching….we should not and cannot tolerate giving twisted individuals like the shooter a platform to post their sickening acts and views. Doing so only increases the risk that other sick individuals may want to repeat the acts.
I give credit to social media companies for doing their best to shut down the shooters accounts and delete his videos and posts during the siege but we as a global community and people must do our best to not let people like the shooter become pseudo celebrities.
We at The Pattaya News will focus on the victims of this tragedy and how to prevent events like this occuring again. We will also focus on the hereos who helped stop the shooter and the survivors, some of who spent seventeen hours trapped in toilets, shops and cleaning closets of the mall, terrified for their lives.
We will not, however, post videos or pictures of the shooter and his actions any further or give any credence to his actions or views. We also stand behind the families of the at least twenty five victims who are mourning along with an entire nation today in Thailand.
I also give credit to the leaders and government of Thailand for coming together in this tragic situation and dealing with what appeared to be at times a nearly impossible and unbelievable situation. It is easy to be an armchair critic from ones home on the response time and actions of the police and Government but having seen the actions taken and response I personally feel they did the best they could under the circumstances, tragically losing members of their own team during the operation.
I also give credit to the hundreds who have donated blood and hospital workers who worked double shifts and helped the dozens of injured during the shooting.
The sheer scale of the size of the mall, the hundreds of people hiding and the possibility the shooter would change clothes and pretend to be a civilian to escape cannot be taken idly and I applaud the government and the special response team for saving many more lives and taking down the shooter in the end.
A lot of people are questioning why the shooter did this…but in the end the question we need to ask is how do we prevent something like this happening again. A start, at least, is not giving credence to the shooter by sharing videos of the dead and injured or his selfies, personal videos and other material. Not naming him and focusing on the heros and victims is the proper approach.
We also did not post live updates or videos of police action during the event unlike some media. When we did post, it was after an official release of information or picture from authorities. We feel that posting information and videos of police entering the building and taking action without an official release jeapordizes the operation and possibly lives of those involved. The shooter was following the events on social media and one reason the operation took so long was him reacting to publically posted news and taking action. I hope that lessons have been learnt for the future for many here.
As an American citizen, an incident like this is sadly not unfamiliar to me, but I hope that we all can learn from it, support the survivors and injured and remember the victims…but not glorify the shooter.
Rest in peace to those who passed away and my deepest thanks to the commandos, hospital workers, first responders and all who assisted yesterday and this morning in one of the darkest days in recent memory. Together, we will get stronger and persevere.