The Corner

What to Forget, What to Remember about Aurora

There’s a lot we don’t know and won’t ever know about the assassin of Aurora. We likely will find out there was a deranged mind at work here, as in Tucson, as at Virginia Tech — and if so, and if people knew about it, the tragedy will be compounded by the ethos Mona Charen rightly described below: Our priorities are simply upside down when it comes to the legal rights of the deranged versus society and, truly, in the final analysis, versus themselves. We may never find anything out about this slaughterer. But can we please stop with the ubiquitous pictures of him, and, indeed, the use of his name?

He should not be glamorized or given any kind of proper-noun attention at all. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the first and most important reason is to discourage any other possible madmen out there from thinking that this is a good or feasible way to become famous, make a point, or express that which evidently such madmen think they need to do to be heard. Ideation is the term of art here — that’s what we want to prevent.

#more#These perpetrators of inhumanity should not be heard from; they should not be known; they should not be followed; they should not be any kind of model. They should forever be known as a shooter or a perpetrator or an assassin or a murderer, not more. Indeed, upon taking up arms against innocents, they lose, they abdicate, any claim to be considered worth knowing in any respect whatsoever. They have alienated themselves from society, almost as if they have alienated themselves from being important enough to have a name like everyone else. And by “alienate,” I mean renounce — they have renounced their humanity.

Instead, let us focus on and remember the heroes and celebrate them and their names. Matt McQuinn and Nick Yowler are two — they put themselves between the assassin and their girlfriend and sister Samantha, respectively. Matt didn’t survive. Samantha and Nick did. Jarell Brooks is another hero — helping save a mother and her child in the chaos, putting himself between the shooter and the women. He survived with a gunshot wound to the leg. There were others, just as there were at Tucson and Virginia Tech — think Liviu Librescu from Virginia Tech or Bill Badger in Tucson. These are the names to learn and to remember.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Or his countrymen. We see it in terrorism, as we saw so famously on Flight 93 and in the World Trade Center, and we see it in every one of these criminally insane events. There is derangement in the world. Let us not forget it or neglect it. There is evil in the world, let us not forget it or neglect it. And there is love and heroism, too: Let us not forget or neglect that either. If these events are educational moments in anyway, this is what we need to learn.

— Seth Leibsohn is a fellow with the Claremont Institute and the co-host of the Phoenix-based radio show Arizona Politics & Culture with Seth Leibsohn & Tom Brown.

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