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The Dark Side of Media and Technology

A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy

Edited By Edward Downs

The Dark Side of Media and Technology: A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy is Herculean in its effort to survey for landmines in a rapidly changing media landscape. The book identifies four dark outcomes related to media and technology use in the 21st century, and balances the dark side with four points of light that are the keys to taking ownership of a media- and technology-saturated world. The text contains an impressive list of multi-disciplinary experts and cutting-edge researchers who approach 25 separate dark side issues with concise, highly readable chapters, replete with unique recommendations for navigating our mediated present and future.

The Dark Side of Media and Technology is grounded in theory and current research, but possesses an appeal similar to a page-turning dystopian novel; as a result, this volume should be of interest to scholars, students, and curious lay-readers alike. It should be the "go-to" text for anyone who is interested in learning what the research says about how we use media and technology, as well as how media and technology use us.

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Chapter Ten: Copycat Murder: Specious Mimesis or Natural Nemesis? (Aaron R. Boyson)


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Copycat Murder

Specious Mimesis or Natural Nemesis?


After 50 years and over 1,000 studies (a conservative estimate), there is, I submit, not a single research study which is even remotely predictive of the Columbine massacre or similar high school shootings in the last few years.


More people have died from ordinary homicide in the United States since 1950 than in all the wars in which the United States has ever fought, combined (Beeghley, 2003). Konrad Lorenz told us that the human species is uniquely good at killing each other (Lorenz, 1966), and criminologists tell us that we are uniquely good at killing each other in this country (Beeghley, 2003). The majority of homicides in the U.S. feature two young men, who get into an argument where a handgun is present, which is then used to take another’s life (DOJ, 2011). All other modes of homicide are less common. Mass murders (where more than three people are killed at one time) are far less common, less than 1% of the total (DOJ, 2011). The same goes for school shootings, typically, although there is evidence they are increasing, as will be discussed later. What feels like the correct next sentence to write is that copycat crimes are also rare, and then go on to explain how they are important to study...

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