Today: Feb 21, 2024

The news turns into a ‘who said what’ game

Kelsey Mix – Copy Editor

On Dec. 14, 2012, Ryan Lanza—no wait, Adam Lanza—opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn; or was it Newtown? On his way to the school, Lanza killed his father in New Jersey—no, he went to the school looking to kill his mother—no, his mother was found dead in her home after the shooting. But I heard his friend and girlfriend in New Jersey went missing at the time of the crime too. Unfortunately, that day Adam—not Ryan—Lanza succeeded in causing the second deadliest school shooting in history.

Now tell me how confused you are right now. That was exactly how I felt the morning of Dec. 14.  It was my first day of winter break. I was watching the news and making breakfast for myself when, as if in a flick of a light switch, every news station was in immediate turmoil.

The story was just developing because the tragedy happened a mere hour or so earlier. I was listening to whatever information the news reporters had in disbelief and confusion. Pictures of the children and teachers escaping, crying and holding each other were plastered on my television momentarily, but in my mind permanently.

This event was so close to home that I couldn’t control the emotions running through me. Sadness for the families and children affected by this, but also pure anger at the news stations that were sending out false information.

Ryan Lanza. That was the first known name of this sick individual who had the guts to shoot up an elementary school. What everyone didn’t know—including myself—was that Adam Lanza was the actual killer carrying his brother’s ID. During the time everyone thought he was responsible for this, I looked to the internet for some information.

I found Ryan Lanza’s Twitter and Facebook and saw that he attended Quinnipiac University; which shook me even more because he received his degree down the street from where I go to school. I then looked up Ryan Lanza in the search bar on Twitter and fell completely speechless.

Thousands upon thousands of tweets filled with threats, profanities, questions and angry, scared people from around the world; only to find out that the man they were sending these messages to were directed at an innocent relative.

The news stations giving incorrect facts were one thing, but if you logged onto any social media site that day, everyone and their mother decided that they were now a news reporter themselves. All I saw were paragraphs about Newtown, the alleged shooter, the victims, the heroes, who was responsible for Lanza’s behavior, etc.

When any event such as Sandy Hook arises and the information about the victims or cause of the event becomes public knowledge, people seem to take that information and run with it as far as they possibly can.

Since information is obtainable so much quicker than it used to be, reporters don’t have ample time to get their facts straight and they put out whatever they have to please the public; whether it’s true or not. Being part of the public, I would honestly rather wait to hear actual story than hear heart-wrenching lies about these innocent people.

Nowadays, whether it’s celebrity gossip or a school shooting, the internet is always going to be a place that welcomes any believable information about any given event. Some reporters will throw anything out there just to get paid or to get a rise out of someone.

With social media sites, everyone needs to make sure what they are posting is truthful, especially when an incident like this occurs. Put yourselves in the places of the families who lost someone from a school shooting. Now think how devastated you would be if fabricated reports about your family member leaked all over the world.

The bottom line is get your facts straight before you declare something to the world; out of the seven billion people on this planet, there’s somebody somewhere that will be affected by your words.

 

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