Media Contagion Effect: 19-year-Old Convicted in England

Media Contagion Effect: 19-year-Old Convicted in England
Media Contagion Effect: 19-year-Old Convicted in England

U.K.-( A young man in the United Kingdom has been arrested, tried and convicted of attempting to possess a pistol and ammunition with the intent of endangering life. In June of 2018, he purchased a Glock 17 and five rounds of ammunition on the dark web. The cost was £300 in bitcoin. The papers in the UK say the pistol and ammunition were intercepted at the Newark Airport in New Jersey.  That is probably true.  Many of these sorts of actions are preceded by a “sting”. I would not be surprised if the firearm and ammunition were ordered in a sting operation. From the

A teenager who saw Anders Breivik and those behind the Columbine High School massacre as his ‘poster boys’ was today convicted of attempting to possess a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

Kyle Davies, 19, ordered a Glock 17 handgun and five rounds of ammunition from an online gun dealer on the dark web after developing a ‘deep and persistent’ interest in mass shootings during his A-Levels.

The order purchased by Bitcoin was intercepted by Homeland Security at Newark Airport in New York, with police arresting Davies at his home in Gloucester after delivering a dummy package to him.

A jury at Gloucester Crown Court unanimously convicted Davies of attempting to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and attempting to possess five rounds of ammunition with intent to endanger life.

The investigation by the police in Glouchester, England, found numerous handwritten notes and digital devices with trails to more than 100 web pages involving weapons and explosives. It found Kyle Davies, 19 was inspired by the young men, who planned and executed the Columbine mass murder, as well as the mass killer in Norway. While Davies never received the pistol or ammunition, the evidence that he was inspired by mass murderers was sufficient to convict him of attempted crimes.

It is clear the media coverage of mass murder, especially when committed with firearms, is the dominant factor here. A paper submitted to the American Psychological Association (APA) indicated that such rampage murders might be cut in half if media would adopt policies to reduce the copycat effect, or, as some have started calling it, media contagion.

“Unfortunately, we find that a cross-cutting trait among many profiles of mass shooters is desire for fame,” she said. This quest for fame among mass shooters skyrocketed since the mid-1990s “in correspondence to the emergence of widespread 24-hour news coverage on cable news programs, and the rise of the internet during the same period.”

Semi-automatic firearms have been in existence in the United States for over 110 years. There has been widespread availability of military semi-automatics with a magazine capacity of 15-30 rounds for at least 70 years. Yet rampage shootings have only increased significantly in the last 30 years.

The theory that media promote rampage shootings far more than gun ownership does, fits the observable facts better than the theory that gun ownership is responsible. The police say the pistol and ammunition were tested and actually worked. From :

 The court heard the handgun, magazine and five rounds of ammunition the teenager had ordered were all tested and found to be viable.

We are not told if the young man’s digital devices were tested and found to actually work, as well.

Politicians are far more dependent on the media to stay in power than they are dependent on gun owners, especially in countries with low numbers of gun owners.

It is not surprising politicians would deflect blame from media contagion to gun owners.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.