Viral Morgan Freeman Quote About Sandy Hook Tragedy Is a Tacky Hoax

Morgan FreemanThe Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings are inexplicable, tragic, and horrific. As such, naturally, people search for a culprit. The media, camped out in trucks all around Newtown, Connecticut, working in 24-hour cycles to bring us every detail, is an easy target.

A quote attributed to actor Morgan Freeman has gone viral on Facebook. Essentially, someone claiming to be Freeman blames the media for Sandy Hook, claiming the media's coverage makes the shooter famous and makes more people want to do things like this. 

It would be a vile and inappropriate claim even in a lesser tragedy. But to blame anyone or anything but Adam Lanza (and his access to guns and his mental state) is truly the height of poor taste. Oh, and also? It's a hoax. Freeman denies making the statement. In case you are wondering, here is the quote in its entirety:

You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here's why. It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batmantheater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody. CNN's article says that if the body count 'holds up,' this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations­, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next. You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem.

Look, I get it. We are all broken hearted and grappling to make sense of it all and struggling to find someone to blame. We are all having nightmares and crying ourselves to sleep and burning the images of those poor, beautiful babies and their heroic caregivers into our brains. But blaming the media? Come on.

If the biggest issue right now is honestly how the media is covering the story, then we have some giant problems. Adam Lanza is the shooter and we need to know every detail about him and how he got into the school and what led to this rampage so that we can focus on the REAL issues here, issues like violence, school safety, mental illness, gun control, and more.

It's way too easy to "blame the media", pull together a shallow, not well-thought out quote, wrongly attribute it to someone famous, and get gullible Facebook users to share it. It's another to actually grieve together, be sad, and look at the real, possibly scary, reasons this happened in our culture.

Look, as a member of the "media," I don't want to be blogging on this story any more than you want to be reading it. I want to curl up in my bed, hold my kids tightly, and pretend things like this don't happen to beautiful, innocent school children.

But if we are going to prevent things like this from happening again, we are going to have to take a long, hard look at our society. We are going to have to be brave, and yes, we are going to have to look at Adam Lanza and all the factors that made him want to kill.

It isn't that the media is without any blame. Obviously, interviewing children is horrible and wrong and in poor taste. But that's not the reason Lanza went on a killing spree. The 26 victims of this horrific tragedy wouldn't be alive if the media ceased to interview all children.

Obviously, I get wanting someone to blame, but it's not the media who is at fault for this. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders and of one individual, and learning more about him -- his mental health, his access to guns, his motive -- is the key to preventing anything like this from happening again.

Did you see or share that "Freeman" quote?

 

Image via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr

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nonmember avatar CriticalThinker

Thank you for writing this article. We do need to focus on all the contributing factors that lead up to tragedies like these. I'm surprised by how many people claim to know the motives and minds of these killers, and how quickly they're fooled and eager to share nonsensical and ironic celebrity quotes.

jalaz77 jalaz77

I did see it and have said that all along. That asshole that killed all those innocent a children will be or is someone's hero. There are freaks who think this is how you fix your life instead of putting the hard work into fixing yourself. I do not want to hear that freak shows name again. He doesn't deserve to be talked about anymore. The media needs to back off for a bit.

nonmember avatar Gretta

Tacky to say someone said it who didn't.... But sorry, despite what you might think, it does make some valid points. I hope everyone who has the public ear will carefully consider their impact and power.

nonmember avatar binra

I agree that the media plays a huge part in society. I think putting those poor kids on camera to explain anything from that day was utterly disgusting. A crisis like that should not be used as a ratings opportunity. A lot of emphasis is being put on gun control. Ridiculous. Even if those guns were not in his mothers house, he would have found them elsewhere. I will be damned if someone tells me I can't own a gun to protect my family or myself. Blame is not on one issue here. We lose sight of so many things anymore, the real issues go unnoticed or ignored.

nonmember avatar Bee

Plain and simple guns don't kill people- HUMANS kill people. I agree with the quote and most of the above except for making it a gun control issue. If you ask me dysfunction starts at home. We should be teaching our children to have compassion for another's life, empathy and to have a good heart for humanty's sake! The media certainly should not be making children relive horrific details. For what? Do those gory details help us figure out how to stop these tragedies? What does that say about our society that without these details some say there would be no interest? The media is disgusting but so are we for feeding into them. I personally have not been reading and don't know many details besides the fact that innocent children are gone and parents and families are hurting. That's enough for me

nonmember avatar Marge

I think that "Morgan Freeman's" way oversimplifies the issue, and no, i don't think you can blame the media for this issue. That being said, it is disgusting how we give so much attention to the man behind the evil shootings that have occured recently. There are certain things that we obviously need to know about the crime: details about what happened, maybe details about the victims, etc. But as soon as the media starts obsessing over the gunman himself, speculating about his mental state and what would have caused the act, I believe that a line has been crossed. That kind of news is nothing but voyeurism and sensationalism, and yes, it's easy to use it to tell a story, but tasteless and ugly, too.

Ashleigh Munson

Shared it. Agree with it. Don't really care if it wasn't actually Freeman. That wasn't the point of my hitting the share button.

butte... butterflyfreak

I saw it and shared it. What's more, like other commentors, I don't really care if Morgan Freeman said this or someone just used his name. Besides, thinking it was Morgan Freeman, I heard it in his voice and I could totally see him saying something along these lines. I'm not saying the media is SOLELY to blame here, that blame belongs on the shoulders of the piece of shit who did this. But I do think the media is a HUGE contributing factor that leads up to these senseless tragedies. I don't think MORE gun control is the answer, how about we enforce the laws we already have on the books? I do believe that there needs to be a discussion on mental health and why it's so hard for families to get help for their loved ones who are suffering with mental illness. I do think that we need to start holding people accountable for their actions, and not just letting them off the hook just because they're "troubled."

gridi... gridironsmom

I saw it, shared it, and even if it was a "hoax", still feel it makes good points.

Jennifer Kralick Bouchard

What I don't understand is why everyone says gun control . You all are very niave to think even with stricter gun laws , that "bad people" won't get their hands on them . They will be the only onees with guns , no one will be able to protect themselves as only criminals who get the guns illegally anyway will have them. And yes they will know that.

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