Killers and terrorists often revel in publicity. Why does the public need to know the names of every sicko that shoots someone or plants a bomb? Granted, our 'survival of the fittest' animal instinct draws us to violence and conflict. And although 'If It Bleeds It Leads' journalism caters to that human weakness, why publicize degenerate killers, felons and terrorists? In fact, why print their names or pictures at all? What if the media just used initials?
No Names, No Pictures, Just Initials
In the recent Orlando Pulse massacre, what do we win in knowing the terrorist's name? By simply replacing it with initials you can tell me everything I need to know without rewarding his depravity. For example: "OM turns out to be a known Muslim extremist, already on the FBI's radar, but any ties to ISIS are still unclear." And I definitely don't need to see the asshole's picture!
Stop Rewarding Bad Behavior
Media attention and publicity is what terrorists are after... Their name and images splattered across headlines, to be glorified and revered by fellow fanatics for slaughtering innocent people and creating a 'news event.' Why give them exactly what they want?
And as for your garden variety killers, there seem to be certain basic motivations for such shootings, either gang related or involving some degree of mental defect, along with feelings of alienation, inadequacy, or revenge. But in all these cases, the perpetrators are seeking some form of public acknowledgement for their actions. Perhaps by abbreviating names and omitting their pictures, some of this might be reduced, or at the very least, not rewarded.
If history books only listed a JWB as responsible for Lincoln's assassination or LHO for the death of JFK, would there still have been a JH Jr. to shoot President Reagan? Would we have lost John Lennon to a JDC, or even recently Christina Grimmie to a KJL? I'm not sure... but why do we need to know their names?