Letter: Irresponsible analysis of a murderer

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The Independent Online
Sir: Dr Park Dietz, speaking for the FBI, has suggested that the individual who went berserk in Tasmania may have been influenced by media coverage of the Dunblane tragedy (report, 30 April). If he has been accurately reported, then it is alarming that a man so placed and likely to be heeded should irresponsibly give voice to such a banal view.

This kind of murderer does not invent himself as the result of a TV programme or newspaper report, nor do his actions issue from an intellectual decision to emulate those of somebody else. They are the final eruption of a long process of disintegration which has been silently festering for years and is incapable of being either promoted or prevented by the intervention of the media.

To imagine that such a man can make up his mind to copy a murderer and so become one too is the sort of opinion one may expect to hear in the pub. Unfortunately one increasingly hears it from people like Dr Dietz, who should know better, but whose level of analysis is often not much deeper.

Brian Masters

London W14

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