Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg fuming after Parkland shooter featured in USA Today

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BTW

As Feb. 14 approaches, America nears the anniversary of a day that unequivocally changed the issue of gun reform: the Parkland high-school shooting. The survivors-turned-teen activists have been celebrated and invited on national platforms to share their voices this week—but so was Nikolas Cruz, who carried out the shooting.

USA Today on Monday profiled some of “some of the people [who] thrust into the spotlight by the tragedy.” On that list, alongside students who changed the gun debate in America, was Cruz. It upset people who actually survived his crime to be featured as among those “who rose to prominence” in the aftermath of the shooting.

Teen activists Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg rose to prominence for their statements in front of the media in the immediate aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day last year. Activism inspired by the duo, along with March For our Lives co-founders Cameron Kasky, Jaclyn Corin, and Alex Wind, spread across the country and fueled the gun-reform debate.

As Hogg says, Cruz explicitly said on social media that the shooting would be his claim to fame, and any media putting him in the limelight is just complying with his agenda. USA Today issued an update to the story Tuesday morning, removing Cruz’s photo and changing how the paper originally characterized him.

Studies show, time and again, that using photos of mass shooters in media coverage can inspire copycat acts because of the notoriety brought to mass shooters.

The teen activists’ anger resonated with others on social media:

Some expressed their solidarity with the teens:

There’s no new information about Cruz in USA Today‘s “profile” and it’s unclear why he’s on this list. Others on the list include the school superintendent and other members of the sheriff’s department in Parkland. While it may be important for the general public to know the name of a mass shooter, it’s avoidable to feature him on a list of people whose lives have been “transformed.”

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Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque