Some Thoughts On Infamy

I apologize if this isn’t the right forum, or if the title isn’t descriptive enough. Mods feel free to retitle this or kick it to whatever forum you feel is appropriate.

On the way home from dinner with a friend tonight, I got to thinking about various threads I’ve read here and some of the things I’ve read IRL, and I got to thinking about the kind of nutjobs that do things like crash planes into buildings, shoot up offices full of people, and other mass crimes. One of the reasons that they do it is because they know (and/or are told) is that their name(s) will be given immortality. That for years afterwards people will say their name and look at their picture with a kind of horrific awe and wonder, the same way rubberneckers slow down to look at a car wreck on the freeway.

Now I realize that this would be totally impossible for us to do, but what if we agreed that after a person had been convicted/committed a horrific act, that for one hundred years after the death of the last person connected with that particular event, we wouldn’t publish in any form, any photographs or names of those that committed the crimes? I don’t mean that we would try to erase the event, or not speak of the person(s) who did it, but simply not refer to them by name or publish any pictures.

For example, the hijackers of the planes on 9/11 would each be assigned a number and when there was any need to mention that particular hijacker it would be done thusly, “Hijacker number five lived at 124 East Nostril Picker St. for three weeks before coming to the US.”

Persons, like Charles Manson, who committed horrific acts, and were given life sentences would simply be referred to by their prisoner number.

We wouldn’t go back and erase all records of them or punish anyone who did publish their names/pictures, but we’d just not draw attention to the fact that they did.

Even if we could manage to pull this off, I don’t know that it’d make a dent in the number of wingnuts who commit these kinds of crimes, but it might. Any thoughts, Dopers?

I don’t know…it sound kinda creepy to me. The wiping away of a person’s entire identity reeks of a weird “Big Brother” type society.

Plus there is no way it would work. The minute you tell people that there is infomation they aren’t allowed to know, they’ll devote all their energy to finding it out. And in our wired internet age, it wouldn’t be secret for long.

Also…it would be a bonanza for conspiracy theorists. If a terrorist’s identity was kept “secret”, you can can bet that fringe website would speculate that they were CIA Agents/Communists/MilitiaMen/Elvis/JFKjr/etc.

No, in a free & open society, we must allow all information to be public. There’s really no reason to justify this type of secrecy. I don’t think that releasing the names of these types of criminals really encourages these types of acts that much anyway.

Also that would allow Nazi nutjobs to screech and scream ever more loudly that the Holocaust never took place.

Plus it would be very dangerous in terms of not knowing who these people were, it could very easily lead to false accusations, imprisonment etc.

Yeah, the Big Brother aspect of is kind of creepy, but I’m also not talking about forced censorship, more like the family member who’s done something horrible that no one talks about.

I realize that there’s no way it could ever be done, I’m just kind of wondering what would happen if we could and did do it.