I read an article this morning in “Hello!” about John Lennon’s seventieth birthday. It notes that “his life was taken away 30 years ago by gunman ____,” except they filled in the blank with the murderer’s name.
I’m not going to. If you want to know the “gunman’s” name, you can look it up. But I’d rather not give him the recognition.
In the current (near final?) draft of “Too Big to Know,” I touch on Wikipedia’s debate about whether to give each victim in the Virginia Tech murders their own separate entry. I found that I could not bring myself to use the murderer’s name. I don’t think the reader will notice, nor do I want them to. It’s not a matter of principle, although I’m ok with it formulated as one: “When avoidable, do not help make murder a quick way to fame.” Rather, it’s a visceral thing.