USA's 'Mr. Robot' Shouldn't Just Delay its Shooting Scene Out Of Respect for Roanoke, They Should Delete It

USA’s 'Mr. Robot' did not air its season finale Wednesday night. Citing a need to be sensitive to the shooting that killed two journalists in Roanoke, the network aired a previous episode along with this statement to explain their decision:

Though I applaud USA’s sensitivity to airing that scene in such close proximity to the Virginia shooting, I’ve got a better way for them to handle the situation which would be even more meaningful, and just might save lives.

Delete the scene.

Don’t delay it a week. Don’t simply try to bury it in next week’s news/entertainment rotation when it will trampled underfoot by the relentless forward grind of the American news cycle. Delete it, scrap it, get rid of it.

Because here’s the thing: we now know that the Virginia shooter (whose name I will not mention for fear of adding to the fame that he so clearly sought) lionized mass shooters of the past who he undoubtedly learned about and studied through mass media. We know many of today’s mass shooters are copycats.

More than this, we know that they are sad, sick, twisted people who live lives so unfulfilling that the only way out for them, while still giving their lives some kind of import, is to go out in a hail of gun fire that is tragically not self-directed.

Will delaying the airing of this scene, which by USA’s own admission closely parallels the Virginia killing, stop the next copycat killer? Is he likely to be swayed from doing his foul deed because the network wanted to be sensitive to families? Not at all. In fact the precise opposite might even be true. The network’s delay only stands to convince the shooter of the impact he could potentially have.

Do the right thing USA, not just for the families of the two journalists in Roanoke. Do it for the families of the next two journalists, school children, co-workers, or whomever else might find themselves in the crosshairs of men motivated by death, fame, and violence.

Delete the scene.