When a mass shooting occurs, one of the most sought-after details is often the name of the shooter, followed by every piece of information the media circuit can get its hands on. If you think about it, though, why does it matter who did it?

Of course, if the person is a fugitive and we need their identity in order to be on the lookout, that’s important; but that’s seldom the case. We think that if we know who the person is, then we can know why they did what they did and somehow seek closure or feel better. We may think that we might be able to even avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time in the future.

Though media outlets don’t attempt to glorify those who are responsible, they certainly do so through the constant coverage. The death tolls are treated as just numbers, while the people responsible for the crimes are incessantly spoken about; their lives dissected and the viewers are all too anxious to try and put the puzzle pieces together. It doesn’t matter who they are. It does not matter what street they lived on, what they looked like or what some high school teacher remembered about them. Why should we indulge the individuals who chose to thrive on the act of committing these crimes, and the flurry of chaos and peril that ensued?

Stop focusing on who they are. Stop focusing on why they did it. Motive could be constructive information, but as a nation we have chosen to treat it as little more than gossip. If it’s revealed that a person was mentally ill and had a prolonged history of mental illness, the logical step is to take a hard look at how easy it is to not only obtain a gun in this country, but also how fast you can get one, how much ammo you can get without raising an eyebrow and the degree of ease involved in getting weapons that only those in a militia would really need to know how to use.

The guns used in these shootings are exhibiting a disturbing trend, as well. Chances are, it was the AR-15, a semi-automatic assault weapon. Since 2012, it has been the weapon of choice in seven very high-profile mass shootings, and yet there aren’t currently any federal restrictions on them. We live in the United States, a country with a stable government — stable in the sense that we elect officials, there is a system of checks and balances in place and relatively speaking, it does not have an exorbitant amount of power over its citizens. Given that, why do we need the ability to purchase such weapons?