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Two months ago, the day after a young man walked into Seattle Pacific University and opened fire with a shotgun, a group of reporters crowded into a tiny viewing corridor at the King County Jail. We were going to get our first look at the suspect through a glass wall. He was about to be denied bail. Photographers took up positions in the first row, standing at the ready with their cameras. TV videographers began to unfold bulky tripods. Newspaper writers sat with notepads on their laps. Some of us made small talk to pass the time in the stuffy little room.

Finally, the suspect emerged. He was dressed in a forest-green suicide smock and led into the courtroom by two guards. Everyone pushed up against the glass; those in the back stood up on their tiptoes. Cameras zoomed in and clicked furiously. Within seconds, the world had its first glimpse of the SPU shooter—his blank, downcast, unshaven visage immediately broadcast on live television and published across cyberspace…

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