I don’t know why I needed to know her name, but it didn’t find long to discover it. A few details and suddenly this woman who had been dehumanized by someone who was once her friend had her name and history restored to her. She was whole again. I know a fake name was likely meant to “protect” the privacy of her family, but it just seemed like a way to further diminish her.  “Leah” deserved more respect than Amanda Lauren gave her. She was more than her disease and she deserves to be remembered for more than her mental illness. She was a person. She was also a daughter, sister, friend, writer, actress, yoga instructor, and graduate of Tisch at NYU. She was loved. This is how we should remember her.  In the obituary, her family asked that donations be made to the Stella Adler Studio of Acting at NYU-Tisch. If you want to do so and can afford to do so, then I think that would be an awesome way to remember this young woman. 

How We Remember 

There is one thing that minors are guaranteed in this society: anonymity. We make laws protecting their privacy. And this even extends to children accused of violent crimes. That is why it surprised me yesterday afternoon, just hours after the shooting at Chardon High School, that CNN and other news outlets were publicizing the name of the suspected shooter. I didn’t know how old the kid was at the time, but I had a pretty “good” feeling that he was underage. And that feeling made the continued repetition of his name a bit alarming. I know that social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook have made it almost impossible to not know the identity, but that doesn’t mean that we should have legitimate news sources broadcasting the name all over the place. When we start allowing the media to identify children who are still protected by their status as minors, we cross a line that can have serious repercussions for all children and for our society in general. By publicizing the child’s name, we cut off his ability to one day, potentially, have a “normal” life. Even though it might seem unreasonable to give him an opportunity to have a normal life at a later date, he should be guaranteed the privacy to prevent him from being labeled and unfairly treated.

What Happened to Anonymity