Rights to free speech should remain intact. There are always going to be costs to the protection of liberty. Some people will use their legal freedoms in negative ways. However, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Jokers and troublesome people will never become as important as rightful protests, pioneering journalists and the like.
Today, between the internet and tv and radio, information is shared instantly. This was a terrible crime and of course it will get media attention. However, sick people have always existed and the media has always reported on these types of stories. Will it spur copycats? Possibly. However, it might also make people more cautious if they see something that seems weird, they may report it and not just sit there until something else happens. So, there are pros and cons to reporting these stories, however, this country shouldn't suppress stories and people should be not kept in the dark.
I am forced to think about the "Zombie" from Florida when topics like this come up. After the horrible event in Florida, people began to fear that a "Zombie Apocalypse" was coming. Now, with a new "character" emerging, people have found another face to fear.
As stated above, copycat crimes are no new thing. The coverage of the horrific event did prove to be positive--authorities found another man threatening to kill (and they arrested him).
We have always had evil "Jokers," and we always will. It is nothing new.
It is disturbing to think about individuals planning these sorts of crimes, but I do think that the media has done a pretty decent job with the Colorado shooting about not glorifying the shooter after the victims' families asked for them to downplay the coverage.
I'm not sure that its necessary to "stomp on the First Amendment" to stop this sort of thing. Copy cat crimes are nothing new, and tend to follow the signature of the original crime. Such is the case with the Colorado massacre. I don't think it can be attributed so much to the costume or character, as many people attended the movie in costume. While the First Amendment is not an issue; there is probably some problem with the Supreme Court's most recent interpretation of the Second Amendment. Some type of gun control would do far more to prevent this type crime than restricting people's dress.
Epidemic? I certainly hope not. But all the intense media coverage of these types of people doesn't help. Some people are attracted to the idea of being the evil anti-hero and just knowing that their name and face is up there for everybody to see.
With that said, there's no way to keep the media from "glorifying" these criminals without stomping on the first amendment.