What's in a name?
Well, just about everything. For instance, the attachment or removal of stigma. In the first year of my training in psychiatry, the training centre changed its name.
It had been called Boston Psychopathic Hospital and, as the website Abandoned America tells it, was built in 1912 as the first mental health hospital (as opposed to asylum) in Massachusetts.
In 1960, Harvard Medical School, which ran the place, decided that the word "psychopathic" had negative connotations - although most of its ex-trainees still refer to it proudly as "Psycho" - and changed the name to Massachusetts Mental Health Center, presumably a more accommodating designation.
One of the first patients I admitted was an older woman from South Boston, at that time a very Irish enclave.
She actually spoke with a thick brogue. She seemed a bit confused and as a part of the admission routine, I asked, "Ma'am do you know where you are?" "No, I don't. Where am I?"
Thinking it would steady her I said, "You're at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center." "Gorr" she said, vehemently, "I ain't mental!"
So much for euphemisms and the folly of good intentions.
Much more recently is the memoir by Chanel Miller, Know My Name.
Miller was the unnamed subject of a famous rape. In 2015 she was 23 and a recent university graduate.
She and her sister went to a fraternity party at Stanford where she drank beer and vodka and then went outside to pee.
She was, according to her memoir, "drunk and bored and extremely tired".
Her memory stops there and starts again when she is being examined in hospital.
In the interval, she was spotted behind a dumpster where Brock Turner, a 19-year-old Stanford freshman student, a swimmer athlete, was on top of her, stopped by two passing Swedish grad students, who restrained him and kept him until police arrived.
Turner's trial and rape conviction became national news when the judge, remarking on Turner's future potential, sentenced him to six months and was himself subsequently recalled by voters angry at the leniency of the sentence.
Miller's memoir and especially its title are her reclamation of her personhood as the criminal justice system and the media, ostensibly in an effort to protect her, have in the process, reduced her to one word: Victim.
In her view, the forced anonymity reinforces a continued objectification of her and a wholly unwarranted sense of shame.
While Miller rightfully objects to an imposed name suppression as inadvertently disempowering her as woman, as person, anonymity does have a place.
Its place may be to protect the reputation of an accused person, as in the grant of name suppression in New Zealand court cases.
Such niceties are rarely if ever available in the US, with the result that an accusation can be found newspaper-wise on page one and the retraction on page 24, the reputation tarnished altogether.
In the situation of the Christchurch shootings, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was acting to protect the victims and to discourage sympathy with the accused, if any, when she declared that the alleged shooter's name ought not to be publicised.
But disempowerment by anonymity is a kind of public shaming by omission. And that elimination of personal identifier sends a powerful message of exclusion.