"What does not change / is the will to change"
--Charles Olson, "The Kingfishers"

Friday, January 18, 2013

Now mass shootings are the news media's fault?

This video is making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter and purports to be a four-minute solution to gun violence.



Simple, right? It's the media's fault: News organizations spend too much time covering these apparently unremarkable events and not spending enough time talking about the heroes with the guns who stop them -- which implies that there have been a bevy of these armed superheroes keeping us safe and sound in obscurity.

Let's be clear: The media -- which has become an epithet these days, rather than a basic term of description -- covers mass shootings because they are news. When 20 children are gunned down in their elementary school, along with six adults, it is something that the public wants to know about and needs to know about. We look into the background of the Adam Lanzas of the world because we are trying to help society understand who these shooters are, how they come into being and maybe offer some help in finding ways to prevent these things from happening in the future.

I have no doubt that some of the shooters are hoping for the publicity, for the notoriety, but there is no evidence of that being the prime motive or that relegating these shooters to obscurity will have any effect on the prevalence of gun violence in our society.

I have my own thoughts on what needs to be done -- I've made them clear in previous posts. What I want to reiterate here is that the news media has a job to do, which is to keep the public informed and to arm citizens not with firearms but with knowledge. God knows, we do not always do our job well or nobly, but scapegoating us as the cause of mass shootings and gun violence makes having a debate about these issues impossible.

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1 comment:

Sm jhon said...

This shooting scared a lot of people, and there is a lot of apprehension about when it will happen next. I read a book that helped me with that. It brought up that we actually can prepare for these shootings just like we prepare for an earthquake or a tornado. We can't predict them exactly, but we know they will happen and that we are not exempt. If we are prepared for it, we can reduce the body counts and stop the shooters! Oh, the book was Fight, Flight, or Hide by John Forsythe.

http://www.amazon.com/Fight-Flight-Surviving-Shooting-ebook/dp/B00B9J8FL2