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Is the media to blame for shootings?

By Donovan Thacker
On September 10, 2019

A couple weeks ago, my 13-year-old brother came to me and told me about a nightmare that he had. He said that he had dreamt that someone came to his school and was shooting people, and he had to hide.

This is the part where I get to decide if I’m going to say “oh, it’s so terrible, why can’t we get this right, why don’t we have the gun control necessary to stop this from happening?” And don’t get me wrong, obviously it makes me sad that my brother is having dreams like this, but he didn’t have this dream because gun control is too lax in the United States. He had this dream because he is constantly inundated with news of the most recent mass shootings and being told how terrible it was and how many people died.

At time of writing, 297 mass shootings have occurred so far this year, averaging out to about 1.2 mass shootings per day. 335 people were killed in mass shootings and 1,219 were injured but survived, for a total of 1,554 victims to date in 2019.

Now, don’t get me wrong. That’s problematic. But what I think is more problematic is the fact that if I type “Dayton Ohio shooting” into Google, there are over 36 million results.

Look, here’s the thing. In 2017, heart disease, in its various forms, killed 647,457 people. Cancer took 599,108 lives. Alzheimer’s, 121,404. And those are just various diseases. The National Safety Council estimates that about 40,100 people were killed in car accidents in 2017. Meanwhile, only 181 people were killed in mass shootings.

The fact of the matter here is that humans are not logical creatures – we’re emotional ones. It doesn’t matter as much to us – or at least we don’t talk about it as much – that hundreds of thousands of people are being killed by diseases. People get scared by mass shootings because they are not a result of inaction but a result of bad action. People are scared of mass shootings because we are gripped with a sense of pain and despair when we imagine anyone, especially a child, gripped with terror. But a child suffering from cancer? Well, have you donated to the Boston’s Children Hospital this year? Okay, and have you gotten into an argument with someone about gun control?

The United States media is made up of capitalist enterprises, and capitalist enterprises do whatever they have to stay competitive. Unfortunately, lately that comes at the expense of basically any manner of morality at all. Deranged, violent people won’t stop attacking people if you make it illegal for them to buy guns. They’ll just steal the guns first. They won’t stop attacking people if they are denied access to violent video games. But they might stop if they didn’t think they would become infamous for their actions. They might stop if they didn’t think they’d be immortalized by the media for their terrible actions. They might.

 

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