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The Narrative​ of a Mass Shooting

It is sad to say that we live in a world where mass shootings are commonplace in the United States. That these mass shootings are so common that we know what the political song and dance will be as it happens. Politicians will offer their “thoughts and prayers to the victims,” people and political candidates will be upset by the lack of meaningful legislation, and then the media will say it is too soon to talk about legislation right after a tragedy and try to reframe the issue from being about the shooting to being about mental health. Does this sound right to you?

Any long-time follower of this website would know that I am not unbiased in this argument. A lone gunman came to my university in 2008 and shot up the front row of an auditorium. I still have nightmares of the aftermath of that day. As a wife and mother now I sometimes fear the pervasiveness of guns in this country. When I came back from China I had many people ask me if I felt relief or safer being on American soil. Truthfully I felt safer in China than I do here sometimes, I came back because I missed my family, friends and my own culture.

Why has there not been any meaningful legislation when it comes to gun control. There is a shockingly easy answer to this, the 24-hour news cycle and how campaigns are funded. Let’s look into this. When we think of the 24-hour news cycle we think of CNN, because they did it first. CNN, FOX News, MSNBC all need content, and what is more sensational than twenty children being murdered. The first school shooting that anyone thinks of is Columbine in April of 1999, but not all mass killings on American soil have been school shootings. Mother Jones has posted a list of mass shootings that include the years 1982-2019 (last edited July 28th2019) click here for that article. I know that correlation does not equal causation, but it seems rather obvious that having a news cycle that is craving content feeds into this cycle of violence.

Now what about campaign funding? We have all heard about the “evil NRA” and how much money the NRA gives to gun friendly politicians and political candidates. What the NRA has been able to do is to modivate a base of voters to believe that their fundimental freedoms are at stake.

The media and money speak louder than millions of Americans who don’t want armed guards in schools, who don’t want to fear weapons in large public spaces and who don’t want to have to listen to bull crap that is out to sensationalize the people who were there and truly hurt.

We need to stop talking about the lack of mental health services for the shooter after the fact and not giving money to states to increase mental health services. We need to realize that people cannot shoot people without a gun in their hand.

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