Thursday, June 15, 2017

Yesterday's Other Mass Shooting in the United States

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Congress and the various state legislatures go to great lengths to keep from doing any official tallying of gun deaths and injuries in America - because those are numbers that the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers and arms merchants would prefer we don't have.  But there are private individuals and independent groups keeping track of the carnage.  One such group is Gun Violence Archive, an organization which is reporting that so far in the year 2017 there have been 154 mass shootings in the United States - and 6,880 gun-related deaths - and 13,504 injuries from firearms.  That's one big, bloody mess!

Needless to say, many of these shootings don't make the news, and if they do, coverage often does not go beyond local media markets.  Americans only have time for the highlights - big, sexy shootings that capture the interest - like the one yesterday where a shooter with a political agenda opened fire on a Republican baseball practice.  Several people were injured in that shooting, including one, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who is reportedly in critical condition.  There was, however, only one fatality - and that was the shooter.

But it was a high interest story, one that inspired presidential tweets and coverage by all of the country's major news outlets.

Sadly, that was not the only major mass shooting to go down in the United States yesterday.  A lone gunman opened fire at a UPS facility in San Francisco where he managed to kill three people before being shot and killed himself.  A body count of four - versus only one in the Washington, DC, area shooting - yet the one involving congressmen got nearly all of the press oxygen.

I would not have heard about the San Francisco shooting except for the fact that when I ask Alexa to play NPR, she defaults to KQED in San Francisco - rather than to my local public radio station, an outlet that did not report on the shooting in San Francisco at all.  Last night at pinochle as the other old farts were busy chattering about the awful shooting outside of DC, all were surprised when I mentioned the shooting with multiple fatalities in San Francisco because no one had heard about it - so obviously Fox News did not cover that story either.

The point of all of that is that gun violence is more prevalent in America than most of us can even begin to imagine.  It has become so commonplace that only truly horrific incidents or those involving celebrities ever make it into the national news cycles.  The numbers of gun deaths in our country is huge - but the NRA would rather we stayed ignorant on the subject, and the news outlets just cherry pick the stories that they think we want to know about.  They would all have us bask in blissful ignorance until that fateful day when gun violence finally blasts its way into our sheltered lives.

Keep those heads firmly buried in the sand, America.  The world isn't really dangerous until those bullets start striking close to home.

1 comment:

Helen said...

Exactly what I said to my dental hygienist this morning! Where was the outrage about the San Francisco shooting? We know the answer - not high profile or sexy enough.