If you're breathing, American, and have access to social media, you know that there was a school shooting in Connecticut on Friday, December 14th. You know the gunman is dead. You know he shot up an elementary school. You know he killed children and adults. You probably know the exact numbers of those children and adults that were wounded and killed.
I do not write this to sound like I'm unconcerned. I am trying to write objectively and without bias. Mostly, this will come off as being extremely nonchalant about the shooting, so if you are easily offended, just click any random link on the right (if you're on the blog site) to take you to a different blog post.
While the events that happened today are "horrific" and everyone is already concerned about how the media will "spin" this event, in the same way they do every other "horrific event" they report on, I want to tell you something. They already did.
You see, by giving you ALL the facts, this story "spun" itself.
An extremely broad summary of this event would be: 27 people were killed (including the shooter) and however many people injured at a school shooting.
This could be the same description for the Virginia Tech or Columbine shootings as well.
But in the details, this story unraveled itself. 20 children were killed at an elementary school shooting. Instantly, you are more concerned. Who the hell shoots children?
While valid, I feel like the erroneous reporting was partially due to the pressure of people demanding information on a story where there was little to no information available based on the incident involving children.
I'm 100% sure that this event will spark debates of gun control, entry point control, therapy for these people for years to come, how "damaged" they will be... I feel like giving the story more attention due to the fact that it involved children shows a level of bias.
Would we be as concerned if this was a middle school? High school? College? What about if it was a mosque? What if there were children shot at a mosque? What if it was this same guy that walked into an office building and killed 20 adults? Are you still as concerned? Are you still praying for the families? Would you have been watching the news all day if it wasn't children?
I am purposely playing devil's advocate with these questions, but still, they stand. Would you be less concerned if it wasn't children that were killed?
Let it stand that I do believe that this incident is abominable (to use the word "horrific" makes me want to punch a baby (too soon?). I mean Hurricane Sandy was pretty "horrific" as well... ugh). I believe that everyone will be traumatized by this event... In the same way that those affected by Columbine and Virginia Tech were effected.
For some of us, we don't have to even say "the Columbine shooting", we just refer to it as "Columbine" and others know. For this generation, it will simply be "Newtown."
Despite being in school during Columbine, I walked straight into my old high school every day without challenge or question. I can still walk through the front doors and straight into the cafeteria area and onto the classroom area and not be stopped. I've done it... Several years post graduation. I wasn't stopped, I wasn't questioned. I remember that our school started locking every door but the office entrance doors after 8am. Late students used to get annoyed at having to walk around to the office entrance, but we knew it was because of Columbine. The explanation was, you never know who could just walk into the school. Years later, we become lax and people (me) walk in without stopping at the front office to sign in or maybe we even walk in the student entrance that someone forgot to lock that morning (I've done this as well). While I'm just an innocent person visiting a former teacher, I'm a stranger to the faculty who don't remember me or know me. Where is the control?
I remember some schools instituted metal detectors and families were all up in arms about privacy. I bet someone wishes this guy had gone through some form of security before being allowed to enter the school. Who do you trust with your children?
Another aspect I want to discuss is the misinformation that was put out by the media. The incorrect identification of the shooter. If I was the brother, I'd be livid. Probably to the point of suing for defamation. There are still several websites that still have the brother listed as the shooter in their "timeline reports".
The fact that it was reported that the shooter's mother was killed "at the school", yet there was an unidentified body at the shooter's home all morning and they couldn't figure out who it was? If you don't know what's going on, keep your mouth shut. If you aren't certain on facts, stop reporting suspicions. There's definitely a reason I'm not a journalist. I had the opportunity to pick that major and was solidly against it. I personally feel like journalism is a trade where it is hard to fight the objective battle and report facts and be successful, so I bowed out early on.
So really, my point is, like always, take everything that you see and learn from the media with a grain of salt. Don't believe everything you're told. Don't read more into an issue than there actually is. Separate yourself from the bias and be critical over what information you have access to. Don't jump on the bandwagon because everyone else is, form your own opinions based on facts that you've researched.
Finally, your Facebook status, while heartwarming, will not bring about world peace, changes to the 2nd amendment, or any other world altering change.