Friday, December 14, 2012

Too long for a FB post.. but while we're on the subject of the CT shooting..

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.


  1. I haven't posted anything about this event...mainly because I feel like there is nothing good I can say. There is nothing good, period. And to be honest, it kind of bugs me how, thanks to the media/social networking, that everyone is suddenly terribly affected by/an expert on things that- in reality- have absolutely nothing to do with them. It's a sad situation, yes, and maybe I'm just that hard hearted, but I would be lying to say that this really affects me or try to make it ABOUT ME by broadcasting my opinion/feelings.

  2. Thank you for such an honest post on this, for not worrying about how people will take it and just writing your feelings on it.

    You took the words out of my mouth when you asked if we would give this the same amount of attention if it were a mosque or if it weren't children.

    I remember when 9/11 happened and I was in high school in New York. They added metal detectors and policemen and women at every entrance. I suppose I differ on opinion, as far as control. I want to live in a world where we don't need to control everything, like with pat downs and metal detectors. For those things are only bandaids anyway. They don't stop the person carrying the gun. Had he been there, bang, bang and those cops are dead and he walk right on through the metal detectors. So I say we go to the source, when addressing control, and look and address gun control laws and access to mental health facilities.

    Oh and I love what you said about our Facebook status not leading to world change. I have long and deleted my Facebook account but I remember post after post, from the same people, saying "like this and you support the troops." I'm a military veteran and it drove me nuts because some picture you like is not "supporting the troops." Instead, acting on pushing laws to support them, voting to support them, sending them care packages (and not just talking about it) supports them.

    Lastly, I love what you said about taking things from the media with a grain of salt. I have spoken on this so many times. I have a post, my how to make money bookmarks post, where I share some of my experiences when I was deployed to Afghanistan and how they (the media) like to portray those people is both wrong and a lie but cruel, for the people I met in that country are the nicest people I've ever met in my entire life.

    Thank you for this post!

    All the best,

    1. Aubrey,
      Thank you for stopping by! I love getting feedback on my "ranty" posts and being able to have an intelligent, rational conversation about topics at hand.

      I have seen this "delete Facebook" option, but its a dark place, and Mufasa told me to never go to the dark places. :) I bet I'd write sooo many more blogs if I didn't have Facebook.

      My experiences overseas weren't as good as your sadly. Maybe its because I didn't get to carry an M-16 around? I kid, I kid.. kinda.

    2. Hey Meg,

      Oh deleting my Facebook account made it a brighter place for me. It simplified things, gave me more time and allowed me to focus on what I really love. Plus I really don't like the company and what people do with it.

      Well I'm not going to lie, most of the people I was deployed with boo-hooed their way though deployment and that just didn't make sense to me. So my buddies and I decided to make it a brighter experience and get something out of it. So we talked with those people, learned some Farsi and it all grew from there. It's my belief that we can see brightness in all dark things. :)



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