a modern zen koan

If a gunman in a mall shoots two people and it doesn’t make the news, does anyone die?

So a man with a shotgun killed two people in a mall in my home town before he himself died. I don’t know if he killed himself or was shot by security. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of reporting about it. Yes, it’s all over a local paper. But it’s not taking up the front of CNN.com, and it’s the 8th story on MSNBC.com’s news stories. And I’m just curious: what does this mean?

Whenever there is a mass shooting, there is crap all over the news. This one is different.

Two probably isn’t mass. Also, people aren’t saying that this was random. People are saying that there was a “domestic dispute.” That the victims were the shooter’s ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend. Does this make it less sensational? More palatable? Are people less likely to eat up the story because there isn’t the fear of “it can happen to anyone” connected with it? Is it just another story of domestic violence?

Or is the media finally listening? Each time it happens there is a group of people crying to the news to not give the shooter attention. To  not sensationalize the story. Is this what we are finally seeing? Or are we just desensitized to it?

About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
This entry was posted in Feminist issues and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to a modern zen koan

  1. Heather says:

    I’m afraid it’s because it wasn’t “mass” and because it was personal and domestic. Unfortunately. And that sucks. I don’t want the media to sensationalize it, but as a potential domestic violence event, I think it deserves more coverage. And conversation.

    I’m one of those people who can’t stand the way the media sensationalizes things, but it’ll probably be a cold day in hell before they stop.

    • emmawolf says:

      Actually, I was incorrect. It looks like there was no relationship (or former relationship) between the shooter and the victims. But I seem to remember hearing more news about other events with low(ish) body counts when the facts were similar–random people, public place, homemade explosives in addition to gun. Of course, there’s been so much of this shit on the news that I could be wrong. But I just can’t shake the feeling that this was dismissed because people thought it was domestic violence and therefore acceptable. It wasn’t. But even if it was, it’s not. That disturbs me more than anything else. But I should be glad that for once the media is not sensationalizing it. I’m all conflicted!

      • Heather says:

        Right. I agree with everything you’ve said here.

        And there’s a huge difference between sensationalizing these things, and giving them the coverage they deserved in a more professional/sober way. Does that make sense? That’s what I want to see from the media.

        • emmawolf says:

          Yes. You’re right! Maybe this was adequate coverage just not sensationalism. And maybe I’ve become so used to sensationalism that I’ve forgotten what news is supposed to look like. Even if not, I’ll go with it now so I feel less icky.

          Thanks for talking me down.

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