Did you all know there was another mass shooting in the U.S. on Saturday morning? It happened in Lancaster, South Carolina at a sports bar – 2 people were killed, and 8 others injured. There was no “breaking news” update on my phone, I saw nothing in the usual places about it, and even once I saw brief mention of it on the Associated Press (AP) website and went in search of further information, I found the story only in the back pages of the New York Times and Time magazine. Nowhere else. Why?
Is it because only two people were killed? Because it took place in a bar? Because it was South Carolina? Or because we are becoming so inured to the news of mass shootings that this wasn’t really considered by the editors to be ‘big news’? Or … more ominous still, was it suppressed intentionally? I don’t know the answer, and I’m not trying to put forth some conspiracy theory, but folks … 10 people were shot! Why was this not ‘breaking news’???
A clue to why this wasn’t national news may lie with the statement by Lancaster Country Sheriff Barry Faile …
“This was a violent incident of huge magnitude that was witnessed by lots of people. We don’t think this was a situation where a random person armed himself and went into a randomly selected location and shot a bunch of unknown people.”
Apparently, the sheriff believes that the shooting was the result of a local conflict. While he declined to discuss the nature of the dispute, he said that one of those killed had been involved in the conflict, which had been going on for a couple of months. He also said that neither the victim involved in the dispute nor the person officials were seeking as the gunman were legally allowed to have guns, both having been previously convicted on firearms charges.
So, because it was rather a Hatfield vs McCoys situation in the rural south, it’s not newsworthy? It’s still a mass shooting with people dead and injured because … because … well, guns. I guess that since it wasn’t widely reported, the NRA and our elected lawmakers didn’t feel they needed to bother to even send their ‘thoughts and prayers’ … it’s the weekend, after all … they obviously have more important things to do, like playing golf or watching sports on television than to be bothered that people are losing their lives.
This summer, we heard about El Paso, Dayton, and Odessa … they were big news, for a few days anyway. But did you realize that between Memorial Day in May, and Labour Day in September, there were 26 mass shootings in 18 states, leaving 126 people dead? More than half of the mass killing suspects this summer had a family or romantic tie to at least one victim. Among them: A teenager in Alabama accused of killing five relatives, a father in Iowa who killed his wife and two school-aged sons, a man in Oklahoma charged with killing his wife and stepchildren.
A variety of scenarios and motives. The common denominator? A gun. Time and time and time again we hear the tired old NRA motto that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. True, but people use guns to kill people. Sure, people also use knives and fists to kill people, but a gun does it so much quicker and more efficiently. You stand a good chance of outrunning or outmaneuvering a man with a knife, but you cannot outrun a gun. Make no mistake … contrary to what those gun lovers will tell you, a gun has one purpose and only one purpose: to kill.
While several of the summer’s 26 mass shootings dominated national headlines, others — like a triple homicide in rural Pennsylvania — received little attention beyond where they happened. WHY??? Is this nation becoming so numb to the daily toll of gun violence that it is no longer considered newsworthy unless it happens in the public eye? Or is it possible that the ‘free press’ is not as free as we believe?
With each mass shooting that did receive national media attention, the public outcry grew louder and louder. When Ohio’s governor spoke at a vigil in August, Dayton residents drowned him out with shouts of “Do something!” Imagine if every mass shooting had been headline news … how loud might the public be screaming for gun laws today? Instead, most are swept under the carpet …
Think about it.