Jump to content

Why do we care about mass shootings?


Lance
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm not trying to be insensitive. I had a knee jerk reaction just like everybody else. But when you really sit down and think about the situation, why do we care so much?

 

It can't be because of the age of the victims. Many, many times that number die in other preventable ways. The number of children that die in mass shootings is minuscule in comparison.

 

So why spend money on preventing such a small proportion of preventable deaths?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great to have you back, Lance!

 

 

 

Remember when CNN introduced the 24/7 news cycle? One case I remember in particular was when Susan Smith killed her two boys back in 1991. Within a week of her admission of guilt CNN was reporting on two other cases where mothers had killed their children, making it seem like an epidemic.

 

The truth was, those other cases were geographically and chronologically separated by quite a bit. There was no real journalistic reason to tie them together. But CNN's ratings went off the charts. They had discovered the power of databasing stories from all over the country, all over the world. They could imply correlations without actually stating them, and that made viewers reluctant to switch channels, the ultimate goal of any televised media program. They had discovered a business reason to tie disparate stories together and journalism has died a bit more every year since.

 

So I think this is mostly why we care about these mass shootings. We've been conditioned that an abundance of concern and short-term reaction will possibly help us prevent something similar from occurring in our locale. Politicians know they'll get lots of air time and be seen as reactive and concerned. And the media tacitly promises a lucrative stage for anyone who decides to grab their 15 minutes of fame and get rid of some of their stockpiled ammo at the same time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's also the plane-crash effect, which I think is different from the phenomenon Phi described. Even though plane travel is statistically safer than car travel, seemingly every plane crash gets reported but not every car crash, and this was in effect before CNN. So mass killings anywhere get reported whereas small-scale gun violence is only reported locally, like car crashes. It distorts our view of the danger and scope.

 

I guess that sums up my problem with the situation. Why advocate legislation based entirely on an emotional reaction to the media?

 

Because emotional reactions are the bulk of the reason people get elected. Doing nothing is not an option. Even if what you do is flawed, you still did something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally, I can't fathom why more people aren't up in arms about some of the actions we're condoning in this country. The media should inform only, and anyone who thinks they aren't being influenced by the for-profit foundation of modern media is fooling themselves. FOX News won a court battle to allow them to lie and call it news.

 

By reporting in the sensationalistic way they do, the media is sowing the seeds for their next sensationalistic story. If we found out that someone was starting exaggerated rumors of home burglaries in the area to help promote their home security business, we'd want their heads on a platter. Why don't we feel the same about the media?

 

I feel the same way when Congress stands in the way of something the country needs based on partisan bickering, like the 2011 snafu on the debt ceiling that resulted in the US credit rating being downgraded (which cost us billions extra in future borrowing). Why shouldn't they be tried as traitors for such a willful act against this country?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally, I can't fathom why more people aren't up in arms about some of the actions we're condoning in this country. The media should inform only, and anyone who thinks they aren't being influenced by the for-profit foundation of modern media is fooling themselves. FOX News won a court battle to allow them to lie and call it news.

 

By reporting in the sensationalistic way they do, the media is sowing the seeds for their next sensationalistic story. If we found out that someone was starting exaggerated rumors of home burglaries in the area to help promote their home security business, we'd want their heads on a platter. Why don't we feel the same about the media?

 

I feel the same way when Congress stands in the way of something the country needs based on partisan bickering, like the 2011 snafu on the debt ceiling that resulted in the US credit rating being downgraded (which cost us billions extra in future borrowing). Why shouldn't they be tried as traitors for such a willful act against this country?

 

I agree and it’s not just your country, calling it news is nothing but sensationalism. Let’s be honest with ourselves its car crash T.V. if it was really news and not just the worst things that have happened on any particular day would the majority watch? It seems we like to frighten ourselves, possibly to reassure, that individually things could be worst or maybe we just like to see carnage?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I agree and it’s not just your country, calling it news is nothing but sensationalism. Let’s be honest with ourselves its car crash T.V. if it was really news and not just the worst things that have happened on any particular day would the majority watch? It seems we like to frighten ourselves, possibly to reassure, that individually things could be worst or maybe we just like to see carnage?

Our attraction to what we fear is definitely part of it, but I think it's mainly what is being exploited and then justified as "reporting the news in depth". To me it seems more akin to creating computer viruses so you can sell programs that fix them, or any other protection racket where you charge someone to protect them from damage you'll do if they don't. If you don't pay attention to the news of mass killings, you won't be able to spot the next mass killer copycatting the last mass killing they saw on the news.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The fact this happened to children has significance to those who would sensationalize this event. "won't someone please think of the children" has been used against everything from comic books to atheism. Emotional content not only sells it convinces people of things that are insanely unlikely. The whole thing about child abuse and stranger danger is meaningless if you look at the real world, most abuse is by family members... Sensationalism rules... reality drools...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have a huge reaction to such news. There is always a desire to know why. To at least feel there is a logic, even if flawed, a possible answer to what causes such behaviour, in the hope of heading off the next. It is always terribly sad, when children are involved.

 

I must admit, when it involves Americans, I feel the obsession with insisting almost everyone is allowed overpowered, mass killing guns is really one of the answers, to how, and I find myself wondering, given half the country insist on their 'rights,' despite the evidence it will be far more likely to cause danger to their own community/family, that maybe it's a bizarre US form of population control... No one seems to think anything should be done to help/control the dangerous, with easy access to adequate mental health care. Far better to own a bigger/faster/more horrifying gun than those around you. It appears it is almost as likely it will end up hurting family/friends in accidents/temper meltdowns, but that is apparently okay. I just feel sad for those in the country who are anti gun, are gentle, kindly people, who keep getting caught up in the horror.

 

My own deep concern/reaction, I notice, revolves around who the victims are... If it was a mass shooting of poachers of animals at risk, etc, I would be quite chuffed, and not really need any explanation, to feel secure in my little world. Apart from children, on an empathic level, the other mass killing that distressed me most, was the Finnish killing of the young, responsible, left wing activists. There the answer why was clear, easily understood, but very disturbing.

 

For all the demand for guns of increasing killing power in the US, I still believe Australians feel FAR safer in their beds and out and about, even with the illegal guns in circulation. I believe statistics back me up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So why spend money on preventing such a small proportion of preventable deaths?

 

 

Because most in power probably feel it's politically impossible to do anything meaningful on the other causes of death or the ~35 deaths that occur daily by gun in the US. IMO, it's security theater akin to taking off our shoes at the airport or limiting us to 3 oz of liquids in our carry-on luggage.

 

 

I do think mayor of Newark, New Jersey Cory Booker has some good ideas that might have an impact, though, specifically on the secondary and tertiary markets where sales occur:

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cory-booker/gun-law-reform_b_2346911.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As an approximation, in the roughly 27 hours since this thread was opened 30,000 children have died of preventable conditions. This makes it difficult for me to get unduly excited about the loss of a specific sub-group.Before you choose to call me heartless, may I ask what your position is on the 30,0000?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It makes you wonder if the media would even cover a mass shooting at a retirement community.

See:

Eight dead in Carthage nursing-home shooting:

http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/4837676/

 

The above article has a link to a slide show of photos of the victims, who it must be acknowledged were not as photogenic at their advanced age as were the child victims of the Connecticut shooting.

 

 

Leaving a camouflage Remington 597 .22 caliber rifle atop a Jeep Cherokee, Stewart entered the nursing home armed with a .357-caliber handgun , a .22 Magnum semi-automatic pistol and a 12-gauge Winchester 1300 shotgun and went down the hall apparently searching for his wife, Wanda Neal, who had been reassigned to the Alzheimer unit that morning. Upon realizing that his wife wasn't where she usually worked he headed to the area for Alzheimer's patients which was secured by passcode-protected doors. As he walked through the hallways of the nursing home, Stewart killed seven residents, two of them in their wheelchairs, while the staff tried to bring the patients to safety. One nurse, Jerry Avant, was also shot and killed when he tried to stop the gunman.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carthage_nursing_home_shooting

 

Note that the perpetrator didn't need an assault rifle with a 30 round magazine to carry out this act of mass killing. So what steps might be taken to lessen the likelihood of similar incidents?

Edited by Bill Angel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As an approximation, in the roughly 27 hours since this thread was opened 30,000 children have died of preventable conditions. This makes it difficult for me to get unduly excited about the loss of a specific sub-group.Before you choose to call me heartless, may I ask what your position is on the 30,0000?

 

Any citations or links for that statistic? I think its important to know what these "preventable conditions" constitute. I think that information is relevant to the overall discussion. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I must admit, when it involves Americans, I feel the obsession with insisting almost everyone is allowed overpowered, mass killing guns is really one of the answers, to how, and I find myself wondering, given half the country insist on their 'rights,' despite the evidence it will be far more likely to cause danger to their own community/family, that maybe it's a bizarre US form of population control... No one seems to think anything should be done to help/control the dangerous, with easy access to adequate mental health care. Far better to own a bigger/faster/more horrifying gun than those around you. It appears it is almost as likely it will end up hurting family/friends in accidents/temper meltdowns, but that is apparently okay. I just feel sad for those in the country who are anti gun, are gentle, kindly people, who keep getting caught up in the horror.

 

My own deep concern/reaction, I notice, revolves around who the victims are... If it was a mass shooting of poachers of animals at risk, etc, I would be quite chuffed, and not really need any explanation, to feel secure in my little world. Apart from children, on an empathic level, the other mass killing that distressed me most, was the Finnish killing of the young, responsible, left wing activists. There the answer why was clear, easily understood, but very disturbing.

 

For all the demand for guns of increasing killing power in the US, I still believe Australians feel FAR safer in their beds and out and about, even with the illegal guns in circulation. I believe statistics back me up.

 

The average scary looking "assault weapon" is far less powerful than hunting rifles. Hunting rifles are designed to immediately kill their target. Otherwise people whine about unethical hunting. Military weapons are designed to injure rather than kill because it takes more people out of the fight. Sure you could argue magazine capacity, but when you can reload in a fraction of a second that also becomes pretty irrelevant. The carbine used in the Columbine shooting only used 10 round magazines available.

 

Nobody in the US is carrying around squad automatic weapons. That's the media being dramatic.

 

As an approximation, in the roughly 27 hours since this thread was opened 30,000 children have died of preventable conditions. This makes it difficult for me to get unduly excited about the loss of a specific sub-group.Before you choose to call me heartless, may I ask what your position is on the 30,0000?

 

I won't be the one to call you heartless. The statistics were actually my entire point. I was looking for somebody to explain why they felt the shooting was statistically relevant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And to think, after all of the dark and satanical information about gun killings, many people actually spend tons of bucks buying and enjoying them. Check out the other available link attachments. Some are enlightening, others just plain stupid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=OQnU1t7UzgM

 

This one is a Lu-Lu and shows what some people who are supposed to be responsible, don't know.

Edited by rigney
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's also the plane-crash effect...

 

IMO, this is almost certainly the correct answer to the central question being discussed. I'm reminded of the expression that we tend to be "penny wise, but pound/dollar foolish."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And to think, after all of the dark and satanical information about gun killings, many people actually spend tons of bucks buying and enjoying them.

 

I hope you realize that the two parts of your statement are not mutually exclusive, and that people involved in the discussion know this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not trying to be insensitive. I had a knee jerk reaction just like everybody else. But when you really sit down and think about the situation, why do we care so much?

 

It can't be because of the age of the victims. Many, many times that number die in other preventable ways. The number of children that die in mass shootings is minuscule in comparison.

 

So why spend money on preventing such a small proportion of preventable deaths?

 

I don't disagree with most of the previous posts, but I'm not sure that we really care that much. Big tragedies like this will get the news, but it eventually dies down until the next one. I think we spend quite a bit of resources fighting diseases, making products safe, making products to improve safety and prevent accidents, etc. Has anything been done in regards to this issue?

 

 

These things are rare, but we do know they are going to happen from time to time. They also are not part of our useful lives, like driving to places or having fun. So if there are some simple actions that can be taken to limit the possible damage, why not?

 

The average scary looking "assault weapon" is far less powerful than hunting rifles. Hunting rifles are designed to immediately kill their target. Otherwise people whine about unethical hunting. Military weapons are designed to injure rather than kill because it takes more people out of the fight. Sure you could argue magazine capacity, but when you can reload in a fraction of a second that also becomes pretty irrelevant. The carbine used in the Columbine shooting only used 10 round magazines available.

The less firepower a monster has the better. Reloading makes them vulnerable, giving them the chance that they can be stopped or someone can escape. If reloading is irrelevent, than everybody can reload.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't disagree with most of the previous posts, but I'm not sure that we really care that much. Big tragedies like this will get the news, but it eventually dies down until the next one. I think we spend quite a bit of resources fighting diseases, making products safe, making products to improve safety and prevent accidents, etc. Has anything been done in regards to this issue?

 

 

These things are rare, but we do know they are going to happen from time to time. They also are not part of our useful lives, like driving to places or having fun. So if there are some simple actions that can be taken to limit the possible damage, why not?

 

 

Well no, now that I think about it. The media as well as the President are demanding that something be done, but nothing has actually been done.

 

I would absolutely advocate simple actions to limit possible damage.

 

 

 

The less firepower a monster has the better. Reloading makes them vulnerable, giving them the chance that they can be stopped or someone can escape. If reloading is irrelevant, than everybody can reload.

 

 

There's no 1-10 value for firepower. It's far, far more complicated than that. A pistol caliber with less “firepower” is more effective at close range. Pistol calibers with less kinetic energy tend to deliver more energy into their targets because the rifle caliber punches through the target without delivering all of it's energy. Pistol calibers are also larger so they have a higher change of hitting a vital artery. I would actually be more comfortable with a 9mm pistol than a 5.56mm AR at conversational distance. The shooters you hear about in the media didn't choose their weapons because of effectiveness, they chose them because they are weapons that are glorified by the media. An AR just looks so much more cool and scary, yet most hunters would call you unethical if you tried shooting even a small deer with it, because it apparently lacks firepower. A .30-06 hunting rifle, which nobody has any interest in banning because they don't look scary, has 3 times the kinetic energy.

 

Reloading IS relevant when facing another shooter. It is NOT relevant when facing unarmed civilians. Unarmed civilians don't have time to escape in the 1 second it takes to reload. Another shooter can take advantage of that one second however.

 

Yes, you could argue limiting capacity allows police a better chance to stop the shooter. But let's be honest here, police don't actually stop anything. They arrive after the shooter commits suicide or runs away so they can write a report.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

IMO, this is almost certainly the correct answer to the central question being discussed. I'm reminded of the expression that we tend to be "penny wise, but pound/dollar foolish."

 

And unfortunately the rush to legislate whilst the emotions are running hot is often very ill advised - hard cases make bad law.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.