If by chance you ever wonder about how blasé Americans have gotten with gun shootings -- or if perhaps you're in an argument with someone who suggests otherwise -- here's just another piece of evidence.
Just know that there was a mass shooting on a college campus the other day .
And there. You have it.
No, wait, I'm not talking about the mass gun deaths at Umpqua College in Oregon. Did you think that's what I was referring to? Oh, no, we all know about that. It was horrible. A heart-crushing tragedy. The President of the United States spoke publicly about it and was an angry as we've seen him in a long time that nothing is done about gun violence after all the gun deaths we keep seeing -- 12,000 gun deaths last year alone and on a pace to do the same this year. And he went to Roseburg, Oregon, to comfort the grief-stricken community. And it got a lot of media coverage.
No, no, I'm talking about the mass shooting on another college campus that occurred only days later, and it's so much more under the wire by comparison that it got almost no coverage on television, or most anywhere in the media, to the extent that most people probably don't even know about it. It most certainly wasn't headline news emblazoned across the nation. At best a story buried in "Also in the news..." (no pun intended) in Section Two on page three. At worst, totally ignored. The mass shooting I'm talking about occurred only a week later than the one in Umpqua College. It took place this past Friday at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Don't believe me? Don't think there could be a mass gun shooting on a college campus that it not only wouldn't be aghast headline news, but would register SO low on the Yawn Scale that it would go unnoticed?
Here's the link to the full story.
If I had to guess, the reason why this story wasn't worth much coverage -- or close to any national TV coverage -- is because "only" one person died. It was "only" a mass shooting, not a mass gun killing. Call us when more people die.
I'm not criticizing the national TV news media -- exactly, though to a degree, of course. They do have to balance their news priorities, and I get that, and the number of deaths was indeed "only" one. Though I'd think mass gun shootings on college campuses as an overall story would be one of those priorities -- but rather that Americans have seemingly become SO inured to gun shootings in general or mass shootings in general or mass school shootings in general or mass college shootings in specific that when thankfully "only" a single person dies and not multiples of people or everyone in a mass shooting, we don't even blink or pay it much (or any) national attention.
How ignored is the story? Even the corporate-owned National Rifle Association fringe group didn't have to trot out one of its staff apologists to explain that more guns are needed and that it's mentally ill people who kill everyone and that guns aren't the cause of gun deaths For all I know, this mass shooting didn't even register on the NRA's own Mass Shooting-o-Meter.
So, that's how commonplace mass shootings on college campuses have become. Some of them have so few deaths that they're not even worth reporting.
On the other hand, it hopefully means that when these other mass gun killing stories do next occur -- and sadly it seems likely that there will be a next time -- they'll get so much attention because, as we've just seen in Roseburg, when the public does know the story the anger and desire and need to act is growing. And what once could have been just a small patch to fix a problem will turn from blocked inaction into an outraged societal change. And even Pro-Life supporters will realize that the living deserve protection, too.
There is at least some good news in all this, though -- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) offered prayers to the families of the victims. That was very nice. Still, I do suspect that God gets it at this point and doesn't need the prompting, and He's probably wondering why people down here on earth aren't doing their jobs and making sure that better gun control laws are passed instead.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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