School Shooting as Normality…When will Americans “get it”
Perspective by John Woodrow Cox and Steven Rich, “After Parkland: What we’ve learned tracking school shootings for 5 years.” The total number of children exposed to gun violence at school has exploded, rising from 187,000 in 2018 to 338,000 now, a Washington Post analysis shows. The Washington Post, February 14, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EST.
In this Washington Post article, I pulled out the paragraphs where ‘country’ (or potentially ‘countries’; six times) is mentioned. It is revealing:
And almost no students can escape the reminders that someone could open fire in their classrooms at any moment. In a country where gun violence is now the leading cause of death for kids and teens, millions of children must walk through metal detectors or run through active-shooter drills meant to prepare them for the threat of mass murder. By one estimate, school systems employ as many as 20,000 resource officers nationwide in an effort to keep their buildings safe.
To complete the first-of-its-kind analysis, Steven reviewed 20,000 news stories, and we collected data from school districts in 31 of the country’s largest cities, but our tally was almost certainly a severe undercount. Many school districts do not track lockdowns, and hundreds never make the news, particularly when they happen at urban schools attended primarily by children of color.
After Parkland, I traveled to a school security conference in Orlando where entrepreneurs from across the country had converged, hoping to capitalize on a panic that had ballooned safety budgets.
In a country with more guns than people, it may be impossible to stop every act of campus violence, but with a few simple, straightforward steps, it is possible to substantially reduce an annual total that has cracked 40 two years in a row.
The country has also been reluctant to go after a group that is among the most responsible for our school shooting epidemic: the people whose negligence allows children to obtain their guns in the first place. Over the past 24 years, we have identified only 10 instances in which the adult owners were criminally charged because they had failed to lock up their firearms.
As journalists, we’re not in the business of pushing policy, but we can say this: Children commit more than half the country’s school shootings — none of which would be possible if those children didn’t have access to guns.
“Journalists not in the business of pushing policy,” are you kidding me; it is a journalist duty – better than blatant political propaganda.
Note that the only country mentioned is the United States. And here is the problem. Talking to Americans, you hear a normalcy on the problem of school mass shootings, as if a pandemic is normal. On the statistical average, there is no idea of the perspectives from the outside world, and how horrifyingly unnormal is it for Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom; to merely mention countries of the shared and historical concept in WASP ‘Commonwealth’. Western European, African, Asian, and Latin countries would concur with the global opinion: school mass shootings are not normal. In the meantime, American media treat such events as grit for the drama mills.
When will Americans “get it” that the problem lies in the intellectual entangled national mythology, and skewered to favour of the militant. As I have said before, the liberal Americans need to be supported in the effort to re-conceptualise the American Story.
Image: The source in The Washington Post.
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