I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, perhaps it is a little bit of both; but am I the only one who has noticed that mass shootings and terrorist incidents are not dominating the American news the way they did just a few weeks ago?
I know we are in the middle of a presidential campaign and one of the two major candidates is the most outrageous we have seen certainly in my lifetime. Outrageous translates into news coverage. Add to that the fact that we just came off two solid weeks of political conventions.
However there have been several terrorist events, along with several shooting and none of them received the wall-to-wall coverage they normally do in America. That is a good thing in that I often criticize the for profit media as being unable to cover more than one major story at a time. In fact they usually beat that story to death to the point that much of their coverage borders on worthless.
The lack of coverage is also a good thing in that it lessens the probability of copycats. In a perverse and unintended way the obsessive news coverage romanticizes the acts. There is some weird desire on the part of many people to be what they perceive as famous. The best example of people doing things they normally wouldn’t just to achieve “fame” is the old public access cable TV show Midnight Blue. A regular feature of the show was to take cameras out onto the streets of New York City and offer to put people on the air if they got naked. It is amazing how many people took their clothes off on TV. While I’m certainly not saying that all terrorists or mass shooters are simply seeking some strange idea of fame; I’m certain some are.
One bad consequence of almost no coverage is that with the problems of terrorism and mass shootings removed from the public consciousness there will be less political pressure to combat and hopefully solve these scourges. Out of sight may equal out of mind but it doesn’t mean the problems don’t exist.
A chilling thought is that we may be becoming somewhat desensitized to mass shootings and terrorist acts because they have become too frequent and are losing their shock value. These events are still problems and they along with their underlying causes must be addressed. These are not if we don’t talk about it, it won’t exist issues. Not that I’ve ever seen that approach to any problem work.
This is particularly true of police shootings – in either direction! We cannot have people taking pot shots at or ambushing our law enforcement personnel. By the same token policing will never be effective if any portion of the law abiding public is rightfully fearful of the people who are paid to protect them. No good guy should ever fear the police and no police officer should ever fear a citizen because of the color of their skin or the neighborhood they live in. When either or both of those situations exist the system doesn’t work.
We don’t need wall-to-wall coverage of events with interviews of old neighbors who haven’t seen the “players” in 20 years; but “radio silence” doesn’t serve society either.
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