Can We Blame Moderate Politics for the Next Mass Shooting?

Every time there’s a mass shooting, partisan members of the media scour social media and public postings to see if the perpetrator had a political agenda that they can blame as extremist and therefore responsible for the latest massacre. What’s going to happen when they find that the killer is a boring centrist moderate swing voter?

10 Comments. Leave new

  • Perhaps it can be rephrased as in the title of a recent Slate*** article, below, that encompasses effects of both “moderate politics” and the blow-back of always-conflict-maximizing media – in this case, carefully coddling racsists.

    Where Taking the Concerns of Racists Seriously Has Gotten Us

    *** you’ll need to scroll through numerous breaks in the text

    • Everybody is careful to pay homage to the “truth” of the mob but each, in public at least, denies that he is speaking of his own sentiments.

      It’s like the white person who fears his neighborhood has a changing demographic that will lower his property value.

      So he does what a racist does; he tries to leave the neighborhood before the big crash, not blaming a race nor a particular racist, but all racists in general, while excluding himself from that category.

  • alex_the_tired
    August 12, 2019 6:07 AM

    Three points:
    1. There is no mass shooting epidemic. Not in the true sense of that phrase. There are more mass shootings now but the number of deaths is still minuscule. From 2000, the number of people in the U.S., dead OR injured from a mass shooting is under 2,500. I’ll assume that the Wikipedia article missed a few, so I’ll double that number to 5,000. And I’ll even simply shift everyone from “wounded” to “dead.” That’s the hard limit, 5,000 dead in 20 years, and I only get that stat by grossly distorting the numbers in the opposition’s favor. So 250 people a year. You’re talking about lightning strike probabilities.
    2. The media–and remember, broadcast news’ mantra for decades has been “if it bleeds, it leads”–has increased its focus on mass shootings because it makes for simple, splashy coverage. Add to this the whole ramp up culturally for each iteration to be more “compelling” and you have a recipe for disaster. If you’re in a school shooting, even if you’re on a completely different level of the building and didn’t even know there was a situation, you’re going to be “I’m a survivor.” The case of David Hogg is instructive. He tried to exit the building, was turned away by a janitor (who probably saved his life by doing so) and hid with a bunch of other students in a closet (the correct thing to do) until the shooting was over. Hogg was scared, sure. But he never saw the shooter, never got shot at. He had the presence of mind to start recording and texting, and the media grabbed him and ran with him. They had the raw video right there. The trend will continue. And each most-telegenic survivor from each shooting will be dragged into the media circus (to boost ratings). I anticipate outrage at some point when every survivor of a school shooting isn’t accepted into Harvard and given a contract at CNN.
    3. As to the politics of the shooters. This comes out of the “simple, splashy coverage” mindset. The reporters–and if you watch the coverage on one of these events from beginning to end you’ll see it clearly–have about three minutes’ worth of actual news. All the rest of the hours-long reporting is vamping. To fill the air time, the reporters discuss the shooters’, well, everything. And the lists of things they come up with are hilariously stupid.
    He was a “loner” in high school. If not, a loner, he had few friends. If he was quite popular? Not a problem. Read the following in your best vapid-caster voice: “Although popular, the shooter clearly had demons.” See? It’s just like praying to Jesus. If he comes through, it’s a success. If he doesn’t? Well, that’s all part of god’s plan. So do the astrologer’s cold read trick. This teenager/young man. Did he play video games? Does he listen to the hip-hop? Was he moody at times? Was there ever any trouble at home? And if, by a miracle, none of those apply? Did he drink water? Did he watch TV? Did he tend to sleep for about 8 to 10 hours a night? Well, there you go. It’s the sleepy, water-drinking TV watchers you have to keep an eye on …

    The sad truth is that the media has elevated the microscopic number of gun-wielding maniacs into the new Red Menace. The number of incidents (and the body count) will increase, in no small part due to how all the breathless TV coverage is egging on the maniacs-to-be by “normalizing” the behavior. But no one can legislate away crazy. You could write good legislation for this on a cocktail napkin though and pass it into law in 20 minutes: 1. Get insurance. 2. All bullets manufactured with plastic microtags (if you shoot someone, the tags go everywhere and will be picked up forensically with ease). 3. Mandatory psychological counseling every year. The GOP and the dems don’t do that, however, because gun control is a big cash cow, just like abortion. The issues will never be resolved because that would mean a huge drop in revenue.

    • There have been 257 mass shootings as of August 12, of this year by the definition below. And 276 killed in them by this date.

      If your average of 250 per year is correct then there must have been lower numbers in the past years since 2000.

      Never try to cross a river averaging four feet deep wearing a load you can’t swim with.

      “GVA uses a purely statistical threshold to define mass shooting based ONLY on the numeric value of 4 or more shot or killed, not including the shooter.”

      I had to download the data file to Excel to total the number of killed. There were also 1,072 injured in mass shootings to this date.

  • Moderate Politics has funded the war machine with 2 billion dollars per day, creating a culture of violence as invisible to Americans as water is to a fish.

    Martin Luther King Jr. was correct in his linking of Vietnam and domestic violence. The U.S. is still “The Greatest Purveyor of Violence in the World Today”.

    Moderate Politics can be blamed for mass murders by means of its non-responsiveness to the desires of the people, for its non-democratic character in perpetuating a culture of violence, so that even more state mass violence is popularly perceived as a solution to end mass violence.

    • There have been 1,734 shootings by POLICE this year, which surpasses the total shot and killed this by mass murderers.

      You won’t find that bit of data repeated daily on the evening news.

  • Since moderation is our national religion …

    «Moderation» as a new synonym for «war». Not bad, Ted – Eric Arthur would be pleased !…


    • National Religion — Political Theology

      I am atheist to the conceptual object of political theology.

      Carl Schmitt’s work has attracted the attention of numerous philosophers and political theorists, including Giorgio Agamben, Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Susan Buck-Morss, Jacques Derrida, Jürgen Habermas, Waldemar Gurian, Jaime Guzmán, Reinhart Koselleck, Friedrich Hayek,[4] Chantal Mouffe, Antonio Negri, Leo Strauss, Adrian Vermeule,[5] and Slavoj Žižek among others.

  • Yeah, it has been interesting to watch the fingers being pointed.

    Me, I’ll point at “unreasoning hatred” and note that the righties got it much worse than the Kumbaya-singing peaceniks on the left, but also that the extremes (on “both” sides) are much more likely to resort to extreme measures.

    • Tariq Ali “The Extreme Centre: A Warning”

      “What is to be done in the twilight of democracy? What is the point of elections? The result is always the same: a victory for the Extreme Centre. Since 1989, politics has become a contest to see who can best serve the needs of the market, a competition now fringed by unstable populist movements.”

      As if there are only two sides.

      As if democracy and capitalism aren’t any more of a conflict of terms than National Socialism.

      The US extreme center has been threatening a civilization-ending nuclear first strike for years.

      I am opposed to the extreme center because they threaten to kill hundreds of millions of people with their wars and climate change.

You must be logged in to post a comment.