Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dennis Prager Asks Some Questions About School Shootings

In an article that appeared online at Jewish World Review, Dennis Prager asks some hard questions about recent trends in news coverage of shootings at universities. Mr. Prager has his own take on each of these questions, and I suggest you read the column for yourself.

Question 1: Why are murderers always counted in the victims tally? The day after the mass murder of students at Northern Illinois University (NIU), the headline in the closest major newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, was: "6 Dead in NIU Shooting."

"6 dead" included the murderer. Why wasn't the headline "5 killed at NIU"? It is nothing less than moronic that the media routinely lump murderers and their victims in the same tally.

My take is that the mindset of our media gatekeepers is that the dead perpetrator is not the real "bad guy". Gun Violence is the real bad guy, and the dead perpetrator is just another unfortunate victim.

Question 2: Which of these three options is more likely to prevent further murderous rampages: a) making universities closed campuses and increasing the police presence on campus (as the president of NIU has promised to do); b) making guns much harder to obtain; or c) enabling specially trained students and faculty to carry concealed weapons on campus?

...Of course, there is virtually no chance that the uniformly left-thinking individuals who run our universities will ever consider ... [option c]. To do so would mean abandoning what is essentially a religious-like conviction that guns are immoral rather than the people who use them immorally.

It's part of the narrative, isn't it? Guns are evil, not people (except for evangelical Christians, conservatives and Republicans).

Question 3: Why are "shooter" and "gunman" used instead of "killer" or "murderer"?
If a murderer used a knife to murder five students, no news headlines would read, "Knifeman Kills Five." So why always "shooter" and "gunman"?

Obviously, since the narrative is that guns are bad, not people, phrasing it this way focuses attention, and also the blame, on guns and gun violence, instead of placing responsibility for the evil act upon the actor.

Question 4: Why is "murder" never used to describe homicides involved in these university massacres? And why is "murderer" never used to describe these murderers? Why has "kill" become the only word allowed for deliberate homicide?

Perhaps it has something to do with our compunction to not try and convict people in the press before they are actually convicted in a court of law. And it's easier to throw the perps in with the victims if they're not classified as murderers. Remember, guns are evil, not people, and it's easier to sell that narrative if we don't call them "murderers".

Question 5: Would the press note killers' religiosity if they were all Christian?

I don't think think there's any question that they would, and of course, they'd be right to do it. Mr. Prager makes a valid point in his article. Read the whole thing here.