Media Loves Mass Shootings

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The Media loves mass shootings. After all, it is the public actually turns on the news channels in order to find out why the shooting went on a shooting range. Within hours of the Sandy Brook Massacre several news outlets were interviewing the children who, hours earlier, were climbing out windows so a shooter would not kill them. Weeks later, an interview with the shooter’s hairdresser was on the front page of Aol. While an interview with the shooter’s hairdresser may be interesting, the media “forgot” to mention other news stories that involved an armed civilian shooting a potential mass shooter, injuring him before he could kill more people.

A few days before the Sandy Brook shootings, Jacob Roberts opened fire at Clackamas Town Center Mall in Oregon. Upset over a break-up, Roberts took his anger out on innocent shoppers, killing two. Roberts would have killed more when Nick Meli took out his gun and confronted the shooter. Roberts backed off into a store and pulled the trigger on himself; he was dead by the time the cops arrived. Meli has a concealed weapons permit and when he saw the shooter, he risked his life to save the lives of others and his friend. Meli should be considered a hero, but the media does not mention him. When Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts held a press conference he thanked the police officers but made no mention of Meli.

Two days after Sandy Brook, 19-year-old Jesus Manuel Garcia exited the Chinese restaurant he worked at and started firing at the theater located next door, injuring one person. Before Garcia could enter the theater, where he planned to kill everyone on sight, he was shot four times by an off-duty deputy working at the theater. The off-duty deputy, Sgt. Liza Castellano, should be a nation-wide hero for preventing another movie theater mass murder, but only the local news outlets and bloggers covered her story.

Though Sandy Brook is one of worst mass murders in the United States’ history and is the reason why it was the top news story in December, the media has a history of downplaying civilians’ actions in preventing mass shootings. In 1997, Mississippi high school student Luke Woodham killed two classmates and wounded seven after a breakup with his girlfriend (his x-girlfriend was one of those he killed). An assistant principal retrieved his gun from his car and confronted the shooter until the police arrived. Yet not all media recognized that the assistant principal used a gun, even CNN failed to mention it. As with most news stories, the story focused majority on the villain, not the hero. In 2002, Peter Odighizuwa went on a killing spree at Appalachian School of Law in Virginia after finding out he had failed out of school. He killed three, including a dean, a professor, and a student. Though the media praised the students who tackled the shooter, the media failed to mention how two students used their own guns to stop the shooter. When Tracy Bridges, a county sheriff deputy, and Mikael Gross, a police officer, heard gun shots, each ran to their cars to retrieve their own guns. Each tracked down the shooter and approached him at different angles and got him to drop his gun. Once he dropped the gun, other students tackled the shooter.

Mainstream media has a history of omitting heroes who used guns to saves lives; to them, the better stories are how loners used guns to kill a large number of innocent lives. Though the Texas Movie Theater shooting took place after Sandy Brook shooting, the media thought an interview with the Sandy Brook shooter’s hairdresser was more newsworthy than the heroics of Sgt. Liza Castellano preventing the next movie theater shooting. The media may believe ratings or politics are more important than the news, but to the average person, it is nice to hear about the everyday hero.

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