“One reason Americans are more inclined to panic over shootings or kidnappings these days is, perversely, that these incidents are so rare,” reason.com reasons. True that. Most firearms-related fatalities — thousands per year — are suicides. The majority of the rest are a relentless procession of gang bangers banging. But panic we do . . .
Whether it’s cause or effect, the mass media’s mass shooting coverage is qualitatively different from non-firearms-related death and disaster. There’s a tone of urgency you don’t get with a natural disaster or a non-firearm related terrorist attack like NYC’s recent truck-based murder. A sense that this shouldn’t have happened! And something must be done! One side screams for gun control, the other side checks to make sure that they have enough loaded magazines near their AR (and hugs their children).
What is it about mass shootings that give them such a grip on our attention?