This op-ed from a week ago is even more relevant now. And the disparity isn’t just between shootings and other forms of mass murder. Look at the difference in media treatment of the Gilroy attack and the Brooklyn shooting that took place just one day before.
The limited attention [given to the Japanese arson attack] here in the United States cannot be explained away on account of distance. Compare the coverage with that of the mosque shootings last March in Christchurch, New Zealand, a location even farther from our shores. U.S. newspapers and wire services featured the Christchurch massacre five times as much as the Kyoto mass murder.
Sure, there are some differences between the two tragedies in term of victim count and motive. Thursday’s attack involved a personal agenda rather than a political one — never raising the dreadful specter of terrorism. The Kyoto massacre may not have been an act of terror, but the young victims undoubtedly experienced tremendous terror as the flames swelled around them and smoke invaded their lungs.
Mass shootings remain one of the most widely discussed topics here in the United States. By comparison, we just don’t seem to be as unnerved by mass killings carried out by other methods, unless of course they hint of terrorism, be it of foreign or domestic origin.