Media Trap: Infamy & The Latest Gun Nuts

by Robin Forman

The news in the past few days seems to be about one of two things: terrible happenings in places where terrible things never happen or something related to Christmas.

The terrible things have been shootings. One occurred at a mall in Omaha, Nebraska and then there were the two shootings at different evangelical churches in Colorado: one in Colorado Springs and one outside of Denver.

The gunman in Omaha had lost his job, been dumped by his girlfriend, and came from a rocky past.

The gunman in Colorado wanted to kill Christians, and, as the media were quick to harp on, listened to Marilyn Manson and Linkin Park. His choices in music were clearly newsworthy and the reason for the attacks. (That was sarcasm. If you didn’t pick up on that, you shouldn’t be reading this blog.)

Remember, who they were first to jump on after the Columbine school shootings? Yup, it was Marilyn Manson…Linkin Park wasn’t as big then as they are now.

You know who else listens to Linkin Park and Marilyn Manson?


I’m pretty sure that for all their harshness and anger as expressed in their music, neither singer nor group has ever said or sung “Go out and shoot people to make things better for you!” The news media need to stop looking for scapegoats like music and video games and violence in the media.

Have the media considered what these gun nuts want from these massacres?


I swear, I just wrote this article only it was about a school in Finland. Now, we revisit the topic again back in the U.S. (And for an earlier take, please see: "NBC Takes the Bait From Virginia Tech's Madman.")

The details of last week's shooting in an Omaha mall eventually emerged about a disgruntled 19-year-old and his thirst for fame rather than the blood he so callously spilled.

He shot and killed eight people before killing himself.

And what did he write in his farewell note to his friends?

“Now I’ll be famous.”

And what did the media do?

They made him just that.

And because no one had shoddy cell phone footage this time, like they did for the Virginia Tech shooting (please also see: "How the Media Reframe Mass Murder"), the media played the 911 calls complete with sounds of shots being fired and panic-stricken voices.

What about this isn’t gratuitous, even vulgar?

And now they’re hailing the woman who shot the Colorado gunman — because god guided her to do so — as a hero? Perhaps this will cause trigger happiness in which any time a person walks into a church or school wearing a predominately black outfit someone else will shoot them in the name of god.

Isn’t that like saying the people who bomb abortion clinics in the name of saving lives are rational thinkers?

Talk about being callous and shoddy; the media have been nothing but those two things.

(And for a piece about gun control, please see: "Bang, Bang, We're Dead.")

(Graphic from radicalgraphics.org, which offers its material for free.)

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Anonymous said...

Excellent and thought provoking blog!

mkenney said...

I'd be right there with you to decry a clinic bombing perpetrated in the name of God (capitalized), but I think your comparison is a bit too far. Yes, it's strange that there is an armed security guard at a church (it's a strange concept but not illogical, given that there were over 1700 people at the service and security for that size event would normally be performed by either private or public law enforcement), but she performed her job and saved lives because of it. Also, unlike those who commit violence against abortion providers, her actions were legally sanctioned.
The guard's comment that it felt like it was her, the shooter, and God doesn't make her a dangerous, religious nut; it makes her a religious woman whose job required that she deal with a dangerous situation in a place of worship. The spiritual element is not all that surprising or inappropriate, unlike when self-professed Christians kill people because those people have killed--there's nothing spiritual or appropriate there, just hypocrisy and violence.

Robin, Daughter of the Desert and American Bad Ass said...

I think you have a very valid point. Perhaps I carried it too far. I tend to get a little irrational myself when talking about Evangelicals.
I’m also really big on the whole completely impossible idea of non-violence…that whole Gandalf speech from Lord of the Rings about how there are some people who die who deserve life and some people who live who deserve death but who are we to make that choice? Yeah, impossible theory to hold up in all situations but I’d like to think there’s a place where it can be practiced. Perhaps not in this particular time, society, or world.
As for the "god" vs. "God" I don't capitalize because of personal beliefs and an unfounded need to rebel and ruffle feathers. But I respect your decision to. Very much so. In fact, I envy it a bit.

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