When Do Lives Matter?

 

Last week a man put on body armor, took a rifle, another gun, and a load of ammo and left his home looking to cause harm. With mass shootings in the news, you would expect this to have been a big news story. When I woke up this morning, one of the top stories on Google News was . . .

But that is not the guy I am talking about. The gunmen I saw on the local news shot four people killing one in Irvington, New Jersey. A 20-year-old man was killed and three police officers sustained non-life threatening injuries. The officers eventually shot and killed the gunman. A horrible story but somehow less newsworthy than a failed gunman Missouri? Why?

The man in Missouri went into a Walmart. The El Paso shooting took place in a Walmart, so I can see the connection. Still, a well-armed shooter who, if not stopped by the police, could have killed many more, certainly sounds like a big story. Especially with what has been in the news the past week.

Irvington has a predominantly black population and the shooter was black. I haven’t seen details about the man killed or the police officers but there is a good chance they are black as well. Should that matter? My question to the media is: does the newsworthiness of a shooting depend on the race of the shooter and/or victim?

The media tells us what we should be outraged about and, sadly, our politicians take action based on those decisions. So I am curious: when exactly do Black Lives Matter?

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There are 4 comments.

  1. Bob Thompson Member

    Vance Richards:

    Yesterday a man put on body armor, took a rifle, another gun, and a load of ammo and left his home looking to cause harm. With mass shootings in the news you would expect this to have been a big news story. When I woke up this morning, one of the top stories on Google News was . . .

     

    But that is not the guy I am talking about. The gunmen I saw on the local news shot four people killing one in Irvington, New Jersey. A 20-year-old man was killed and three police officers sustained non-life threatening injuries. The officers eventually shot and killed the gunman. A horrible story but somehow less newsworthy than a failed gunman Missouri? Why?

    The man in Missouri went into a Walmart. The El Paso shooting took place in a Walmart so I can see the connection. Still, a well-armed shooter who, if not stopped by the police, could have killed many more, certainly sounds like a big story. Especially with what has been in the news the past week.

    Irvington has a predominantly Black population. The shooter was Black. I haven’t seen details about the man killed or the police officers but there is a good chance they are Black as well. Should that matter? My question to the media is, does the newsworthiness of a shooting depend on the race of the shooter and/or victim?

    The media tells us what we should be outraged about and, sadly, our politicians take action based on those decisions. So I am curious, when exactly do Black Lives Matter?

    And in a state with plenty of gun-control laws.

    • #1
    • August 9, 2019, at 12:39 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Pony Convertible Member

    I’m not defending the idiot for carrying a rifle in Walmart wearing body armor and 100 rounds of ammo, but so far I haven’t read anything that informs us of his intent. I am not familiar with the laws in the state he was in, but if he had been in Indiana, I can’t think of any law that he violated.

    • #2
    • August 9, 2019, at 12:53 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. Goldgeller Member

    Thanks for posting about this I didn’t know about this. Is the reporting strategic or designed to bias people? Ultimately I don’t know. I think at some level yes but ultimately, it may not be. Shootings are sad and tragic but I imagine there is limited time to do due diligence on a story and reporters don’t always get to control when cops give them the relevant information. So there is reason to suggest sometimes stuff just falls to the cracks, at least when looking for local events to be covered at a national or state level.

    There’s a nice article by Silva and Capellan that just came out. Race turns out to only matter if the shooting is done by a middle easterner (that actually surprised me, since I expected there to be systematic bias around reporting black shooters). The media is attracted to covering shootings that might be related to ideology (ie jihadis, white nationalists) and shootings with a high body count and/or lots of injuries. And coverage is basically biased towards the northeast at the expense of other regions (shootings in the south get less coverage compared to the northeast).

     

     

    • #3
    • August 9, 2019, at 1:00 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    The lives have never mattered. What matters is that the media puts out information that comells compells people buy the paper or watch the coverage.

    • #4
    • August 10, 2019, at 2:58 PM PDT
    • 3 likes