Leonard Pitts, Jr., writing about the recent school shooting in South Carolina, reflects on the fundamental break with reality illustrated by the news coverage of violent death in the United States.
Without really meaning to, we’ve evolved a kind of hierarchy of death in which anything that’s called terrorism requires wall-to-wall media coverage, reactions from political candidates and somber acknowledgment from late-night talk show hosts. But a 14-year-old shoots a 6-year-old on a playground, and it’s just an ordinary Wednesday.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing is that that hierarchy has no basis in reality. Last year, PolitiFact tallied the number of Americans killed in this country by terrorism in the 10 preceding years. It came to 71. The number of us killed by guns in that same time frame? 301,797.
In a way, the phenomenon he highlights is natural. Unusual, out-of-the-ordinary events are “news.”
Death by gunnuttery is commonplace and mundane in NRA paradise.