The Discourse of Mass Shootings

The shootings are so frequent, that we are running out of thoughtful ways to interpret, analyze and react to them. Coverage is becoming more and more inane. Reporting on the latest tragedy devolves and rather than serving as a meaningful chorus of judgement, it becomes the noisy ululations of professional mourners. The commentary and quotes become more absurd as reporters try to create a unique story out of a daily occurrence. Here are a few examples from the events of last month:

The Limb Roll

“We just heard ‘pow, pow, pow, pow,’” Wesson said. “It sounded like a limb falling on a tin roof and rolling.” This is the report of a witness of the Florida yoga studio shooting. The image this quote paints is so disturbed and surreal, it is like a scene our of Kill Bill. It really makes you hope that the person quoted is stable enough and does not have a gun. Yet, it made it into the coverage of the event, because the more these things happen, the more we need a unique perspective that paints a picture of the horror. And no matter how absurd the metaphor used to describe is, it will never reach the level of absurdity of the situation.

The Sudden Shooting

“Gunman started firing suddenly,” reports CNN today on the Thousand Oaks shooting. What other possibility is there with a gun? Any shooting is sudden. That is the nature of the weapon of choice of mass murders. If we want their acts to be less sudden, we should restrict access to guns and give free access to guillotines. They require much more preparation.

The Experienced Survivor

“There’s people that live a whole lifetime without seeing this, and then there’s people that have seen it twice,” writes the Washington Post, pointing out that people that survived the 2017 shooting in Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas were in the bar in Thousand Oaks. The explanation of that is mathematical: the higher the frequency of events, the higher the proliferation and density of the implements used in situations like that, the higher the probability that you would be impacted. Our survival skills are evolving from being able to acquire food, start a fire, provide first aid to survive a mass shooting.

If you live long enough in Seattle, where it rains a lot, you eventually stop noticing the rain. We do not talk about it much, unless prompted by a visitor or a tourist. There is simply no point — you cannot change the weather, anything you can say about it has been said a thousand times. So you shrug and live your life. But you never stop dreaming of the sun. Unlike the weather, we can do something about mass shootings. Yet, we chose only to talk about them.