Desensitization is a Bad Thing
United vs. San Bernardino
What the hell?!?
So on Sunday, a man was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight. It has sparked outrage across the country, and even overseas (China is apparently very pissed off). The videos, of which there are several, have gone viral.
On Monday, a man walked into an elementary school in California, shot three people and then himself. The teacher (his estranged wife) and an 8-year-old boy died.
So to put it another way, a man was attacked by goons of a large corporation. Which isn’t good.
And another man walked into a school filled with 600 students and started killing people.
Dead. Deceased. No longer living.
Now let me be clear: I don’t condone the actions taken by United Airlines. And I would be miffed if it had been me bumped from the flight I paid for. And highly outraged if I was wounded and forcibly taken off the plane.
But a teacher and a kid are dead, killed by someone who shouldn’t have had a weapon, at a place that should have been safe.
So let’s check the headlines on Tuesday morning, shall we?
This is a screen shot from my New York Times Daily Briefing. No mention of San Bernardino or a school shooting in the headlines, but United made it in there. Here are the stories covered, in descending order:
Syrian leadership is nearing its end, Tillerson says; Judge rejects Texas voter ID law; Alabama’s governor resigns over sex scandal; Attacks reveal a new strategy for ISIS; Three dead in California school shooting.
So it was fifth on the run down if you scrolled from the top of the Daily Briefing. But on the app, it was a different story:
A story on Tillerson going to Russia; Trump talking about China; Trump on Syria policy; The White House Easter egg roll; President and golf; Will London Fall?; Secret ATF account; United Airlines Passenger Is Dragged From an Overbooked Flight; video of passenger; and then 20 more stories. None were of the school shooting.
And now to the Wall Street Journal. On it’s Page One (or the front page for you old folks), it had stories on the Wells Fargo clawback (its lead story); the confirmation of Gorsuch; a story on Syria; something about videogame makers; and the United Airlines story.
Now, if you turned to the U.S. News section, the school shooting in San Bernardino was third, after stories about Janet Yellen and colleges. Now, as of mid-day, six more stories have jumped atop these three. So the school shooting is ninth.
And finally, the Washington Post. Here is their front page:
You’ll notice the United Airlines story in the bottom right of the screenshot, as well as United lead the “In the News” section across the banner. The Dallas sirens and a Pepsi ad were in the news, but not a school shooting.
Or should I say, another school shooting.
You see, I think the problem may not be the United story having more meat to it, or various videos for people to react to (but it helps). It just might be that we, as a country, are getting numb to school shootings.
And that is wrong.
It is fine to get pissed off about a man being dragged off a plane, bloodied and limp. You should be pissed off. You can boycott United Airlines. You can ask your Congressman to pass a law against overbooking airline flights.
But please, for the love of all that is holy, you need to be OUTRAGED that a teacher and child were murdered in their school. It should keep you awake at night. It should make you worry for your children and their friends.
And it should be a much bigger story than someone being bloodied on an airplane.