I admit it, I am a news junkie. I love the way it enables me to see the world without having to traipse around the globe myself. I like the comments you get on news sites and social media, getting “normal” people’s reactions to the issues of the day instead of the usual rent a gob commentators and pundits. Everyday it holds the promise of something new and unexpected. But not yesterday.
Yesterday, another school in the USA was attacked by a lone gunman. Yesterday, children and staff at a school were murdered. The killer, okay the “alleged” killer, used a firearm to kill, maim and terrify. Oh, and not just any firearm. He has supposedly admitted to using what seems to be the weapon of choice for these barmy murderers, the AR-15.
The news media have had a field day, which isn’t a surprise. I watched the story unfold on a number of different formats but the same things came across again and again.
1. These mass shootings happen so often in the USA that we, in the UK, only seem to hear about the really bad attacks.
2. The same calls for school staff to be armed and act as some sort of academic defence force in the event a complete nutter, armed to the teeth, should suddenly attack.
3. The astonishment of the UK journalists when interviewing US gun lobby supporters who genuinely seemed unshakeable in their support of the right to bear arms no matter the cost.
None of this was any different to the previous massacres inflicted on the people of the USA. The media coverage has merged into one continuous stream of screams for action on gun control, apologists defending what is obviously undefendable and images of the innocent victims.
Of course, nothing is going to change.
Perhaps the people of the USA truly believe that the occasional school massacre is a worthwhile price to pay for the right to bear arms. Perhaps the power of the pro-gun lobby is so overwhelming that nobody can imposer stronger gun controls. Maybe politicians would lose electoral support if they dared to limit the access to powerful weapons. But aren’t all these things quite insignificant compared to watching a mother crying out in anguish because her child has been murdered in another mass school shooting?