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"When are we going to be able to curb the kind of violence that is so fraught and so rapid we can't even keep track of the incidents?" Paterson asked at a news conference." http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-general/20090403/NEWS-US-NEWYORK-SHOOTING/
This is New York Governor responding to the recent shooting deaths of 14 people at the American Civic Association.
Like apparently rampaging gunmen are all the rage these days and we just simply can't keep track of all the large-scale massacres. They are so difficult, in fact, that there is an entire wikipedia article detailing all of them (damn you, wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mass_murderers.
Okay, so here's the rather difficult breakdown of mass murders for 2008-April 2009
10 dead and 2 injured in California
6 dead and 3 injured in Tennessee
5 killed, 18 injured in Illinois
8 dead in Illinois and Arkansas
6 dead, 4 injured in Washington
6 killed in California
10 dead, 6 injured in Alabama
13 dead, 4 injured in New York
8 dead, 3 injured in North Carolina
There you have it, the rapid rate of violence that we cannot track.
I do not mean to belittle or demean the tragic loss of these 72 lives. Violent deaths are always heart-breaking, and it's always baffling when people decide to commit such egregious acts of cruelty and violence.
But let's not call this type of violence common. Contrast, for example, Oakland's murder rate. In 2008, 124 people were murdered in the city. That's almost twice the number of people killed during these supposedly rapid-fire mass-killing incidents. In San Francisco, 99 people were murdered. Across the country, 16,000 people are murdered annually. 16,000. Try to keep track of that.
Mass killing are sad affairs, but they are by no means rampant and frequent. Because they are over-reported and more common forms of violence are not, we are engendered with an irrational fear and paranoia of mass killings...even though they are exceedingly rare and unlikely events. Good job, media and public officials, good job.



Apr. 4th, 2009 12:28 am (UTC)
Don't get me started on the media. Like gemjulez says, it often depends on who is murdered - and where. For instance, in the richest town in the metro area a teenage girl was murdered, and it was talked about for years. Still is, on occasion. In the meantime, across the state line, four people shot to death in a house might merit a 15-second mention on the news.

But fear controls people, and brings in the ratings. And isn't that what it's all about?

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