I doubt a lot of people are paying attention to the news because we were talking about the first significant snowfall of the season and the very real possibility of a White Christmas.
Please remember as we go through the winter that these storms are VERY hard to predict and that even a small change in the track of the storm can mean more or less snow. It seems like they should be able to tell you if we’re going to get 3 inches vs getting six inches of snow but you have to remember, that’s about only two or three tenths of an inch of moisture difference. We’d call that a sprinkle if it was spring and you’d never know the difference…
There already has been a lot of debate over the many facets of this tragedy and there will be more. Over the last few days we have heard varying reaction to the incident from our viewers and I wanted to address a few.
First, the coverage. I’ve written about incidents like this before. I think we go too far. There is too much time to fill and in an effort to find something new, Media usually make mistakes. That’s what happened here. I watched an exchange on Saturday where an anchor and “expert” reporter went back and forth about the suggestion that the suspect had autism. After a minute long disclaimer that Autism isn’t a mental illness…that the anchor has an autistic relative and that there is no evidence that autism has any connection to acts of violence like this…The anchor asked the expert about violent tendencies given the suspect’s alleged autism!!!
The problem with tragedies like this is that there are no simple answers…and we tend to look for simple. We all do, but particularly in the news. It’s hard to become an expert on autism or mental illness or gun control while you are trying to cover breaking news. We shouldn’t try. Personally (and I’ve said this before) I am uncomfortable with the intrusive coverage of the grief. These are certainly compelling stories…and they are newsworthy. Sometimes the victims WANT to go on camera…to pay tribute to someone killed. In general though, I agree with the State Police decision to put a trooper at every victim’s home so they are not disturbed by reporters who have no sense of when to leave it alone.
A lot of people want to know how this young man got to the point where he could do something so unthinkable. People emailed us to say they think it’s inappropriate for us to do any reporting on the suspect. They don’t want any focus on this person. That’s also unrealistic.
-On the issue of gun control, I’ve heard a lot of information the last couple days. First, I think it would be hard to argue people don’t have the right to own and keep guns in their home. The vast majority of people who hunt or even shoot for sport respect and understand the power of firearms better than the rest of us who don’t. They have the right to legally own a gun. I wouldn’t put a gun in my own home but I support other people’s right to protect themselves.
I heard a REALLY interesting conversation yesterday on NPR where a researcher said they looked into the assault weapons ban enacted during the Clinton Administration and found it had no effect lowering the number of attacks like this. However, the researchers say that’s because the ban didn’t get at the real problem in these shootings. The ammo clips that hold dozens of rounds are the thing they say would make a real difference. I can’t come up with a reason for having an assault rifle that can fire hundreds of rounds in a matter of seconds…the deer aren’t shooting back. If you have a limited specific purpose for that type of gun…I can imagine people could come up with some…but this part of the gun debate isn’t about safety or rights. Even when the 2nd amendment was written…guns were registered to their owners and in many places, the town government stored them in a community armory for militia. A well-regulated militia is the first line of the amendment. George Washington would declare marshal law after seeing the daily violence in most American Cities… It isn’t out of the question to have a discussion over the kinds of firearms that are appropriate for personal use.
-That said, I think its important to point out that this incident could have turned out exactly as it did without assault rifles, or semi-automatic weapons being involved. This is about more than just guns.
-Finally, just to let you know the extreme opinions we get around here…I got an email saying the shooting was a CIA plot ordered by the Obama administration with the ultimate goal of taking guns away from people. I mention this not because I think its funny…I mention this because if more moderate thoughtful voices aren’t out there talking about these issues…this is the kind of stuff that ends up dominating conversations and convincing people looking for answers.
Before you roll your eyes and say you won’t engage with an opinion like that…remember if no one is there to help ensure a reasoned approach…you can bet logic and reason are going to take a vacation.
All of this should be discussed at length. It would probably be good to hold off any decisions until the emotions surrounding the shooting settle.
As always you can disagree. I love to hear your opinion.