When It Comes to News, Color Makes a Difference

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  • Black bodies, white bodies.
     
    They sure make a difference in what stories make national news, and which ones don’t.
     
    Just after midnight, in the wee morning hours of Friday, July 20, some bona fide nut job sneaked out of an emergency exit at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. He propped open the door so he could get back in.
     
    Then the whack job donned some kind of bizarre outfit and returned, armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and a pistol. He fired his weapons and when he was done, some 12 people were dead and 58 others wounded.
     
    James Eagan Holmes has been arrested in the shooting.
     
    During the past week you’ve read stories about the massacre in Aurora, listened to stories on the radio about it or seen stories on television about it. The only way to get away from stories about the horror in Aurora is to find a way to beam yourself to another planet.
     
    Most of the victims in Aurora were white. It would seem the gunman was, in one swoop, trying to bring the 2012 white body count from homicides in line with the black one.
     
    There have been close to 300 people murdered in Chicago this year. Most of them have been black.
     
    In one weekend in late June, some 33 people were shot. Four of them died.
     
    Starting on Friday night, July 6 and ending on Saturday morning, July 7, another 12 people were wounded from gunfire.
     
    By now, most Americans who have been paying attention to news stories coming out of Aurora know the name of the 6-year-old white girl killed in the massacre: Veronica Moser-Sullivan.
     
    When 7-year-old Heaven Sutton was fatally shot on her Chicago block as she tried to sell candy and snow cones, news stories about the incident were pretty much confined to the Chicago area.
     
    So we have a bunch of black homicide victims in Chicago whose deaths make primarily local news, and a group of predominantly white homicide victims in Aurora whose deaths spark national outrage, calls for more gun control laws and even speculation about what the suspect, Holmes, would say in his first court appearance.
     
    It turns out he only stared blankly into space and said nothing. But Lordy, what did news reporters think he was going to say?
     
    “Three cheers for the Marines”?
     
    Equally irritating is the speculation about what the shooter’s motives could have been. The gunman was obviously nuts. Since when do nuts need motives? They do these kinds of things because they’re nuts. They sure has heck have no GOOD reason.
     
    Assorted media have covered every angle of the story except the one staring them right in the face: the discrepancy in national news coverage of the predominantly black homicide victims in Chicago and the predominantly white ones in Aurora.
     
    Instead, the media have focused their attention where they usually focus it when nut jobs go on their shooting sprees: the “need” for more gun control laws.
     
    Pardon me for putting the word “need” in quotes, but I’m just skeptical about a “need” for yet more gun control laws on the books. Yeah, I agree nut jobs like the one who shot up the movie theater in Aurora should be prevented from buying assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammo.
     
    Here’s the problem: nut jobs aren’t born with the words “nut job” tattooed on their foreheads. We don’t know they’re nut jobs until they’ve pulled off massacres like the one in Aurora.
     
    Some cities – Chicago and Washington, D.C. come immediately to mind – at one time had the strictest gun control laws in the country, ones that amounted to virtual gun bans. Those laws prevented gun violence not one iota.
     
    Some full disclosure might be in order here: I’m what might be called a “Second Amendment enthusiast,” although I’m sure avid gun control advocates would prefer the term “gun nut.”
     
    I believe in an individual’s right to own firearms and even right-to-carry laws. Does that mean I believe, as some do, that the Aurora massacre might have been prevented, or much less horrific, had there been armed movie goers there who could have shot and either killed or wounded the gunman?
     
    Not necessarily. But other “gun nuts” have made this observation: how come these whack jobs that take their guns and commit these mass killings never, NEVER try that stuff at a police station?
     
    The question now for national news media is why they consider those black bodies in Chicago less worthy of coverage than the white ones in Aurora.

     

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