The terrible thing about shooting rampages isn’t just the violence of the act, it’s that they take place in locations where people don’t exactly feel threatened. Schools, movie theaters, malls, and grocery stores are the places you go so often that even if you don’t feel particularly safe, you don’t really feel there’s any danger.
Then someone walks in and opens fire, shattering that illusion for all time.
That’s what happened in Colliersville, Tennessee yesterday.
A gunman attacked a grocery store in an upscale Tennessee suburb on Thursday afternoon, killing one person and wounding 12 others before he was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at the store, authorities said.
Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said the shooting broke out at a Kroger grocery in Collierville, a suburban community 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Memphis. He said the gunman shot 13 others and himself, and that 12 of the victims were taken to hospitals, some with very serious injuries.
Kroger worker Brignetta Dickerson told WREG-TV she was working a cash register when she heard what at first she thought were balloons popping.
Unsurprisingly, some are already trying to link this to Tennessee’s constitutional carry law.
Earlier this year, Tennessee became the latest state to allow most adults 21 and older to carry handguns without first clearing a state-level background check and training. The measure was signed into law by Republican Gov. Bill Lee over objections from some law enforcement groups and gun control advocates concerned the measure would possibly lead to more gun violence.
Meanwhile, there’s no evidence that the existence of the law played any factor in this shooting. After all, Colorado doesn’t have constitutional carry and that didn’t stop the King Sooper’s shooting in Boulder, now did it?
But that doesn’t matter.
What does matter are the facts on the ground. One innocent person is dead. The perpetrator is dead. A dozen others are wounded, though we don’t know how severely. This is horrible., to be sure, but it doesn’t meet the official definition of a mass shooting, not that it should matter. Someone’s dead. I’d love to leave the politics aside.
However, CNN can’t help itself.
There have been 517 mass shootings in America so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. CNN and the GVA identify a mass shooting as a shooting that injured or killed four or more people, not including the shooter.
It should be noted, however, that the Gun Violence Archive exists to try and scare people into supporting gun control. Frankly, it appears CNN does too. Part of how they’re doing that is by expanding the definition of a mass shooting well beyond its origins to convince people that we’re dealing with events like Parkland or Las Vegas every day when we’re not.
While this would at least fits the mass shooting pattern–he didn’t kill enough people, thankfully, but it was just as random–most of those 517 incidents didn’t.
Look, what happened in that Kroger’s is bad enough. It’s awful and a family is mourning right now. Today, they’ll have to go to the funeral home and start making arrangements for a life that ended far too soon because some maniac wanted to be famous. That’s bad enough.
But we also have CNN and the Denver Post trying to make it political right from the start.
So, we’ll play that game. I’ll point out how they’re wrong. Meanwhile, I’m also remembering what it feels like to find out someone you cared about was ripped from your life by one of these maniacs. Don’t expect me to play nice.