In theory, if a journalist is doing their job properly, nothing is included in a story but what is relevant. You don’t include a murder victim’s favorite color when you’re simply reporting that a murder happened, for example. Yet those rules seem to be going out the window in the case of the Collierville shooting.
As noted previously (see above link), the media seemed to try and link Tennessee’s new constitutional carry law with the shooting. Of course, that was a patently absurd notion, especially in the immediate aftermath of a shooting. There was nothing to link the shooting to the law except both somewhat involved a firearm.
But maybe they got over it?
Here’s a story going into additional details about the shooting.
The gunman, identified by police as [name redacted], worked in a sushi business at the store and was the son of refugees from Myanmar who had settled in Nashville, a family friend said.
Police have described ]the killer] as a “third-party vendor” who worked at the grocery store on a daily basis. He died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound within a couple of minutes of officers arriving at the Kroger in the upscale suburb outside of Memphis.
The victims included 10 employees and five customers, police said. On Friday, some of the wounded were still in critical condition and fighting for their lives, Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said at a morning news conference.
Lane identified the woman who was killed as Olivia King. Friend Maureen Fraser said King was a widowed mother of three grown sons.
That’s all fairly normal stuff. So they’re dropping the whole constitutional carry angle, right?
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 could lead to more gun violence.
Lee said Friday that the new law strengthened penalties that come into play when violent crime occurs.
“The constitutional carry bill applies to law-abiding citizens,” he said. “What happened yesterday was criminal activity, violent criminal gun activity. And those are separate issues. The constitutional carry piece of legislation we passed, in fact, strengthened penalties for violent gun criminals, and we need to continue to find ways to attack violence and violent crime and we’ll keep doing that.”
Of course, I obviously agree with Lee. The constitutional carry law had no bearing on what the killer did in that grocery store. But that doesn’t stop the media from including that in the story.
Remember what I said before about not including relevant details? That’s because people see those details and will believe them to be relevant. You don’t need to muddy the waters with irrelevant information…unless you want people to make a connection.
Continually including the fact that Tennessee passed constitutional carry looks to me like nothing more than an attempt to link the shooting to a law many in the media didn’t want to see passed.
It’s not incidental.
Now, discussion of the law in light of the shooting makes some kind of sense. Obviously, anti-Second Amendment types are going to try and push a narrative that the law led to the shooting and the media covering that discussion seems logical. Yet that’s a separate story. Including it in a story about details from the Collierville shooting itself seems nothing more than an attempt to try and help the anti-Second Amendment types to push that narrative.
And still they wonder why trust in the media is at an all-time low.