Media perpetuates mass shooting hysteria

AP Photo/Ron Harris

Mass shootings happen. That’s an inescapable fact.

What’s more, they happen far more often than anyone should be comfortable with. The correct number of mass shootings should be zero, after all.


It’s an unfortunate fact of life, however, that we’re not going to get that anytime soon and probably never will.

Yet in the wake of Michigan State, I’m more than a little annoyed at the media’s discussion of “trauma” affecting students.

A generation of kids who grew up haunted by the fear of school massacres can’t outgrow their trauma: It’s also stalking their carefree college days.

America’s latest mass shooting, until the inevitable next one, wrote a new community in the roll call of colleges stigmatized by tragedy. To Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois and the University of Virginia, add Michigan State University.

Mercifully, most American students will and do make it through college without such a terrible experience. But that doesn’t mean they will evade the fear such a shooting creates. Many know the panic stoked by false alerts about active shooters or a just the general question over whether their campus is safe.

This isn’t wrong. However, the problem is that the media is the one responsible for any such trauma our kids experience.


In the United States, there are over 98,000 public schools in the nation covering from kindergarten to high school. There are another nearly 35,000 private schools. Couple that with the over 4,300 colleges in the nation, and you’ve got a whole lot of schools at any one time.

This week, precisely one of those institutions was the target of a mass shooting.

Most weeks, zero schools suffer such horrific fates.

See, the problem here is that media outlets like CNN make their money not on rational discussion, but alarmism. They’re more than willing to scream to high heavens about how our schools aren’t safe, and how every child in America is under the threat of being killed in a mass shooting, but no one actually looks at the odds of one happening at a given school.

The truth is that you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than be killed in a mass shooting, yet while people take sensible precautions during thunderstorms, few people are traumatized by lightning existing.

That’s because most people see the odds and recognize that they’re not likely to die from it.


But our kids? They aren’t equipped to do that kind of risk assessment yet. That’s part of why we don’t give 10-year-olds the keys to the car, for example. Kids haven’t learned to look at such things.

So, when the media Mom and Dad watch screams that the kids are in danger, the kids take that to heart.

Millions of students do go through life traumatized, but it’s not because of insufficient gun control laws or anything of the sort. It’s because the alarmist media has conditioned them to think the odds are against them, that they only survive to adulthood because of some stroke of luck.

That’s not on anyone but the media, and it’s well past time they accepted that.

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