One week, three shootings, very different media coverage

Police Line / Police Tape" by Tony Webster is marked with CC BY 2.0 DEED.

It’s been a surprisingly busy week here at Bearing Arms. Last Wednesday, we had the shooting at an Orange County bar, then the shooting in a Jacksonville Dollar General, followed by the killing of a UNC professor on campus.


It’s given us a lot to talk about, unfortunately.

What stuck out to me, though, was the media coverage itself.

There were three shootings in different parts of the nation. The way the news has covered them has varied significantly, and it’s kind of telling.

After all, much of the attention has been focused on Jacksonville and UNC. Orange County has basically been memory-holed.

I find that pretty interesting because Orange County should be garnering a lot more attention. Let’s get into some of the differences.

To be clear, I get why Jacksonville got at least some more coverage than Orange County. The racist motivations ascribed to the killer will draw a lot more attention. The media is always going to lean toward the more sensational story and while Orange County resulted in the same number of deaths but also six people wounded, the alleged killer’s motive was always going to get more clicks.

But Orange County was still a shooting where three people were killed and six were wounded, whereas Jacksonville left no wounded. It should have still gotten at least more widespread attention, even if it wasn’t racially motivated.

Further, racial motivations aren’t the only thing at play here.

UNC, for example, had a Chinese student kill a Chinese professor. I’m not an expert on racism or anything, but I’m pretty sure race didn’t play a factor in this case.


Plus, UNC is garnering a lot more attention in the media than Orange County despite this looking like a far more pedestrian kind of murder. In many ways, it’s not all that different than a lot of other homicides we see in this nation. The big difference is that it happened on a college campus.

So UNC lacks the racism angle and the death toll that one would imagine would guide the media to boost the story over Orange County.

Unless, of course, you realize there’s another factor at work here.

Orange County actually works against the anti-gun narrative, hence it doesn’t get the attention.

Jacksonville involved a racist and an AR-15. Those two factors alone make it so the media will devote a lot of attention to the incident because they’re really big on the whole “everything is white supremacy” thing and very anti-AR-15.

UNC happened on a college campus in a state that finally started loosening its gun laws. They don’t have campus carry there, but a lot of other states do. As such, this is a golden opportunity for the anti-gun media to attack the restoration of gun rights taking place in the state.

Granted, a lack of a campus carry law failed to protect the dead professor here, but that’s not relevant to the narrative, now is it?

On the flip side, Orange County actively works against the narrative, especially in light of Jacksonville.


The killer there was a retired cop, so he wouldn’t have been prohibited from owning a gun anywhere in the nation. It was in gun-controlled California, where they have gun laws the media applauded but would never fly in most of the rest of the nation. There was no “assault weapon” used.

In every way, the more bloody shooting was the one that lacked the AR-15, which undermines the claim that so-called assault weapons lead to bloodier outcomes in the case of a mass shooting, which the media has long proclaimed. They can’t give it the same attention or else people might actually start to question whether or not gun control is actually a good idea.

And this just happened in the span of a single week. That made it pretty obvious, but it’s been going on for a long, long time. Some stories get amplified while others get smothered with a pillow. It’s all about what can benefit the gun control argument the most.

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