The “news”. Really? The stories the corporate media comes up with is redundant, monotonous, and insulting. Now, I am not a journalist nor do I pretend to be one (like those on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, etc.). These “journalists” only play one on TV and do very little work. The term “reporter” is apropos to the job they really do: regurgitate a list of story lines and ask Little League t-ball questions that have been scrutinized and vetted by the interviewee’s publicist/lawyer/agent. I think most people agree that what we see on major networks is emulsified news with little to no substance. Heck, they run the same five stories for a week, which overlap with the next “top five” for the following.
Breaking news, especially on tragedy, is generally wrong and fear-mongering, then replayed ad nauseam. These reporters provide details at the scene and ask people how they feel (a ridiculous question!). Rarely, if ever, do these media outlets ever investigate why things happen. For example, the weather is always a big topic of discussion, yet hardly ever are the words “climate change” or “global warming” mentioned. Little is said of the fact that the warming phenomenon has been responsible for some of the most expensive catastrophes in recent years and continues to cost us more and more money each year as more and more weather-related phenomena wreak havoc and destruction. To make it worse, they give equal time to deniers as if they’re position is at all credible at this stage of the game.
Another example is gun violence. Caveat: I am not an NRA member, but I do own a firearm. I do not support lax gun laws, but I support laws that work. The media fixation on gun laws completely negates the culture surrounding gun violence. It will continuously report on the mass shooter, giving enormous amounts of information about the murderer and his motives, and thereby giving notoriety and infamy to this sick individual. How can this not encourage other deranged individuals to commit crimes, especially when they are disgruntled and feel like they have no voice? We learn all about this Santa Barbara shooter, his problems, links to his videos, and give this mentally-ill individual all the attention he was seeking. I refuse to provide the name of this murderer for that very reason. Yet the victims are merely listed with hardly any information about them other than what the families provided in their thirty-second clip, if they’re even given that much. Do we really need to know the intimate details of these murderers? How are we benefited by this information other than that it prods our sick curiosity to know why murderers do what murderers do?
The news media feeds this behavior. They fan the flames for those seeking notoriety. They are not alone, however. How often are song lyrics glorifying the “glock,” “street justice,” or “busting a cap” (an antiquated phrase, I’m sure)? How often are shootings glorified whether in music, movies, or television? Vendettas, vengeance, vigilante: glorified. Rappers and rockers (or their entourage) packing are hip and on the edge.
I do not want to give the impression that guns should be ubiquitous, but there are enough laws in place. The only thing that could stem the tide is upping the sentence for those prosecuted in committing a crime with a firearm; an automatic 25+ year sentence for offenders. Furthermore, decriminalizing certain drugs could also alleviate so much of the violence as well as the number of incarcerated (but that is an entirely different blog post).
I can’t imagine being the parent of a child who has been senselessly killed by a firearm, so my view would likely change as a result. I certainly don’t fault those who have been affected by gun violence wanting stricter laws. I would love to see stricter laws, but only laws that would work and not ones that merely placate. When Sandy Hook happened, I wanted stricter law: an assault rifle ban, loopholes closed, etc. But as I separated myself from the sorrow of what happened and really looked at what was being proposed, I saw it as merely a political game to pacify the mournful voices. Not to mention that the libertarian in me fears allowing only the state/government to have the weapons. In a perfect world, guns would be non-existent, but the feasibility of that statement is obvious. There are no easy solutions to this problem. Whatever is done, a large number of people will be deeply disappointed.
Nontraditional News Outlets:
Dan Carlin’s fantastic podcast Common Sense: http://www.dancarlin.com/disp.php/csarchive
Newspapers/Magazines Worth Looking At: