Nuggets of Wisdom

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How To React To Mass Shootings


Unless you’ve been ignoring the mainstream media (and if you do, I don’t blame you), you’d notice that we’ve had quite a lot of shootings within the past few weeks and month, including the most recent San Bernardino shooting.

And unless you’ve been ignoring social media (and again, if you do, I don’t blame you), you’d notice there’s been a lot of hysteria surrounding it, mostly with the usual left-wing claptrap: “We need moar gun control!”, “Teh NRA and GOP are criminal facilitators!”, “Angry white men are the real terrorists!”, blah blah blah!

Nothing encapsulates all of the left-wing social media hysteria than this single incoherent rant from The Young Turks’s Cenk Uygur:



As with terrorism, there’s a correct way and a wrong way to react to these mass shootings. Obviously, Cenk’s foaming-at-the-mouth fearmongering demagoguery was the wrong way to react.

As for the correct way, surprisingly enough, a perfect example was actually provided by Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan. Gakwer is normally the bottom of the barrel when it comes to online journalism (or journalism period), but even a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day.

And this broken clock manages to tell the correct time when it comes to properly reacting to mass shootings, and it does so with the appropriately-titled opinion piece, “You Will Not Die in a Mass Shooting”:
Mass shootings are very scary. And very visible. But in all likelihood they are not going to happen to you. You are more likely to die in a mass shooting than to win the Powerball drawing, but the truth is that you are not going to do either. That does not stop people from buying lottery tickets, and it does not stop people from fearing being killed in spectacular acts of terrorism.

It is true that guns kill tens of thousands of Americans every year—the majority of them from suicide. Of the fraction that are homicides, only a vanishingly small fraction of those are high profile mass shootings of the type that make people fear to go to office parties, or to movie theaters. If gun violence itself is what you fear, the most prudent action you can take is to not have a gun in your home.

...Life, in truth, is mundane. Things become big news stories because they are extraordinary. It is a mistake to imagine that your death will make national news. It probably will not. If you fear guns, don’t kill yourself. If you fear dying, eat healthier and exercise and don’t smoke.

You will not die in a tragic mass shooting. You will die of heart disease in your late 70s. Unless you keep worrying about being murdered all the time. Stress is a killer.
Despite the hyper-sensationalism of mass shootings in the media, the reality is that overall violent crime, especially gun deaths, is at an all-time historic low in America. Though the media may not accurately reflect it, we are living in the safest of all times, and chances are, things will only get safer.

You are as likely to die from a mass shooting as you are to die from a terrorist attack—which is to say, not very likely at all. As with terrorism, the only thing we have to fear from gun violence is fear itself.