How to Respond to the Latest Mass Shooting
2. Blame black people.
This is a great move, because nobody will think this statement is racist when you’ve already made it clear during every other shooting that shootings are never about race. But you may want to tease this take out a little, develop it, really come at it from all sorts of angles, because the historically extremely ethical Breitbart.com already ran with this:
Yes, the shooter allegedly faxed a “manifesto” about avenging those slain in the Charleston massacre, but he also blamed bullying, homophobia and sexual harassment. And surely all those white shooters who were troubled, lone gunman, separatists or disgruntled tell us that no one actor is representative of his race or the motives of the same. No matter, if you happen to be conservative, focusing on the shooter’s race takes care of all your problems for you, because the problem is now a black person, just like all the other problems. Did someone — whether mentally ill, with a prior conviction, or a sane, upstanding citizen fully permitted through every legal process — use a device for its intended purpose of hurling lethal force into an organism? Yeah, sure, but he was black. Bing, bang, boom, we’re done here. Just to be safe, throw up some I’m not racist! chaff about Chicago and black-on-black shooting deaths — because then that also makes black people other black people’s problem — and close with head-shaking at how this kind of militancy is all too common and undermines the message of black activists you would be willing to sit down with, like Martin Luther King, Jr.
3. Maybe question how much to air images of the killer.
There is a giant gulf between allowing events to fall down the memory hole and going balls to the wall broadcasting them for weeks until they become the unofficial incidental music of everyone’s existence. And while the jury’s still out on whether repeated images of tragedies and killers romanticize them and encourage copycatting, it’s questionable what value anyone got from two weeks of turning on CNN after the Charleston massacre and seeing Dylann Roof’s bowl-cut teen-sneering, like Peter Tork was raised with extra chromosomes and copies of The Turner Diaries. Sure, mock CNN’s coverage of the disappearing plane all you like, but at least leading with that for every hour for half of 2014 wasn’t going to inspire someone to David Copperfield an airliner or cause a frisky Airbus to vanish as a prank, just because Don Lemon was wondering if Malaysia Flight #24/7 might have been “swallowed” by a black hole. Maybe we all have a unique vision of where this point lies, but there’s a difference between honoring a historical record and trying to get someone to stop for 30 seconds to watch your ominous black-and-white photos and BREAKING: SHOOTING chyrons on their way to baggage claim. If you’re Fox News, ignore #3 and return to #2.