gun violence headline

Every Day is the Worst Day Ever, Signed, The Media

Sometimes a gal’s gotta rant (again), so here goes:

Shootings are devastating. Obviously! But I also wonder about the value of LUMPING shootings together and reporting them as such. My Yahoo newsfeed on Monday screamed, “GUN VIOLENCE ERUPTS OVER FATHER’S DAY WEEKEND.”

Then, in a country of 333,000,000, it told of three shootings in three different states that left two dead. Tragic! But also…disorienting.

Dare we check some actual stats?

Gun violence is bad. Who would say otherwise? But “erupting”? That’s a verb that makes you think if you stick your head out the window, it’s going to get it blown off.

As shaky as that might make anyone, it hits parents in the solar plexis. It’s one reason so many don’t let their kids do anything unsupervised anymore: Violence is erupting! Even a holiday weekend isn’t sacred! (The “next up” article Yahoo linked to was, “11 People Killed on Mother’s Day Weekend” – nice.)

So let’s take a look at some – I realize this is strange – actual crime statistics. Kooky as a kombucha cocktail, I know! But indulge me. Because this article in The New York Times says that in 2023, THE NUMBER OF MURDERS FELL BY MORE THAN 12 PERCENT. That’s – hmm, what else does the article say? “THE BIGGEST NATIONAL DECLINE ON RECORD.”

Hey – what about that huge crime surge during COVID? “The spike that started in 2020 now looks more like a blip, and the murder rate is lower than it was during the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s.”

Wait! Today’s murder rate is…what?


And yet, a University of Michigan/Mott Children’s Hospital study in September found that the majority of parents WANT to give their kids more independence but are too scared to even let their 9-11 year olds walk to a friend’s house. Half will not let them go to another aisle at the store.

Those are rational decisions in some neighborhoods — but not most. But it sure feels rational when you wake up to a headline saying you live in a volcano of violence.

The media’s relentless, context-less focus on the worst of the worst is a pox on our sanity. It may seem like some kind of public duty – keeping folks informed. But actually, it is contributing NOT to a more peaceful, healthy society, but to a more distrustful and fearful society. A society that wastes its time – and its children’s youth and mental health – hovering over them, and dithering and worrying when it should be stepping back and letting the kids do something like, maybe, enjoy the summer! Play outside! Go an aisle over and bring back a can of tomato paste!

The “bad news” is actually GOOD news.

I worked at a tabloid for 14 years. I know that bad news leads. ” Mostly Peaceful Weekend!” will never sell. Never get clicks. But if the Yahoo headline was true — 2 gun deaths — it WAS a mostly peaceful Father’s Day weekend. Not for everyone! We all wish it was! But for 99.999% of Americans it was just grilling and chilling.

If we wait till there is zero crime anywhere in all 50 states before we let our kids walk to a friends’ house (or the pasta aisle), the terrorists…er…click-optimizers will have won.

Don’t let them.

4 Responses to Every Day is the Worst Day Ever, Signed, The Media

  1. Reziac June 18, 2024 at 2:25 pm #

    What the news didn’t tell you about the “mass shooting in Chicago” is that a huge mob of teenagers (not “children”) were milling around the gas station at 1AM. FIrst, what were they doing there at that hour?

    Second, one “child” who was shot was 15, the rest were 17 to 33. The news wants us to envision toddlers and sweet-faced middle-schoolers, but it’s usually gang-age teenagers up to no good.

    Dave Rubin had security cam video of the event in his daily show this morning. No “children” in evidence. But a large mob of older teenagers and young adults was already present when someone fired into the crowd.

    (And what else the news won’t tell you? Everyone present was black. Blacks shooting blacks.)

    Literally nothing to do with the safety of younger children, or the safety of neighborhoods that don’t allow flash mobs to run wild in the middle of the night.

  2. Paul Klaassen June 18, 2024 at 2:30 pm #

    Well said (as usual)…. Keep preaching (or ranting!)…. Change comes slowly.

  3. Bruce H. June 18, 2024 at 3:22 pm #

    This is a superb post. This can’t be said enough. We as a nation desperately lack perspective and critical thinking skills. Thank you for saying these things, and for saying them so cogently and eloquently. I will continue to applaud and support your organization as one of the sadly few voices of reason out there.

  4. LGB June 18, 2024 at 10:08 pm #

    Honestly, in an age of staggering depression rates, (and that IS provable with statistics –, playing on people’s emotions the way the media does is despicable.