Mass Shootings Are Not the “Shock” or Aberration the U.S. Media Reports

By Tom Diaz, AlterNet, July 23, 2013

Tom Diaz’s new book shows how changes in the gun industry are killing Americans and what it will take to stop the daily death toll.

The following are excerpts from Tim Diaz’s new book,The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It (The New Press, 2013):

…The sad final act of the mass shooting ritual is a public event or makeshift memorial involving candles and teddy bears, to show “support” for the victims and help “bring closure” to the survivors. When CNN anchor Roland Martin asked Mayor Matthew Ryan of Binghamton, New York, to “give us a sense of the healing process in Binghamton tonight,” the mayor’s reply was typical. “Already churches around our city are having vigils. Tomorrow we’re going to plan a big vigil for our city. This is a city that really comes together in time of crisis.”

Determinedly clutched throughout this ritual is the studied premise that the latest “gun rampage” is an aberration, something akin to the sudden appearance of a spaceship that spews death randomly for ten or fifteen minutes, and then just as suddenly disappears. But the cold fact is that mass shootings can no longer accurately be called aberrations in the United States. They are here, now, and everywhere—in our homes, our schools, our churches, our places of work, our shopping malls, and even our military bases.

Unfortunately, even if mass shootings were aberrations, even if they suddenly stopped happening entirely, the toll of ordinary Americans killed and injured by guns every single day would remain staggering, a bloodletting inconceivable in any other developed country in the world. Firearms are the second leading cause of traumatic death related to a consumer product in the United States and are the second most frequent cause of death overall for Americans ages fifteen to twenty-four. Since 1960, more than 1.3 million Americans have died in firearm suicides, homicides, and unintentional injuries.

This gory march of our daily gun dead, however, is virtually invisible. It is invisible because it is grossly underreported in the news media, suppressed and distorted by the gun lobby, and poorly documented by the federal government and most state governments. The news media glide around the elephant-inthe- room of guns as the common denominator of mass shootings. But they flat-out ignore tens of thousands of other, more “routine” gun deaths and injuries every year in the shooting gallery that America has become….

read the full series of excerpts at AlterNet

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Filed under Guns, violence, crime

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