What the Media Isn't Saying About Vegas

With all the coverage surrounding the shooting in Las Vegas, there’s a lot that the media still isn’t saying. When you start comparing it to other mass shootings, it gets real.

 

Where’s the discussion of terrorism?

Whenever a person of color goes on a rampage like this, there’s nonstop talk about how there was a connection to ISIS and how this is an attack on the American way.

When they’re white, that word never shows up in any news articles. White privilege means that white shooters are called “lone wolves” or mentally ill, even though mentally ill people are statistically more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crimes, including gun violence. White people aren’t called terrorists in this country, even though there’s no other word for the massacre of over 50 people and the injury of hundreds more.

At most, white terrorists are considered crazy, hateful individuals with no ties to a larger, systemic problem of racism and gun violence.

 

Stephen Paddock was a violent man.

A lot of the coverage about Paddock says he was quiet, friendly, and that this attack came out of nowhere. It reflects on how he enjoyed country music and lived a comfortable life, and even on his gambling problems.

Paddock wasn’t some nice, normal guy. He reportedly abused his girlfriend out in the open, and he came into the hotel with a bag full of semi-automatic weapons, which should have raised a few red flags.

 

The victims themselves aren’t getting much coverage.

When you look up the Las Vegas massacre, there are tons of news articles covering the shooter. There are articles about his medical history, how shocked his friends and family are, and even one about how he “tricked out” his guns.

Comparatively, there’s almost nothing about the victims. The little that’s said covers outstanding survivors who helped save others’ lives, but there are few articles releasing the victims’ names and little about how their families feel. Even the photos released are dominated by pictures of them fleeing, injured and dead instead of respectful portraits of their lives.

 

The conversation on gun control is way too late.

It’s great that people are finally open to a national conversation about gun control. Celebrities are speaking out, and every news channel from NBC to Fox is talking about how it’s time to talk about it.

 

The question is: Why now?

It says something, again, about white male privilege if we couldn’t have this conversation after Sandy Hook, after Pulse, or after the hundreds of mass shootings that have taken place since 2012. If the deaths of kids, Latinx and black people, and LGBTQIA+ people don’t spark a national conversation, we have to sit down and ask ourselves as a country: Why now? Why, after the mass shooting of a largely white, presumably straight, country music festival, are we finally agreeing to have this conversation?

 

But at least we’re finally asking these questions. That’s a step in the right direction.

 

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