Are Mass Shootings on the Rise?
Jesse Walker says no, and makes the following very good point at the end of his post:
… While there’s a lot to object to in the media coverage of the last few days — the inaccuracies reported on the day of the massacre, the exploitative intrusions on grieving people’s privacy — this feeling that the crime took place in our backyard isn’t a bad thing in itself. It represents empathy, and when the press amplifies our empathy, it’s doing good. But it’s also important for the press to give us a context for that empathy, lest those natural feelings for the victims and the people who loved them turn into an irrational fear that the next victims will be our own children or ourselves. Look at the ways so many schools locked down after Columbine: the increase in inflexible zero-tolerance policies, the speed-up in the school-to-prison pipeline. Those changes made a lot of students less secure, not more. And they were driven by contextless, free-floating fear. Empathy sí, paranoia no.
If we are smart, we will bear this in mind as we make policy post-Newtown.