Media Coverage of School Shooting in Uvalde, Texas

From Poynter’ Report with Tom Jones about media coverage and reaction to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas:

Today’s Poynter Report will look at some of the coverage and reaction to Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas — where 19 children and two adults were murdered by an 18-year-old gunman.

First, notable journalism

  • The Washington Post’s John Woodrow Cox, who has written extensively about gun violence and children, with “Anger, anguish among Parkland and Newtown families after Texas shooting.”
  • Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez with “Don’t look away from the Texas school shooting. Don’t wait in silence until the next massacre.” Lopez writes, “Wallow in grief. Be horrified. Be angry. Be committed to the idea that we’re all in the line of fire, that it could have been any of us, anywhere, at any time, because no one and nowhere is safe.”
  • Washington Post contributing columnist Brian Broome writes, “Nobody’s going to do anything, right? I’m betting you already know, in the wake of the deaths of 19 children at an elementary school in Texas, that nobody is going to do a single thing. Oh, yes, for a while, people will stand behind microphones. Some will be sincere. There will be a vigil, maybe many vigils. Perhaps some balloons will be released into the air. But no one will do anything substantial about the reality that, in the United States, you can pick up a gun and mow down people for no reason.”
  • The headline on this Alyssa Rosenberg column in The Washington Post is disturbing, mostly because it feels accurate: “America practices child sacrifice. Uvalde is the latest offering.”Rosenberg writes, “The massacre brings the total number of children killed in school shootings since the 1999 Columbine attack to 185. That figure doesn’t account for all the other settings in which children have been the victims of mass gun violence. And it doesn’t include the 311,000 children who were injured in school shootings, witnessed their classmates and teachers being shot, or sought shelter in barricaded classrooms, bathrooms and closets. Given the lack of action after these spasms of butchery, there is only one possible conclusion: We are willing to tolerate the murder of children. We accept events that will gravely wound the bodies and psyches of many others.”

Remembering the victims

Here is a Twitter thread that is almost impossible to look at without becoming emotional. It has lovely photos of the victims, most of whom were just small children, in a happier time. Take time to look at it.

The Dallas Morning News’ Maggie Prosser, Jamie Landers and Kelli Smith have “Here’s what we know about the victims in the Uvalde school shooting.”

The Washington Post’s Moriah Balingit, Beth Reinhard, María Luisa Paúl, Holly Bailey and Karina Elwood also write, “What we know about the victims of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.”

An angry lawmaker

The most impassioned lawmaker, among the many who are upset, is Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy. He was elected just weeks before the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012. Twenty children were killed in that shooting.

Speaking on the floor of the Senate after the Tuesday shooting, Murphy said, “This only happens in this country and nowhere else. Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking that they might be shot that day. Nowhere else do parents have to talk to their kids as I have had to do about why they got locked into a bathroom and told to be quiet for five minutes just in case a bad man entered that building. Nowhere else does that happen except here in the United States of America. And it is a choice. It is our choice to let it continue.”

He also said, “Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate, why do you go through all the hassle of getting this job, of putting yourself in position of authority, if your answer as the slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, is we do nothing? What are we doing? Why are you here if not to solve a problem as existential as this?”

Murphy appeared on CNN on Wednesday and said, “This is ultimately up to voters. Voters get to decide this. Ask your candidates this fall: Are you supportive of universal background checks? Do you think that 18-year-olds should have access to military-style assault weapons? If they say yes, if they support the current law, if they don’t support reform, then don’t send them back to Congress.

More notable journalism …

  • For his morning newsletter, The New York Times’ David Leonhardt writes, “If American gun violence is no longer surprising, it still is shocking. On an average day in the U.S., more than 35 people are murdered with a gun. No other affluent country in the world has a gun homicide rate nearly as high.”
  • The Atlantic’s David Frum with “America’s Hands Are Full of Blood.” Frum writes, “Thoughts and prayers. It began as a cliché. It became a joke. It has putrefied into a national shame.” Frum adds, “Most of us are appalled. But not enough of us are sufficiently appalled to cast our votes to halt it. And those to whom Americans entrust political power, at the state and federal levels, seem determined to make things worse and bloodier.”
  • Wednesday’s “The Daily” podcast from The New York Times: “Another Elementary School Massacre.”
  • Also in The New York Times, Thomas Fuller with “The Stupefying Tally of American Gun Violence.” Fuller writes, “The misery mounts, and yet nothing changes, leaving Americans with little more to do than keep lists, mental spreadsheets of death that treat events like Uvalde as just another morbid tally with superlatives like ‘second-deadliest shooting in an elementary school.’”

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