NEW YORK – According to mainstream news outlets, the average death toll from a mass shooting required to capture the national attention has risen to seventeen. This number is up from August when the required death toll stood at fourteen.
According to CNN’s Anderson Cooper “A lot has changed since Columbine, when thirteen students were shot dead and the nation was brought to its knees. These days, it takes a Pulse Nightclub or a Las Vegas music festival style shooting to even make it through a 24-hour news cycle.”
“When I see a headline for an active shooting or mass shooting event, I usually scroll past because it happens so often,” says Minneapolis-area homemaker Jill Honniker, adding “unless the death toll is in the twenties or above, then I might click to see what’s going on.”
The increasing frequency and casualty count of recent mass shootings have lulled the nation into a sense of indifference. Unless the list of victims includes a prominent political figure or celebrity, or the shooter is of middle-eastern origin, most mass shootings go unreported.
When informed about the Virginia Beach mass shooting in May of this year, in which thirteen people perished including the shooter, most were unaware of the event, including Jeff Murphy, an Omaha-area electrician, telling BeetPress “I was unaware of any sort of shooting in Virginia. I vaguely recall something happening in El Paso or Ohio this year, but I’m fuzzy on the details. I do recall there was a school shooting in Florida a while back though, and that seemed to be a pretty big deal at the time.” The Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting in February 2018 claimed the lives of seventeen students and teachers.
“We had a school shooting yesterday,” said Cooper, who explained “but only five kids were shot, only two fatally. We really have to prioritize what’s going to get the best ratings. If we cover the shooting, we’ll lose viewers to MSNBC’s coverage of the impeachment hearings. That’s really the news people want to tune in to.”