Who are the experts on “Senseless Tragedies”?

After talking in class today about the coverage of mass shootings in our country, I remembered the popularity of a blog post from a mother right after the events at Sandy Hook.

While the majority of news coverage focused on bringing in experts on gun control, mental health, and other semi-related topics, readers across the internet responded much more strongly to an expert on raising a violent and mentally ill son. Liza Long’s post on her blog described her experiences trying to parent a child she is afraid of. Eventually, her post got 1.2 million likes on Facebook, more then 320,000 shares, and almost 17,000 tweets. 

All of this suggests that the public would be very receptive to a different narrative of national violence. If there is a market (and even a demand) for different kinds of expert perspectives , why isn’t the media supplying that kind of coverage? How could that kind of broadening of the issues around mass shootings change the national narrative?

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One Response to Who are the experts on “Senseless Tragedies”?

  1. ndecaille says:

    I think this woman’s testimony was powerful and a great touch to the conversation that we had in class simply because it opened up a lot of the gray area the media doesn’t talk about. After reading it, I thought about the question that Raz asked about how do we think journalists’ should cover this material aside from the way we always have and am still wondering how journalists’ can be effective. Michael’s mother pointed out that there needs to be more of a serious talk about mental illness, but it also made me question whether this would help the issue.
    She cited in the article that her son had been diagnosed with ADHD and other psychological disorders. Going back to things brought up class, we also talked about how we cover these events; we bring in the psychoanalyst and other members of the community to form an opinion about why that child wanted to pick up a gun. If Michael was already psychologically evaluated, then is the issue necessarily having the conversation about mental illness if we already have it?
    His mother talked about how she would have to charge her son with a crime in order to get him some of kind of help. Although I agree with how we often categorize and label people who commit these crimes, I think one of the better questions is what do we do with these people?

    I guess one of the things I’m still thinking about is if journalists’ are supposed to find ways to illuminate these issues on a deeper level, then how can we if we don’t quite understand it ourselves? Is it really the job of the journalist to tell an audience what we should talk more about or leave it to the readers to decide or will it help in this case? Is making this a mental illness issue going to fix it If we report it this way?

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