Five Media Narratives to Emerge Following Mass Shooting in Charleston

A gunman fatally shot nine people during a bible study service Wednesday night at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Police say that the shooter, described as a white man in his early twenties with “sandy blond hair” is still on the loose.

Authorities are labelling the mass shooting a hate crime, because it appears to be a white on black killing but also because upon doing so local and state police are given more federal resources and assistance to investigate the incident.

“To have an awful person come in and shoot them is inexplicable, obviously the most intolerable and unbelievable act possible,” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley told reporters. “The only reason someone could walk into a church to shoot people praying is out of hate.”

Unfortunately, America is not unfamiliar with sociopaths taking the lives of innocent people. Each time an event like this occurs, several discussion points are raised and debated by the media, politicians and advocates on both sides of the gun divide.

In the coming days and weeks, look for these topics to emerge:

Hate Crime

As mentioned, authorities are calling this a “hate crime,” meaning it was a crime motivated by prejudice or intolerance toward an individual’s national origin, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.

Also as mentioned, it appears it was a young white man who brutally murdered nine church goers, many of whom were African-American. Details on the victims are still forthcoming.

Yet, was the individual really motivated by hate, prejudice or intolerance? It’s unclear. Which brings up the next point.

Mental Health

Footage of the suspect.  (Photo: ABCNews)

Footage of the suspect. (Photo: ABCNews)

To what extent was the gunman suffering with mental health issues? Hate could certainly be a motivating factor, but mental health could also be a catalyst. After all, to kill nine people in cold blood one is undoubtedly a sociopath or a serious mental defective.

Look for the issue of mental health to crop up during the conversation. And once the identity of the shooter is confirmed, no one will be surprised if it turns out he was on psychotropic drugs for a mental ailment.

Gun-Free Zone

Was the church a gun-free zone? Were members allowed to bring guns to church for self-defense? Gun rights advocates are certainly going to ask these questions. One of the mantra’s of the pro-gun cause is that, as Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America says, “gun-free zones are murder magnates.”

In other words, gun-free zones create soft targets. In the vast majority of cases, mass shooters end up perpetrating their violent acts in places that prohibit firearms. Coincidence? Probably not. Logically, criminals would prefer to avoid armed resistance.

By the end of today, we’ll probably have an idea of whether the church was a gun-free zone. Safe bet is that it probably was.

Lax Gun Laws

As gun-rights activists rally around the gun-free zone narrative, gun-control advocates will focus on how the individual obtain the firearm and indubitably argue — regardless of the facts — that stricter gun laws may have prevented this tragedy.

It’s a flawed argument because a determined criminal is going to find a gun one way or the other. Moreover, most mass shooters plan their attack for weeks and months giving them plenty of time to circumvent the laws and obtain whatever implements they need to carry out their assault.

Nevertheless, gun control advocates will not let this tragedy go to waste and will continue to beat the drum for restricting the Second Amendment.

Gun Blaming

Along with pointing to gun laws, gun-control advocates will also blame the gun. See, instead of placing the blame on the shooter — where it belongs — gun control advocates like to shift blame to gun laws and guns.

As it relates to the firearm, by demonizing the gun, by shifting the blame from the finger that pulled the trigger to the trigger itself they hope to gain more ground on their mission to ban firearms. According to them, certain guns and gun-related accessories (like magazines with 10 or more rounds) are evil and are not fit for public ownership.

But as many know, guns do not have a soul. However, look for gun-control advocates to pounce on whatever firearm was used in the shooting, particularly if it was a black rifle.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Freedy June 25, 2015, 3:04 pm

    You got that right Tom.

  • Tom Horn June 22, 2015, 3:38 pm

    I am deeply saddened by the latest shooting in Charleston, SC. My prayers go out to all.
    What we cannot forget, is that firearms are a necessary burden of liberty and freedom. Many act as if suddenly America is awash in violence and danger. Violence and danger has always been a part of our American life, from early clashes between Native Americans and Pilgrims, the War of Independence, War of 1812, settling of the Appalachian Mtns, the American Civil War, the Westward Expansion, Prohibition, and many other events to numerous to mention. Even mass murder is not unknown, as in the Meadow Mountain Massacre, or the Ludlow Massacre.

    What has changed is many Americans’ attitudes towards violence and danger. Somewhere along the way many have come to expect the government to assure their personal safety. It never could, and never will. We need to become responsible again for the safety of ourselves and our loved-ones.

    Freedom and Liberty won’t work if you yank out one of the pillars (the power of the people). Taking guns away from law-abiding citizens would put all the power in the government and criminals. That is a dictatorship, not a democracy, and will not bring increased safety to the American People. We cannot give in to panic and knee jerk reaction. We have learned time and time again, the only way to respond to force is with force. We must find reasonable and practical solutions for the problems that face our Nation, without an, “Uncle Sam take care of me,” solution. That way lays in ruin.

  • Todd Potochny June 22, 2015, 12:00 pm

    I agree Petru,
    “Faux” News and similar agenda biased media routinely broadcast fear mongering drivel and outright lies to keep the lowest common denominator tuned in. Such opinion-tainment is like a bright light to a moth for many sick minded extremists in our society and there is no doubt that this subtly rascist and fascist agenda fuel the hatred of already inflamed minds. But no matter how they’re made or what their agenda is, bad people such as this young Dillon Roofe will continue doing what they do, taking innocent lives. I only hope that tragic events like this make sensible people more willing to take on the challenges of responsible gun ownership, proper defensive training and legal concealed carry. One properly armed and well trained person at that prayer meeting might have stopped this young man, defended themself and saved several lives. Two or three trained people with CCWs might have stopped him entirely.

    After all, the 1st amendment guarantees the right of anyone to think, speak and believe whatever they wish, no matter how hateful or perverse. But your 2nd amendment right guarantees your ability to defend your life and the lives of your loved ones, when some sick bastard crosses the line and lashes out violently. I sure wouldn’t be in a hurry to ever give that right up.

  • Todd Potochny June 22, 2015, 12:00 pm

    I agree Petru,
    “Faux” News and similar agenda biased media routinely broadcast fear mongering drivel and outright lies to keep the lowest common denominator tuned in. Such opinion-tainment is like a bright light to a moth for many sick minded extremists in our society and there is no doubt that this subtly rascist and fascist agenda fuel the hatred of already inflamed minds. But no matter how they’re made or what their agenda is, bad people such as this young Dillon Roofe will continue doing what they do, taking innocent lives. I only hope that tragic events like this make sensible people more willing to take on the challenges of responsible gun ownership, proper defensive training and legal concealed carry. One properly armed and well trained person at that prayer meeting might have stopped this young man, defended themself and saved several lives. Two or three trained people with CCWs might have stopped him entirely.

    After all, the 1st amendment guarantees the right of anyone to think, speak and believe whatever they wish, no matter how hateful or perverse. But your 2nd amendment right guarantees your ability to defend your life and the lives of your loved ones, when some sick bastard crosses the line and lashes out violently. Don’t be in a hurry to ever give that right up.

  • Petru Sova June 22, 2015, 9:45 am

    I think too that when right wing fanatics on Fox News use racial biased news reporting and make racial statements it only preys upon the minds of unstable white supremacy groups. Fox made false statements in the past about Obama’s citizenship, false statements that he is a Muslim, and made constant references to his patriotism. All of this contributes to further inflaming the sick minds of right wing white extremists’ groups.

    • Boz June 22, 2015, 12:19 pm

      What is a “right wing extremist group”? Never heard of any. Do we have any here in the U.S.? I don’t think so. ALL violent acts in the U.S. have been perpetrated by deranged left wing liberals. The lame-stream media is quick to jump to the conclusion that the perps are always Republicans, or TEA Party members, and it ALWAYS turns out that they are left-wing socialist liberals! EVERY time!

      • petru sova June 22, 2015, 6:10 pm

        Since the South Carolina shooting the Federal Government has said there are 19 known right wing white supremacy groups in South Carolina.

    • DaveGinOly June 22, 2015, 6:21 pm

      What\’s this nonsense about Fox News? For instance, it has never been an official position of Fox News, nor, to the best of my knowledge, one of their regular contributors, that Obama is foreign-born. Fox has reported on the claims of others that this is so, and that\’s called NEWS. (Like Harry Reid claiming that Mitt Romney had a tax problem, a story that most news outlets didn\’t have a problem promoting as NEWS, but had little interest in it when it was revealed to be false.) The fact that other networks and news outlets choose to ignore claims aired on Fox only informs us that those other outlets decided to keep some stories from their consumers, stories that Fox thought people should hear and evaluate for themselves.

      Let up on Fox News, already. When people like you start blaming Fox, it\’s a sure sign that you\’ve lost the argument and don\’t have anything constructive or informative to say.

  • petru sova June 22, 2015, 9:36 am

    Quote:”Yet, was the individual really motivated by hate, prejudice or intolerance? It’s unclear. Which brings up the next point”Quote

    The shooter made RACIAL statements the entire congregation heard as well as making the same statements to the police.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend