One of the most tragic outcomes of the horrific massacre in Aurora, Colorado which killed at least twelve people and injured more than four dozen others, is that (aside from the bereaved relatives of the dead), it will be forgotten about within a few days.
As long as the shootings remain a “hot” story, the usual suspects will make predictable (and canned) speeches and statements. Liberals will express their outrage and demand reforms in gun laws, conservatives will claim that guns are “not to blame,” and foreigners (particularly Europeans) will assign blame for the tragedy to America’s “gun culture” and “violent history.”
But, within, say, two or three days, the mass media and general public will move on to the next nightmarish event of violence, murder and depravity.
However, the Aurora shootings have an unusual link that may give it a longer-than-usual shelf life -- it occurred at the opening of a widely-anticipated new movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” the latest Batman magnus opus from Hollywood. Already, premieres in other cities, including Paris, have been cancelled and the studio that made the film, Warner Brothers, has issued its condolences to the victims’ families.
And it’s all so predictable.
It seems that we witness a similar massacre about once a year or so in the U.S. I am a “veteran” of several in just the past few years, including the shootings at Virginia Tech in April 2007 which left 32 people dead and the Columbine High School shooting from 1999.
The amazing thing is that I have forgotten many of the massacres that have occurred in recent years and was startled to re-learn about them. For example, in March 2009, a man named Michael McClendon killed 10 people in Alabama, including his own mother, wife and child, before he mercifully blew himself away.
That unspeakable tragedy has already vanished from the public’s psyche (and mine, too).
Yes, we have been desensitized by mass media/internet saturation, but perhaps we have also become mindlessly blasé about violence, given the continuing diet of stories of murders and death emanating daily from Syria, as well as the seemingly needles bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade.
When was the last time you were “shocked” by a suicide bombing committed by the Taliban? Or an attack on Israelis by agents of Iran?
Mass murder has become routine and mundane… evoking almost no sustained anger now outrage from a jaded public. It sparks no shock value and nothing is done (or can be done) to prevent the next similar incident.
Joseph Stalin once said (and I am paraphrasing) that “one death is a tragedy and a million is a statistics.” The homicidal maniac from Georgia was exactly right.