Monday, August 27

Nerd On Nerd Crime Huge News In Jacksonville

The local Jacksonville news channels exploded after the mas shooting at The Landing. Granted, two people were killed, and nearly a dozen more were injured, so it was a big deal, but I'm wondering what captures our attention so much when it comes to this particular shooting, so much that the news channels had continuous coverage from when the event happened through the 11pm news time. Keep in mind, this shooting happened two days after a shooting at a local high school football game that involved all local people, killing one and injuring two.

The Raines vs Lee game ended in violence. It was news, but we were told at some point by the mayor that it was gang violence, which might have been suspected by many viewers from the outset. Kind of like the recent shooting at the Town Center. Earlier this year, three young men dead and one injured, but they might have been thugs themselves, so the shooting got the typical two minutes of news coverage, maybe a little more because it was at the Town Center rather than in the Moncrief area of town. 

I know, there's two sides to the local Jax violence. If you cover it too much, then people might say the news channels are focusing on the negatives of a given community or race. But the news really does cover what is believed to be the most captivating to the audience, and those stories must not be very captivating. I used to call these "Probably Deserved It" murders. If people think a group of teens might have deserved what they got, then it's not really a mass shooting. It's just a shootout.

When a little kid gets shot, it gets more attention than the young men who shoot at each other. Of course, it's really just young men shooting at each other and missing. Collateral damage. I suppose it captures the attention of an audience because we can imagine ourselves being out in the backyard and getting caught in the crossfire. The imagery fades because it's NOT in our safe backyards, so the news coverage eventually disappears, too.

But nothing makes us watch the news more than a mass shooting, even if it's nerd on nerd violence. Even if it's targeted. Even if it happens all the time. People with First World Problems, upset about losing in a video game tournament, getting fired from a job, or getting bullied at school. Young men who should be encouraged to commit suicide if it's all too much for them. (Seriously, if you are reading this and considering killing a bunch of others, just be a real hero and take your own life.)

Jacksonville had 138 homicides in 2017. I'd bet that those killings totaled roughly the same amount of news coverage as the two homicides at The Landing. Maybe I'm off, but I watch the news a lot, and I estimate that the amount of coverage for the other 70 or so murders in 2018 (by late August) have not come close to the coverage of this one mass shooting. The only other story that got the news going was the disappearance and suspected killing of a young hairdresser.

Obviously, mass shooters know from watching the news that they'll get all kinds of attention once they kill others. It's easy to understand a gang member shooting at another gang member, a police officer shooting an alleged criminal, or someone standing his ground while fighting for a parking spot. It totally makes sense when a husband kills his wife or a young man kills his grandma. Clerks killed by an armed robber are normal victims, too, and it's easy to see why these people were killed. We'd never be one of those victims, since we're not in gangs and our family members totally love us. But any one of us could be at a night club, school, church, convention, or sporting event.

We really have to wonder in what context Americans will lead the world in mass shootings next. We have schools covered, for sure. We might have some competition for church or night club shootings from the Middle East, and we might actually be behind some countries when it comes to hotel shootings, but we've got just about every other venue covered. Movies, malls, events, etc.

And the weirdest part is that it's not political like everywhere else. We worry so much about terrorism as a nation, but there are probably terrorists out there who are all like, "WTF?" when they text each other about crazy Americans doing their job for them. I don't agree with the politics or methods of terrorists, but they actually do have a cause. Americans who do this have no real cause, except they don't like other people, and they have the guns to prove it. 

I can't even believe my eyes when late on the night of the shooting, and all the next day, Action News Jax is showing ads that dramatically reflect the news channel's coverage of the event. What? It's not like this is Desert Storm or 9/11. Or even the Jags winning a Super Bowl. You do realize that all this coverage for this specific act will allow actual local people who want to be memorialized through violence against their peers to see what will happen?

Not only the news went nuts, but people from around the country were tweeting all about it. Governor, senator, probably president, sports enthusiasts, and more. I didn't see any tweets make the news after THREE people were killed at the Town Center. UNF, in an effort to get in the news, even has a walk-in mental health clinic open to students, none of whom were involved in any way.

All of this leads to the inevitable total destruction of The Landing, too. Are you going to go somewhere that has limited shopping, homeless panhandlers, and now a mass shooting? My family checked the place out one time since we've been here, and it's nothing amazing. So now Lenny Curry can push his plans when the owners realize the initial support and visits will just be people curious about the shooting. Remember, this is really an out-of-state crime that doesn't really mean The Landing is dangerous, but anyone else thinking about becoming famous for behaving badly knows it gets a lot of attention. And those of you who want more security, more police presence, or more conceal and carry should visit The Landing to see how such ridiculous measures are worthless. And in a country that can't even curb the opioid crisis or win a war on drugs, we're also not going to identify and treat every young man who wants to kill.

We all clamor for change, but none of us want to change in order for it to occur. None of us really believe the next killer will come from our own household or employ one of our own guns. Those guns are for protection from the other crazies out there who would all have the guns illegally if we didn't have them, just like every other civilized country on earth, right?

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