Ravings of Madmen

Kids Killing Kids- this mantra turns up again and again in the news.  What does it mean?  Of course it's a very emotional agent, who on Earth wouldn't be upset about kids killing kids?  The phrase is attached to the current media-declared epidemic of teenagers bringing guns to school and unloading a clip into their classmates.  Naturally, it's an alarming situation, but is it really an eipdemic?  Or is it a virtual non-issue being manufactured into news because it's so easy to do?
My local news summarized the epidemic in a 'special report' the day after that kid in Oregon went apeshit (Note to self- do not inflict stupid names on my children).  They outlined four incidents nationwide in the last year, with the loss of life placed at twelve. Twelve deaths in one year, in a nation of over 200 million...
I checked out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Figures posted on their website.  In 1995, over 2,000 teens (age 15-20) died in motor vehicle accidents which involved alcohol.  That means that drunk driving killed more teenagers in two days than this 'epidemic' has in a whole year.
The National Weather Service tells us that in 1995, lightning strikes killed 85 people.  That's seven times the fatality rate of the kids killing kids 'epidemic'.  From lightning.

I don't bring this up to argue that twelve dead kids are no big deal, or that the idea of high-school kids going on killing sprees isn't horrifying.  It is, and it is.  The point I want to make is the only reasons we're hearing about it:

  • It's 'easy' news for sound-bite journalism.   High-profile stuff like this doesn't take a lot of ferretting out.  Just sit down next to the wire, and eat a donut. Stories like this fall into your lap.
  • It's perfectly without opportunity for controversy.  Nobody is going to argue that the media is making too big a deal out of this (except me).  To do would be to paint yourself a kid-killer or fringe lunatic, much as you will be branded a racist by saying you hate rap music.
But there's an underlying evil you may not be considering.  Controversial legislature like gun-control laws (and other erosions of individual liberty) can only be enacted by riding the waves of emotionalistic pandering like the kids killing kids 'epidemic'.  If you are content to believe that this is a national crisis that requires our immediate action, the men in Washington will be happy to undermine your rights for you, with your enthusiastic support.  You deserve what you get, but you're taking me with you, you lazy bastard.  Cut it out.  Think past the emotional power of this story, and focus on what it may cost us all in the long run.

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