Our sad, muted response to the Virginia Beach shooting

Patricia Olds, a coworker of LaQuita Brown, a victim of a mass shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va., is comforted before carrying a cross bearing Brown's name to a nearby makeshift memorial, Sunday, June 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The mass shooting in a Virginia Beach municipal building on May 31 was remarkable—but not primarily for the death toll of 12 people. Americans have unfortunately become accustomed to losses of life from gun violence even greater than that. What was notable was how muted the nation’s response was.

In the past, a gun massacre would set off a necessary—though intractable—debate over background checks and the number of bullets the gun could shoot, the Second Amendment and mental health. This time, our collective feeling seemed to be: At least it was not children. While the Democratic presidential hopefuls registered their dismay on Twitter, only one of the 14 candidates who spoke at the California Democratic Convention the day after the shooting—Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey—alluded to Virginia Beach, decrying the “normalizing of mass murder in our country.”

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Something is also broken in our politics when, as a country, we no longer believe a better future is possible.

The U.S. bishops also weighed in, calling not only for prayers for the victims but for legislation to help prevent mass shootings. “This shooting reminds us yet again that something is fundamentally broken in our society and culture when ordinary workplaces can become scenes of violence and contempt for human life,” Bishop Frank J. Dewane, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said on June 1.

Something is also broken in our politics when, as a country, we no longer believe a better future is possible. Of course, there is a source of this despair: Since the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado 20 years ago, there have been 16 mass shootings with 10 or more victims. Yet Congress has been unable to pass and preserve gun safety laws that most Americans support, like universal background checks, an assault weapons ban and limits on ammunition clips.

The 12 victims at Virginia Beach—and the 100 Americans killed by guns each day in this country—deserve our attention, and we must recognize the injustice of their deaths. But more than that, we must direct that frustration and anger toward overcoming the political and moral complacency that accepts gun violence as a part of everyday life.

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Dale Athlon
5 months 2 weeks ago

The response was muted because the shooter wasn't white, and didn't attack members of the Special classes (i.e. LGBT, Jews, POC, Muslims, etc.)

When random white Americans get shot like this, it's covered, but it's muted because people in the media actually do care less when it's whites that are killed. This is my opinion and comment. Thanks.

PS I note that above the picture shows black victims, but 9 out of 12 were white. The shooter wasn't white, and that also contributes to why the narrative is muted as compared to if the shooter was a straight white. The recent STEM high school shooting in Highlands Ranch, CO was done by a homosexual perpetrator so that was also muted in comparison.

Jay Zamberlin
5 months 2 weeks ago

You know that's right. PLUS he was, reportedly, a Muslim, ala Farrakhan follower, Wallace D. Muhammed, etc. NOOoooooo that is not the story they want to pump...... An angry middle aged white man would be non stop newsbusters. So tired of leftist drivel. Please, Dear Lord, make it stop!!

Mary Therese LEMANEK
5 months 2 weeks ago

Your experience of reporting is different than mine. The coverage tends to specify pretty clearly the racial/ethnic/religious details of the perpetrator when they are not white males. It is difficult to continue to find energy to fight something that seems beyond possibility. Not because it is impossible but because there is so much working against it.

DB Stephens
5 months 2 weeks ago

Oh nonsense. If this shooter was white his picture would be plastered everywhere. It is available as is the race but it's completely burried compared to what it would be if he was white and it's so obvious it's ridiculous to even argue about it. You might as well argue over whether or not the earth orbits the sun. I knew immediately that the shooter was a race other than white due to the lack of reporting of his race.

DB Stephens
5 months 2 weeks ago

Yep we can't discuss that too much because then people might start questioning why the mere presense of guns causes blacks to commit over 50% of all the murders when they are only 13.4% of the population and there is no good answer to that question so it doesn't serve the gun control agenda. Besides we all know that actually discussing the absurdly high rates of black on black violent crime that nearly doubles US murder rates every year is [hushed whisper] racist, which is why it's been this way for literally decades.

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/tables/table-43

https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf
Pages 11-13

Joe Martino
5 months 2 weeks ago

I’m a resident of Virginia Beach. This is what I posted on Facebook last Friday...

Earlier today, a friend from California called and, to my surprise, asked if I was OK. I had been working non-stop on our home renovation project all day and was in the process of cleaning up when the phone rang. “11 people were shot and killed at the Municipal Center in Virginia Beach”, he said. My initial reaction was probably in line with what seems to be a regular occurrence these days. We talked about it a bit, with predictable laments before the conversation moved on to more pleasant topics.

During the car ride home, I began to think more about the Municipal Center. This is a place we have been to many times for all sorts of building permits. There are people who work there we have come to know. People with names, familiar faces, voices, and, personalities. People we connect with. People who have helped us on the very project I was working on today.

For most of us, these occurrences are abstractions and such abstractions help insulate us from the worst effects of such horrific events. But the moment you are able to connect an event with faces and voices, decent and kind human beings who you know, the grief begins to set in and overwhelm.

As it should.

11 people who had their lives cut short. Loving couples just this morning, turned into grieving widows in an instant. Grade school kids who will come home and find one of their parents is gone. Forever. Extended family and neighbors, shattered. Co-workers, scarred. First-responders, traumatized by having to collect the bodies of eleven lifeless souls. The blast radius of these tragedies, when you really think about it, is enormous. And horrific.

We live in a time when it has never been easier to lose touch with the community in which we live. Violence is in plentiful supply, exploited in the culture certainly and even celebrated. It’s tools, readily available. A media, political and leadership environment that seeks to selfishly divide and demonize. All of these things, together, pushing the disenfranchised, over an edge which has become much too dangerous.

I am an optimist by nature. When I am in need of inspiration, I always look to the words of John F Kennedy. “Our problems are man-made; therefore, they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings."

Sorry, Mr. President. Not now. Not tomorrow. Through the end of April, there have been 105 mass shootings in America, with 120 people killed and 387 wounded. I’m just not feeling good, right now, about who we are or what we’ve become.

DB Stephens
5 months 2 weeks ago

Murders today are only about 50% of what they were in 1980 with vastly more guns in circulation so you are going to have to look a lot more deeply than guns for an answer and you are also going to have to accept the reality that what we "have become" is considerably less violent than what we were regardless of what the MSM wants you to believe.

https://www.infoplease.com/us/crime/homicide-rate-1950-2014

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/topic-pages/tables/table-4

Stanley Kopacz
5 months 2 weeks ago

They took the lead out of the gasoline. Lower lead levels means better impulse control and higher intelligence. But we can bring back the old days by saving money on infrastructure as was done in Flint.

George Obregon
5 months 2 weeks ago

It's quite surprising to this observer that Bishop Frank J. Dewane completely misses the spiritual point here when he clumsily declares that,

“This shooting reminds us again that something is fundamentally broken in our society and culture when ordinary workplaces can become scenes of violence and contempt for human life,”

Someone gently remind the Bishop that broken individuals are the criminal elements with contempt for human life... Didn't the ministry of Jesus the Christ concentrate on the individual, and not on His society at large?

/Jesus was our first expert systems engineer.
`

Donna Zuroweste
5 months 2 weeks ago

Dear Bishop,
Your brothers made the 2016 election a one issue voting slate for Catholics. Decry what you wish, you got what you mandated.

Terry Kane
5 months 2 weeks ago

Donna, Is it your position that -
1- The Jesuits are responsible for the election of President Donald J. Trump;
2- President Donald J. Trump is responsible for a member of the Nation of Islam killing a dozen people in Virginia?
If possible, could you please justify those two assertions?

Ingrid Wisniewski
5 months 2 weeks ago

This shooter would have passed any background check. The problem isn't inadequate background checks, or more stringent rules for gun and ammunition purchases. The problem is a more and more secular society with far too little human interaction in which the dignity of and respect for human life is no longer a cherished value.

Craig B. Mckee
5 months 2 weeks ago

Clinically speaking, the nation is dangerously reaching a point of CUMULATIVE GRIEF or, (much like the GLBTQ community in the 80's) MULTIPLE BEREAVEMENT SYNDROME. No matter how high the stock market soars or the unemployment rate falls, basic questions concerning the quality of American life must be dealt with head on. What good is it to have thousands of troops overseas protecting our freedoms and the American dream, when local TV stations have to organize BREAKFAST CEREAL collection drives to care for our little ones who will not be fed at school during summer vacation?

DB Stephens
5 months 2 weeks ago

No the only people in grief are those who let the MSM warp their preception of what is really a pretty rosy reality. Murders are only about half what they were in 1980, the economy is doing well, unemployment is low and there is more respect from the current administration which just signed comprehensive criminal justice reform, for individual rights than on the part of any administration since we started mass incarceration with the 1994 crime bill. Maybe soon we won't even have the dubious distinction of imprisoning more people than any other country on earth both per capita and in terms of total numbers anymore.

Tim Donovan
5 months 2 weeks ago

I'm a former long-time Democrat of more than 25 years (I'm 57) who's now a moderate pro-life Republican who still favors many typical Democratic policies. I oppose the violence of legal abortion, capital punishment, and support stringent gun control laws. Several times I have made modest contributions to a gun control group. However, my involvement in the gun control movement is limited, as I now live in a nursing home. I have had two experiences that have given me pause regarding guns. In 1994, I discovered a handgun in my (then) recently deceased Dad's bank safety deposit box. I immediately turned it in to my local police department. I recognize that ending gun violence will take more than stringent laws. I also favor gun "buy back" programs. Several years later, the brother of a friend and co-worker was the victim of murder by a shooter. My friend was devestated. Also in 1994, a close friend committed suicide. Although she didn't use a gun but another lethal means of death, guns are frequently used by people to end their lives. Bishop Dewane has been quoted as saying that more "legislation and training" is needed, and I agree. The gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety has informative fact sheets. One notes that almost two-thirds of firearm deaths are suicides. Access to a gun increases the chance of suicide by a firearm by a factor of three. Tragically, firearms are the second leading cause of death among American children and teens. While I believe that our laws must change, I also believe that it's necessary in our society to teach people that every human life has value.

DB Stephens
5 months 2 weeks ago

Gun buyback programs? Oh yeah sure because the criminals who are actually causing all the problems are going to line up to sell back the guns they need to perpetuate their criminal lifestyle. Well they may, if they have a few bodies on them because courts have ruled that guns turned in this way cannot be used as evidence so turning a gun linked to a murder or two in is like throwing it in the river except you get cash for it. 250,000 people die every year as a result of medical errors in hospitals alone which is many times the number killed with guns by all intentions but you aren't up in arms over that, instead you are throwing out some cherry picked stats from Anytown which gets most things wrong anyway because their sole agenda is gun control for the sake of gun control. Ask Anytown why the states with the 4 lowest murder rates in America have virtually no gun laws beyond existing federal law. You won't get any sensible answer because the answer doesn't fit their agenda. All four lowest murder rate states are either D or in the case of 3 out of the 4 F rated by every gun control organization under the sun. The correlation between guns and murder you want to exist simply doesn't which is why murder rates today are only a bit over half what they were in 1980 even with vastly more guns in circulation now.

https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-05-03/medical-errors-are-third-leading-cause-of-death-in-the-us

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_homicide_rate

https://www.infoplease.com/us/crime/homicide-rate-1950-2014

PS If that gun you turned in was worth anything one of the cops pocketed it and added it to his private collection or sold it for some quick cash and laughed all the way home. They do it all the time. It's sad that people often on fixed incomes essentially throw away valuable assets due to irrational fear.

Stanley Kopacz
5 months 2 weeks ago

You are right about the cops. If anyone turns in a gun, they have only to use a tungsten carbide grinder on the gun where the high pressures are developed.

DB Stephens
5 months 2 weeks ago

LOL Good luck getting any cops to use any grinder on any gun of any value that's turned in. It's going in one of their private collections or getting sold for some $$$.

Stanley Kopacz
5 months 2 weeks ago

Why would I expect cops to do it? If course not. I have a grinder in my garage and would do it myself. The look on the cop's face as I turned in a useless hunk of metal would be priceless.

DB Stephens
5 months 2 weeks ago

Same drivel different day. Background checks? The shooter passed multiple background checks. "Assault Weapon ban"? Like with about 99% of murders in America no "assault weapon" was involved. According to the FBI UCR rifles of every type combined are only used in a few percent of murders every year. You are literally more likely to be beaten or kicked to death with fists and feet than killed with any kind of rifle. It's harder to imagine a dumber way to try to lower murder rates than to further regulate something used in only a tiny percentage of them. Magazines? Oh yeah sure you are going to stop someone bent on mass murder from getting a couple out of the hundreds of millions of totally unserialized completely untraceable standard capacity magazines in America and if you did, so what? A 10 round magazine can be changed in less than a second with practice. Cho killed 32 people at VA Tech using them with no problem at all.

As usual with mass shootings the common denominators are a violent person combined with a gun free killer safety zone where nobody can defend themselves. That's why 97.8% of FBI categorized mass shootings happen in gun free zones.

https://crimeresearch.org/2018/06/more-misleading-information-from-bloombergs-everytown-for-gun-safety-on-guns-analysis-of-recent-mass-shootings/

Of course as usual the author fails to focus on the actual problems: Violent people and disarmed victims. As usual the argument comes down to: 'But but but but we are all safer when disarmed and helpless', which is of course complete nonsense. Do police, who know about dealing with violent predatory people choose to be unarmed and defenseless? No they choose to be armed for their own protection and that should tell one all one needs to know. Meanwhile, police, who courts have repeatedly ruled have no duty to protect anybody anyway, reportedly couldn't even immediately access the building due to having no key cards for the electronic locking doors leaving the unarmed and defenseless people inside to fend for themselves for an extended period of time with entirely predictable and depressing results.

As far as why the response is muted, that's an easy one: The shooter isn't a white male. Too much attention paid to this shooting by a black male might draw attention to the fact that blacks are only 13.4% of the population but commit over 50% of the murders year after year after year and god knows we can't discuss the fact that 13.4% of the population more than doubles the number of murders every year. One, that's considered [hushed whisper] racist, and two, there's no convenient explanation for why guns cause blacks to commit murder at many times the per capita rate of whites so this sort of discussion doesn't serve the gun control agenda which has nothing to do with actually reducing murder rates just with gun CONTROL for the sake of CONTROLLING hundreds of millions of people who obey laws and are thus unlikely to cause a problem in the first place.

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/tables/table-43

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/topic-pages/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8.xls

JR Cosgrove
5 months 2 weeks ago

Two things:
The editors have a political agenda and what's published here can be explained by that agenda.
Second, there was a vast breakdown in the culture of Western Society in the 1960's. Two examples, There were massive blackouts in New York City in 1965 and 1977. During the first one there was almost no crime in the city, during the second there was wide-spread crime. In London in 1954 there were 12 armed robberies the whole year. By 1981 there were 1400.

JR Cosgrove
5 months 2 weeks ago

For those interested in the lies we are told from out elites about our history and culture, read Thomas Sowell who documents them in detail. His latest book is Discrimination and Disparities from which I found the above stats on crime https://amzn.to/2WmQvvZ
Ralph Raico, professor of history, said are politics are determined by our understanding of history. The elites who control academia are not telling the truth about history and as a result control the politics of many of the recent graduates.

Judith Jordan
5 months 2 weeks ago

J Cosgrove--
History professors and scholars all across the country conspire to keep the truth from us. Amazing. Gee, if these people can pull that off, they should be put in charge of more things. Sorry, but this is an old, right-wing mantra that is not new in our society. The humorous thing is who is always critiquing the “elites.” They are the Russ Limbaughs, the Bill O’Reillys, the Sean Hannitys, the Tucker Carlsons, the Trumpers, etc. who all live in very expensive, secluded areas with excellent schools. Their listeners believe them and it never seems to occur to the listeners that their leaders live elite lives that are very different than the lives of their naive audiences.

JR Cosgrove
5 months 2 weeks ago

Glad you are reading the comments. But you should read more. Nothing I said came from any of the names you mentioned who are popular media persons except Trump. Why did you throw him in? I mentioned academia and referenced Thomas Sowell and Ralph Raico, who passed away a few years ago. Both have published numerous times. Sowell has close to 30 books. There are others.

From a naive person who reads a lot.

Judith Jordan
5 months 2 weeks ago

J Cosgrove----
I mentioned Trump because he is one of the worse and obvious offenders by continually offering fake news and most Trumpers believe him even though it takes little effort to determine if it true or not. The other people I mentioned hawk these comments all the time and soon people pick them up and believe the BIG LIE.
You have already defended Dinesh D'Souza as a reliable source even though he is rejected by scholars.

Since the advent of the Internet and social media, more and more people have a difficult time distinguishing between real information and fake news. The American Library Association, universities, and teachers have become concerned about the lack of critical thinking. In response, these entities are helping students to distinguish between the two with the CRAAP Test.

From a person who reads a lot to continue educating herself.

CRAAP Test.

Evaluation Criteria

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.

Authority: The source of the information.

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

More detailed and comprehensive information is available at
https://searchworks.stanford.edu/articles?q=craap+test&f%5Beds_search_limiters_facet%5D%5B%5D=Direct+access+to+full+text

JR Cosgrove
5 months 2 weeks ago

You have provided nothing to contradict me. I rarely pay attention to what Trump says and don't have access to television. I have a TV but use it for viewing DVD's. We gave up our cable access two years ago. So I can hardly be a watcher of Fox News. I use the internet for news.
I've seen nothing of consequence from those discrediting D'Souza. He is a little over the top on how he does things. He has presented thousands of researched points. Why don't you try to discredit his research. I'm sure some of it is not totally accurate.

JR Cosgrove
5 months 2 weeks ago

Your Craap test is fine. It describes how I base my conclusions though I never heard of it even though I am a Stanford graduate. Thomas Sowell should be a hero of yours then. So should Jonah Goldberg, Deirdre McCloskey, Jason Riley, Victor Davis Hanson, Charles Murray, Hans Rosling, Jordan Peterson, Heather MacDonald and Niall Ferguson. There are others.

By the way, what's the BIG LIE?

DB Stephens
5 months 2 weeks ago

First of all most of us don't believe anything any of them say in general. We care about actions and Trump's actions are consistent with the wishes of most of his supporters. Further Democrats at large lie as much as anyone. They are supposed to be the party of criminal justice reform, minorities etc but gave us the 1994 crime bill that locked up minorities in droves and helped us imprison more people per capita and outright than any other country on earth. Who actually signed criminal justice reform? Right, Trump. Where was Obama's criminal justice reform? Oh right if he had a son he'd look like Trayvon and some other equally meaningless often race baiting BS.

DB Stephens
5 months 2 weeks ago

It's not that simple or crime rates would simply have stayed where they were in the 70's and 80's i.e. sky high. Instead they have gone way down. Murder rates for the last available FBI UCR year are only slightly over half what they were in 1980. You will also find vast geographical differences in murder and other violent crime rates within the United States.

DB Stephens
5 months 2 weeks ago

It's not that simple or crime rates would simply have stayed where they were in the 70's and 80's i.e. sky high. Instead they have gone way down. Murder rates for the last available FBI UCR year are only slightly over half what they were in 1980. You will also find vast geographical differences in murder and other violent crime rates within the United States.

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