the Aftermath

images-2As we walked out of the movie Mustang (great flick) this weekend, like everyone these days, we checked our phones.  We are off the grid for only two hours and there is another shooting.   We can not become numb to this.

Depending on where you live in this country has a lot to do with what you believe our guns law should be.  I don’t believe people in NYC should be walking around with guns.  I actually don’t believe anyone should be walking around with guns.  We do not live in the wild wild west anymore.  Yet people who live in super rural areas do feel a need to own a firearm.  Certainly everyone should have to go through a rigorous process before just being able to get a gun yet it doesn’t seem to work like that.

There has been so many conversations that I have participated in when it comes to gun control.  Should we raise the price of ammo so high that it becomes hard to obtain?  How do you defeat the NRA?  I could go on and on but why bother.

One thing that I’d like to propose to all media outlets is to start writing about the aftermath.  Write about it daily and don’t stop.  New York Times, WSJ, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and new media channels from Vox to HuffPo.  We read with dismay about another shooting and then a few days later that tragedy has left the front page.  Let’s know what happened to the family that lost their child, their parent or the pain that they might experience daily because luckily they survived.  Not just a week later but years on end.  Nobody talks about the aftermath of a tragedy and how it affects a family.  When one person dies tragically it changes an entire dynamic of a family.  It leaves unanswered questions, it leaves anger, it leaves guilt not only to the adults but it wreaks havoc on children.

The whole notion that if each of the people who are killed in a mass shooting from Paris to Beirut to Colorado State had a gun on them that they would have somehow survived and taken out the shooter in glory might only work in the movies.

I am not a journalist.  I’m asking that journalists begin to research and write these stories.  Write them often.  Don’t stop.  Let’s just hope that reading these heartbreaking tales of tragedies that shouldn’t have happened will start to bleed into American’s hearts and minds and as a group we will begin to say “enough is enough”.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I was thinking something very similar as I watched this unfold last night. There are so many people out there now who undoubtedly suffer from PTSD or other issues as a result of being touched by these incidents. That’s one legacy of these horrific events.I really think President Obama captured the issue. There are people on no-fly lists right now who can still buy a gun, no problem. At least one of the guns used yesterday was purchased legally.I also worry about the media coverage. Watching CNN’s coverage last night was more than disturbing. Ghoulish. Surreal.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It is numbing. How do we think about shifting this tide?

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Well, I can’t resist giving a question like that my best shot :)How can a disorganized majority counter a highly organized minority with a big profile and deep pockets? By organizing, fundraising, and being specific. The NRA knows *exactly* what it wants. We must know exactly what we want and raise the money to pressure the electeds to make it happen.Everyone knows exactly who to point to when it comes to gun owner advocacy. Who do we point to when it comes to gun control advocacy? We need to know that, too.There are basically two organizations, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. As a product person, I see a need for one marquee organization. And it needs a name that sounds permanent. “Stop” and “Prevent” are things that we don’t have to do once they’re accomplished. The NRA never stops. We need a Seth Godin to help us come up with something more inspiring, more bonding, more permanent.We need to understand how to market to our ‘customer’ the way that the NRA understands how to market to theirs.We also cannot ignore the mental health care aspect. Lack of access to mental health care and easy access to guns are a ‘perfect storm’, and I don’t think addressing one of these aspects alone will get us where we need to go.Activist movements have worked complex issues like this before, so I guess we need to take a look at what succeeded for them.

        1. Cam MacRae

          Activist movements have enjoyed success previously, but as a nation you’re edging closer to the level of divisiveness and dysfunction that cripples civilizations.From the outside it’s perplexing. You have no shortage of good people. Your major political parties are both right wing and authoritarian, differing only in that one is somewhat progressive and the other tends towards reactionary.The magnitude of enmity doesn’t tally with all that common ground. I just hope you can sort yourselves out. (Preferably peacefully).

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            I hope so, too. It’s going to take more than prayers.It does feel like we’re at some kind of fork in the road as a country.

          2. Cam MacRae

            Quite. And although you’re not on the verge of revolution just yet, you do appear to have reached the limits of your democracy. It will take people of conviction and prodigious amounts of pragmatism to recalibrate it.

        2. Christine

          A well funded organization with a well executed plan (addressing every aspect of the issue – media, culture, legal, lobbying etc.) could get this firmly on the national agenda and get change happening. The majority of Americans have had enough of this insanity – that energy needs to be harnessed. There are many existing organizations which could be leveraged for support. There are well-established protocols for getting conversations going and getting laws changed. It’s a product of our time – direct citizen action now has established processes, consultants can be hired to help build social movements. Social media is a powerful resource. It needs money, time and dedication. But it can be done. It needs to be done.

        3. Cam MacRae

          Saw this today in a thread about “why gun control has no effect” and thought of you.

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Wow, that’s pretty compelling. Thank you for sharing!

      2. LE

        The gun lobby is worried about a slippery slope. That is the issue in plain terms. In order to solve the problem they would (unfortunately) need to be convinced that giving in a bit won’t lead to other concessions. If that equation can be solved then the problem will be solved. Simply trying to reason with them isn’t going to work.

  2. Ella Dyer

    Excellent point regarding the aftermath my dear however; the papers will have room for nothing else considering that each day 89 people die from gun violence (http://www.bradycampaign.or… You are right; this is not the wild, wild west and the NRA has a strangle hold on this country.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It is heartbreaking.

  3. William Mougayar

    Apparently this is the 355th this year? Unbelievable….How many will it take to totally eradicate this?…This map of shootings is crazy…It almost looks like the number of air strikes in Syria.

    1. Gotham Gal

      that map is beyond upsetting.

    2. LE

      To be fair William (and I do not own a gun and don’t intend to buy one) that figure is unvetted. [1] Which is not to say that there isn’t a great deal of gun violence. To my point it appears on a quick check that many of those reported stories (and I am noting that the mainstream media is running with the “355” or approx. number) are urban crime [2] that just happened to involved more than (I think it is 4 people?). If we include other gun violence the number is much larger. That’s important also, right? But most importantly I would guess that much of that violence involves stolen guns by inner city criminals (to put it gently). This is not to say that we don’t have a problem as Joanne has pointed out or that we need better controls. However in order to get action the problem at least should be defined as accurately as possible.[1] Note also how many “unknowns” there are as the perp. There is no question that people with guns are killing people the only question is what can be stopped by taking further action to limit gun ownership. In the case of the stories mentioned and if inner city violence most likely there would be little impact is my speculation.[2] I don’t think that any of us think of a “mass shooting” is a shooting that happens for example between drug dealers in what we consider “bad neighborhoods”. Yet the media has ran with “this is the X mass shooting this year”.

  4. Lisa Mogull

    Great post, but oh how I wish it were unnecessary.IMHO, gun control is the issue that most points out how much we need the popular vote in national elections. I believe that if every American had an equal vote on a referendum on this issue that sane gun control regulation would pass. The NRA can control politicians, but I think in a fair national vote sensible American citizens would prevail.

  5. William Mougayar

    This list is crazy. There’s been almost a shooting *every day* this year.

    1. LE

      My other point is that intense media attention on shootings actually creates more violence and more shootings. No question about that. This is what plants the seeds to many of these things in shooters minds.I am for better checks and restrictions because it makes common sense. However I realize also that if all the sudden people started driving cars into buildings and killing people we’d probably see an uptick in those events. The problem with guns is that the “mass” in “mass shooting” also includes things (per my other comment) that aren’t really thought of as “mass shootings”.This didn’t happen as often 10 years ago. But guns were just as plentiful back then. Did you see the news coverage on this event and others that have happened? No question that has an impact on mentally unstable people looking for their 15 minutes prior to dying.

      1. Gotham Gal

        there were guns ten years ago but not access to uzi shot guns

      2. William Mougayar

        How about the violence in US movies- that ought to be a big factor.Do you expect the media to not report on this?

        1. LE

          Do you expect the media to not report on this?Of course it should be reported. The issue is the “over the top” and wall to wall coverage. Even with chirons saying “TERROR IN SAN BERNADINO” like it’s the Super Bowl or something. The “CAMP OJ” banks of reporters doing anything and everything to be able to have mass quantities of live footage to sell advertising around it. [1] Interviewing all sorts of people just to entertain us. Did you see what happened and how they went through the place where the terrorists lived (because the landlord let them in)? The glee on the face of the reporters was quite memorable, as if they had found the mother lode of content. Totally 100% over the top. It’s all entertaining of course. The point is that that publicity and coverage goes way beyond what is news. It’s infotainment.Nothing can be done about this because politicians needs the media just like lawyers need laws so they can justify their existence.[1] Because people tend not to DVR these things they watch live which makes it great for selling advertising. Live events are key in TV as a result of non-live events being able to have commercials skipped.

  6. Steve G

    So far, there’s a constitutional right to own and keep a gun in the home for self-defense. Although, lower Federal courts in Chicago have ruled in favor of being allowed to walk around with a concealed weapon. We’ll have to see if there will be any judicial restrictions on open carry, or registration, even in urban areas. You mentioned NYC, you may recall that only a few year ago, the Gannett newspapers in Westchester-Rockland Counties published the names and addresses of all the people in Westchester and Rockland who had registered guns, and the number of households with guns was huge. It’s not, as you suggest, just the super rural areas who feel the need to own a gun.

  7. Mario Cantin

    We can’t carry guns in Canada and shootings still occur. Bad guys will still find a way to get them, IMO. Having the right to carry a weapon is so deeply engrained in the American culture that it’ll remain a heated debate.

  8. jim forbes

    one of thed things I learned as a young reporter coming up was to write murders as features, whereever possible. When you build a story like that you cover victims as “people” not statistics.

  9. lisa hickey

    Sorry I’m so late to this thread. I run a media company. And yes, I am taking you up on your suggestion, Joanne, that we’ve got to write about this every day. We need to let people know just what is at stake, what they can do, and how change happens.But–beyond that—It’s got to be solved as a business problem. That is what LaPierre has done with the NRA so brilliantly (and so horrifically). He figured out how to build the NRA into a mega-corporation. And one that has no real competitor. He hired brilliantly — he hired as many members of Congress as he could pay with “competitive wages” in the form of campaign funding. The reason all of us running to call our Congressmen won’t work is that LaPierre has figured out exactly how many votes he needs to retain power over the laws—and he has people in elected office for every one of those votes needed.The only way to get this done is to start with a spreadsheet. Figure out, state by state, where the opportunities for power are. Get elected officials into office who will make the right vote when a vote is needed. Take a cue from the way the LBGT movement worked—state by state, law by law. If that takes money to get the right people into power, then go out and raise the money and spend it to make it happen.But it’s got to be looked at very strategically. Which states are the ones where, in the next election, someone who is pro-gun could be ousted by someone who is for gun control. And keep on it state by state until we can create change.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Agree. I believe Bloomberg is all over this too.

  10. pixiedust8

    The NY Times had a great article this Sunday about a young girl who survived the Oregon community college shooting. She obviously had PTSD, but it was unclear to me how much help she was getting or who was paying for it.Don’t get me wrong–I have no issue paying for this, but I wonder if survivors without insurance or psych coverage are just left to deal on their own? I also wonder that about the kids who survive shootings or whose parents are killed, like that horrific shooting in Brooklyn where the kids saw the mother shot and the father committed suicide. Who helps those kids?

    1. Gotham Gal

      great question. who helps these kids?