It took no time at all after the horrific on air shooting in Virginia today for Danny Hayes at the Washington Post to express his sadness over the likelihood that this disaster won’t result in more gun control laws. And oddly enough, he blames the media of which his is a part.
Will this be the incident that leads to reforms that gun control advocates have for years pushed for? Will public support for tighter regulations translate into meaningful legislation this time?
Recent history says we should be doubtful. Not only do numerous political interests make it difficult to enact gun control legislation, but without major efforts by politicians themselves, the gun debate is likely to fade quickly from public view.
That’s because of what’s known as the “issue attention cycle.” Mass shootings often generate significant media coverage immediately after they occur. But as time goes by, journalists move on to other stories, leading the public to grow less concerned with gun control.
The same people who can’t stop talking about how we need to get rid of guns seem to feel that we don’t spend enough time talking about getting rid of guns. But surely the media can’t be the only ones to blame, right? It must be the fault of our nation’s political thought leaders and candidates for high office. Why are they so mum on this important subject?
Strangely enough, in Danny’s own article he notes that that the shooter hadn’t even been declared dead of self-inflicted wounds yet before the governor of the state where it happened was on the air trying to spin gun control gold out of the straw of tragedy.
Indeed, within hours of the on-air killing of two Roanoke television journalists, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued a call for stronger gun regulations. “We’ve got, in America, we’ve got to come together,” McAuliffe said. “There’s too much gun violence in the United States of America.”
Hillary Clinton wasn’t far behind. She jetted away from her extensive vacation in the Hamptons (which was hilarious in and of itself) to campaign in Iowa and then held a presser in front of a tractor – no… I’m not kidding – to express her sympathy to the families of the lost in one or two sentences before launching into a diatribe on gun grabbing. (Business Insider)
“We have got to do something about gun violence in America,” she told reporters. “And I will take it on.”
“There’s so much evidence that if guns were not so readily available, if there were universal background checks … that maybe we could prevent this kind of carnage,” she added.
Clinton had tweeted earlier in the day, hours after the fatal shooting took place:
Heartbroken and angry. We must act to stop gun violence, and we cannot wait any longer. Praying for the victims' families in Virginia. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 26, 2015
It’s worth noting that after Clinton delivered her abbreviated remarks on the shooting and a few other topics, she once again exited the facility without taking any questions. Man… that’s a pretty good gig as long as you can get away with it.