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When it comes to Gun Violence, Our News Media is Failing Us

Author: Matt Jordan, Ph.D.

Article Topics: gun violence, mass shootings, school shootings, gun lobby, Uvalde, TX, news media, infotainment America occupies an exceptional place in the world among democratic countries with highly developed economies. And it’s not an exceptionalism we should be proud of. Gun violence kills more human beings per capita in the US than anywhere else, 20 times more than our closest rival. And as for mass shootings, we’re number 1 . It’s not even close. American civilians own more guns than the next 25 countries combined . The sum of this ghastly arithmetic — when a population with as many angry or unstable people as other peer countries has unfettered access to technology designed to kill — is…

Does American gun violence demand more graphic depictions in news?

Author: Patrick Plaisance, Ph.D.

Article Topics: gun violence, Uvalde, TX, journalists, media coverage, graphic images, shooting victims, school shooting, mass shooting Calls for journalists to show gruesome images of shooting victims may not be best approach to help audiences understand the violence. Part of the recurring debate over America’s gun violence addresses questions over news media coverage. These questions become more urgent when children are victims, such as in the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. What kind of coverage is appropriate? Should journalists ever show bodies and blood? Would such graphic coverage galvanize public opinion into policy, or would it numb us even more to the parade of gun violence? Some have begun calling for…

Gun ownership and school shootings

Author: Lacey N. Wallace, PhD

Article Topics: gun violence, school shootings, red flag laws, Extreme Risk Protection Orders, mental illness, threat assessment teams, gun ownership, gun suicide, gun homicide, stigma Due to widespread news coverage, many of us can list the locations of school shootings as quickly as we can count off items on our weekly grocery list: Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and now Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Although no action we take can bring back those lost in these acts of violence, there are lessons we can take away from each shooting that may help us better understand the context of gun violence and how future school shootings may be prevented. A critical challenge is separating fact from myth…

Collision of two public health crises

Author: Paddy Ssentongo

Article Topics: Pennsylvania, gun violence, public health The big picture Pennsylvania saw a 38% increase in the rate of gun violence during the first year of the COVID-19 Pandemic compared to the pre-pandemic period. This rate was higher than that of the national average — the rate increased by 30% in the entire United States (US). This observation is based on the recent peer-reviewed study that enabled us to assess the rates of gun violence before the COVID-19 pandemic and compare them with the rates during the first year of the pandemic. For example, March 2020 was Philadelphia's worst March for gun violence in 5 years. Although the factors…