Archive for April, 2007

massacres | culture

I don’t think I have anything cogent to say about yesterday’s shootings at Virginia Tech yet.

But something about the reporting of the massacre was bothering me, so I started browsing the innerweb to see whether my suspicisions were correct. And the way the innerwebs work, I bumped into some other ideas along the way.

A. Most massacres are named after the place where they occured.

B. If a mass murderer’s ethnicity is white, the press doesn’t mention ethnicity. But if the mass murderer is non-white, his ethnicty, and the ethnicity of his non-white victims, are included in the media report.

C. Mass murderers are almost never female.

D. Every massacre is rated as the “worst since…” or is ranked as the “second worst” and so on.

E. Both sides of the gun-control argument use gun-based massacres to try to make their points.


A. The only mass murder I can think of that’s not place-named is the terrorist attacks of September 11. I don’t know if that’s because there were multiple locations or whether the emergency number “911″ was so easy to say.

B. Of course the ethnicity of the September 11 murderers was a major part of the news story, so I am not saying that our news media are somehow racist by including that as part of the story. And I’m not implying that there’s something wrong with a news report that read “Dylan Kliebold, a white student from Columbine High School…”. But you may have noticed a white bias in our culture. The way we talk about criminals just shows the way we think. We tend to notice when someone doesn’t look like us. If I get in a hit by a car as I bike home tonight, you won’t ask me the driver’s ethnicity. But, if I get run down and seriously injured by someone who doesn’t have the same skin color as me, the report in the news (I’m so vain to think my injury is newsworthy, aren’t I? ha ha) will most likely mention the driver’s ethnicity.

C. I can’t think of a single mass murderer who was female. I know there were women serial killers, but I think they did all their killings one-at-a-time.

D. Perhaps it is something they teach in journalism, you know, being thorough about your reporting and all, but sometimes I find it annoying to have these kinds of news events rated against each other.

E. Lastly, you may already know where I stand on gun control, but I won’t bring it up now; the timing’s wrong, if you ask me.

My Google Bike Map

My Google Bike Map

For now, you have to view the map on the google site directly, but soon I’ll embed the map into this bike blog. How cool is that?

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