Mass media provide the conduits for propelling the story to the public. Although extremely rare, rampage shootings are closely watched and loom large as examples in the public consciousness of larger social issues, such as school and gun violence. Indeed, the development of the social discourse and problem awareness surrounding the issue of school shootings cannot be seen apart from media processes. Mass media portrayals serve as an integral and inseparable part of the events themselves. People tend to unconsciously rely on the sheer volume of available event information to help them made judgments about event frequency; well-publicized events are incorrectly judged to occur more frequently than events that are not as well-publicized.
The misguided notion that school shooting massacres are likely to occur in many communities across America is an example of how the availability bias can lead to a seemingly media-driven distortion of risk. Gun deaths are indeed common but not mass shooting episodes.
Consider that 30 gun homicides occur every day, equivalent to more than 11, per year. The average number of school rampage shooting deaths is just 6 per year. As one indicator of the disproportionate news coverage accorded to school mass shootings, Slate. However, operating from a public health vantage, we point out that the prominent media play given to shooting massacres may obscure the fact that most gun deaths are suicides and single-victim homicides. The four deadliest school shootings in United States history occurred in distinctly different eras of mass media evolution.
The story of the Texas Tower sniper was conveyed to the public through the traditional channels of network television, radio, and print media. At the time of the Virginia Tech University shooting, the use of social networking sites was an emerging trend but effective applications of social media in emergencies was yet to be developed.
In contrast, by the time of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, social media had expanded to become a dominant force for citizen communications about the event. The proliferation of social media sites has lowered the technological threshold for citizen participation in the digital sphere, thus catapulting many times more participants into the public discourse on current events.
SNSs provide a vast and inclusive platform for immediate, multi-directional communication and social connection. SNS users can convey their own story about the event and share their personal thoughts, feelings and perspectives. This creates a wealth of information and data that can be analyzed to understand the salient themes, reactions, and sentiments related to the event.
Based on the fact that online and SNS technology provides an ideologically neutral context for networking and communications, and a mechanism to instantly spread news reports worldwide, researchers are beginning to explore the role that online and social media play in events such as Sandy Hook. Not all internet and SNS users engage with online and social media the same way or for the same purpose.
Not only is information shared quickly, but social media also brings people together. It allows people to be connected instantly while simultaneously creating, consuming, and controlling the media event. To better understand the conversations happening in online and social media sites and how these conversations travel, researchers have developed new tools and technologies for collecting and analyzing the data generated.
Using these tools, it is possible to sort and analyze the Tweets of interest related to the Newtown shooting. One million of these Tweets originated from a media source, whereas 2 million Tweets originated from non-media sources. The geographic view of these Tweets shows an intense concentration of Tweets from inside Newtown and surrounding Fairfield County, with elevated levels for the entire State of Connecticut. Yet the expansive national and global diffusion of Tweets on this incident highlights that online and social media have the power not only to disseminate information, but also to connect individuals instantly and without physical — or geographical — limitations.
Tweets from December 13, —February 20, While the volume of Tweets related to the Newtown shooting dropped slightly over time, the public renewed social media conversations at times when President Obama made public statements about the event and demanded a call to action. To be expected, these hash tags caused a spike on the day of the event, December 14, When multiple concurrent events vie for attention, each with powerful public health, public safety, and public policy implications, how does a single incident emerge that compels and commands the focus of the American public?
We have described six hallmarks of the Sandy Hook shooting massacre that coalesced into a riveting story and a call for action. The event was random and extreme. Americans identified closely with Newtown. A sitting President made this rampage shooting his personal mission. Powerful psychological reactions spread nationwide.
Social media messaging reverberated throughout the digital sphere, keeping individuals engaged in multi-way conversation. However, a call to action neither guarantees immediate change nor necessarily predicts the direction that change may take. As a tipping point, Newtown has acted as a fulcrum for action.
Yet the leverage for action has been applied in opposite directions by competing factions. The most significant federal legislation brought forward as a direct result of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a bill to require background checks prior to authorizing a gun purchase.
Family members of the Newtown victims were in Washington to actively lobby in favor of this legislation. By June , six months after the shooting, 86 state gun laws had been passed post-Newtown. From a balanced perspective, hopefully, going forward, the momentum of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting will be channeled into an earnest search, and dedicated research, to identify a set of acceptable solutions to diminish the population burden, and the individualized horror, of gun violence in America.
National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Disaster Health v.
Disaster Health. Published online Nov Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Received Oct 29; Accepted Oct The article may be redistributed, reproduced, and reused for non-commercial purposes, provided the original source is properly cited. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Among rampage shooting massacres, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, galvanized public attention. Keywords: school shootings, rampage shootings, shooting massacres, mass shootings, Population Exposure Model, mediatized event, social media, firearm homicides.
Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre: defining features. Open in a separate window. Sandy Hook Rampage Shooting: Rare and Extreme Event Sandy Hook stands out because of the large number of deaths in a single incident; the nihilistic nature of this intentional, premeditated act; and the characteristics of the victims: young, innocent, defenseless children and the heroic teachers and school staff who died shielding them. Pervasive Psychological Impact in Relation to Levels of Exposure School massacres not only kill and injure, they also psychologically traumatize. Proliferation of Social Media Communications The four deadliest school shootings in United States history occurred in distinctly different eras of mass media evolution.
Concluding Discussion When multiple concurrent events vie for attention, each with powerful public health, public safety, and public policy implications, how does a single incident emerge that compels and commands the focus of the American public? Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed.
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We do not need to know that some victim was shot in the face, nor do we need to know that a particular child ran from the school covered in blood, nor do we need to know what part of the body Lanza shot himself. From the Web. There was no indication on why or what his motives were, or why he targeted the sandy hook. Tweets by teenink. First, it was a mass murder. On our site, homework help implies more than simply writing a paper from scratch. Add extra features if your homework needs a special touch.
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