What are the media teaching us about school shootings?
As a journalist who worked on a weekly newspaper in Columbine during the shooting in 1999 and covered every aspect of it for the immediate community for a year, I notice some aspects unique to the latest shooting at the STEM school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado on May 7, 2019.
Here are a couple of my observations, and some questions, to make us think and help us to stop more school shootings like this one.
Stated plainly, narratives of the Left and the mainstream media, which are not necessarily true, may have contributed to the shooting. In other words, memes appear to have been picked up by the shooters and drove them to attack.
Look at the perpetrators and their thinking, and consider whether the narratives they were laboring under were true or false.
One shooter, a senior at the school and over eighteen, said he was motivated in part by his hatred of "Christians who hate gays." So it seems that the narrative that drove him is that Christians hate gays. We all hear that a lot these days, especially from gay activists, but is it true?
Well, many Christians disagree in private with the homosexual lifestyle — not all Christians think alike — because their religion teaches that it is sinful. However, Christianity also teaches that followers of Jesus are to love those involved in sin, not hate them. Why? Because they themselves are sinners.
Some Christians have been hateful to gays over the centuries — there are bad apples in every barrel — but so have secular people and people of other religions, especially Muslims. The majority of Christians do not actively hate and persecute gay people. Conclusion: This is a false narrative, and the shooter seems to have been driven by it.
The second shooter was a child, a sixteen-year-old girl, whom we are asked to take as transgender. Why? Because she said she wanted to be referred to as "he" in court proceedings. An important narrative to this child seems to have been that she could be any sex she wanted to be.
Is this true? Not objectively.
According to Dale O'Leary, writing for Univorm, "[t]he transgendered and their supporters claim that people are merely assigned a sex at birth, their gender identity (how they feel) may or may not match their assigned sex. The goal is to force everyone to accept that gender identity should take precedence over the biological reality of sexual identity and men who claim to be women should be treated as though they were women."
Was this child damaged by the false narrative that O'Leary says is being forced on everyone?
Reports after the shooting indicated that the child was living in a family situation where there was domestic abuse. One can imagine a child who is confused and in need of help grabbing on to the gender fluidity narrative pushed by the Left and finding an identity that is cool in today's society.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the mainstream media say nothing about these potential contributing narratives. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe it's because media people don't notice them. Could it also be that the mainstream media are part of the monolithic Left, so they're not liable to go there, to expose narratives as false, and to report on damage they do?
So far, mainstream media have focused on guns, along with the politicians, and on possible failings of the Sheriff's Department, instead of thinking outside the box and looking at other factors.
Colorado's Governor Jared Polis hasn't said anything about the driving narratives, either, since the shooting, even though he is gay. He could urge people in the gay community to be careful about their rhetoric. But then, he could have urged the gay community to leave the Colorado baker Jack Phillips alone after the Supreme Court decided for him. Haven't heard from him on that topic, either.
Anyway, you can bet if there were a tie to ideologies on the American right as factors in this shooting, all on the Left would be outraged.
Maybe it's worth it for other non-politicians and citizen-journalists to ask this question: did the Left's false narratives, propagated by the media, that gays are hated and persecuted by Christians, and that biological sex is just one more "choice" to be taught to our young people, contribute to this latest violence in our schools?
C.S. Boddie is partner at Meadowlark Press, LLC. She works out of her home in Littleton, Colorado.