Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Shooting Breaks Out, But National Coverage Is Slow To Follow

Imagine being at a parade on Mother's Day in your neighborhood enjoying yourself. People are dancing and singing and just having a good time. Now imagine a shooting breaks out and people in your vicinity are shot and wounded. Sounds like a pretty frightful experience. This scenario needs no imagination for it's exactly what happened at a second line celebration in New Orleans last weekend.

Violence has been a problem in New Orleans for a few years now since the rebuilding effort after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Still, it's disheartening to hear 19 people wounded in a shooting when their only crime was enjoying a parade on Mother's Day of all days. Perhaps even more troubling however, is the lack of national media attention this shooting received.

I remember seeing the word 'New Orleans' trending on Twitter that following Sunday evening, and CNN did mention the shooting in their nightly newscast, but within a couple of days it seemed to blow over. At a time when guns and gun ownership is a hotly debated topic in our nation, you would think a shooting at such a public event would warrant more attention. But it didn't. Sadly, this lack of attention about the causes and circumstances behind these crimes has too often been missing in dealing with communities of color.

On December 14, 2012 the United States experienced one of the most horrific gun tragedies in our history when 26 people were killed during a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. This event lead to a lot of grieving, soul searching and questions about the safety of our children in schools across America. What followed was a speech by President Obama later that month in Newtown, as well as public pressure on legislators to enact stiffer gun laws.

As horrific a tragedy as Newtown was, I wonder where was this concern and outrage when 50 people were shot in one weekend in Chicago during the summer of 2012? Much like the shooting in New Orleans, the national coverage was brief and it seemed that everyone just moved on with their lives after a few days. There was no public rebuke of the NRA or national discussion on gun control. Matter of fact, there wasn't much of anything following the shootings. I couldn't help but think when Obama finally did address the issue of gun violence in Chicago last February following the death of Hadiya Pendleton, why didn't he give this speech last summer before Newtown, when it would have been just as pertinent?

That's why I give a lot respect to Melissa Harris-Perry and her panel for discussing the recent shooting in New Orleans and giving this story the in-depth and critical coverage it deserves.You may be surprised at one particularly shocking statistic as well in relation to gun deaths in Louisiana. Check out the videos below.

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