April 18, 2007
Down the Memory Hole...
If you've been reading the papers and you have spotty knowledge of history, you might be forgiven for thinking that the shootings this week were the "worst mass murder in U.S. history." If you're a journalist with a lot on your plate, you may have forgotten the mass murder of September 11, 2001, which left over 3,000 dead. Then again, that was nearly six years ago & all.
The Savannah Morning News is pushing the "worst mass murder" line:
Little is known about the shooter who killed 31 people and apparently wounded another 29 in the worst mass murder in U.S. history.
The San Jose Mercury News is selling the same story:
When I awoke the next morning, the name of the perpetrator of the nation's worst mass murder was all over the news, and I had another reaction: Oh, no. He's Asian.
...the father, also named Juan Ramon Ortiz, learned hours later that his son was one of the 32 people gunned down in the worst mass murder in US history.
Seemingly within minutes of Cho Seung-Hui killing himself and bringing the worst mass murder in U.S. history to an end, Virginia Tech president Charles Steger and Police Chief Wendell Flinchum came under a barrage of criticism for not locking down the campus after the first double murder two hours before the main shooting spree began.
Andrew Williams of West Windsor walked out of the building at Virginia Tech minutes before the killer showed up and started shooting, committing the worst mass murder in U.S. history.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog is closer to the mark, but not by much:
Virginia Tech's students are in horrific shock after the second-worst mass murder in American history. No doubt CNN has a wide range of highly respected authorities to call upon, people could lend some perspective, wisdom and the appropriate solemnity to the day's news.
Truth is, the Virginia Tech shooting rampage, while tragic, was not "the worst mass murder in U.S. history." It wasn't the "second worst mass murder in U.S. history," or even the third, or the fourth.
The 9/11 attacks (2,998 deaths), the Oklahoma City bombing (168 deaths), the HappyLand arson (87 deaths) and the Bath, Michigan bombing (45 deaths) all claimed more victims than the Virginia Tech shootings (32 deaths).
But, as Vinnie noted yesterday, those events don't fit neatly into the anti-gun political agenda, so they need to go down the memory hole, thereby leaving the Virginia Tech shootings as "the worst mass murder in U.S. history," with Charles Whitman's shooting rampage taking a close second.
Cross-posted to TheArsenal.