Tennessee will be reeling from the deadly shooting at a Christian school in Nashville for quite some time. That kind of atrocity doesn’t just fade into the background overnight, nor should it.
Unfortunately, part of the conversation that probably should be focused on healing is instead coopted by discussing guns.
In fact, it’s so much so that The Guardian thinks it’s newsworthy when the governor of that state doesn’t mention them.
The Republican governor of Tennessee called for compassion and an end to mass violence but pointedly declined to mention guns or gun control in a message to his state after three nine-year-old children and three adults were shot dead at a Christian school in Nashville.
“I understand there is pain,” Bill Lee said in a short, pre-recorded video. “I understand the desperation to have answers, to place blame, to argue about a solution that could prevent this horrible tragedy.”
There will “come a time to ask how a person could do this”, Lee said. “There will come a time to discuss and debate policy. But this is not a time for hate or rage. That will not resolve or heal.”
In 2019, Lee signed a school-safety bill encouraging school districts to develop threat-assessment teams. Scalise also called for stronger school safety measures in his press conference on Tuesday.
But in his videomessage, Lee mostly avoided matters of public policy.
“There will be a time to talk about the legislation and budget proposals we’ve brought forward this year,” he said. “And clearly there’s more work to do. But on this day after the tragedy, I want to speak to that which rises above all else. The battle is not against flesh and blood, it’s not against people. The struggle is against evil itself.”
My thing here is, why is this newsworthy at all?
Lee isn’t saying there will be no debate or that there should be no debate. He’s saying right now isn’t the time, and he’s not wrong.
For one thing, we’re still trying to learn just what happened. We’re trying to understand why someone would do this and exactly what “this” really and truly was.
Unfortunately, calm, reasoned discourse rarely makes good headlines.
The Guardian wanted Lee to talk about guns because that would make their job easier. Since he didn’t, they decided that needed to be the story.
It’s also a prime example of how media bias actually works. There was no reason to interject guns into the report over Lee’s comments, but they did. Part of it was for clicks, of course, because that’s what drives the advertising dollars in this day and age, but another part was that the folks who work there want to see gun control in every part of this country.
So, they try to gin up controversy because Lee decided now was not the time to discuss guns in the first place.
They know that if people calm down a bit, they won’t support gun control. They’ve seen how public opinion shifts after events like this, so they know they need to talk guns now, and Lee is denying them the opportunity to some degree, so they threw it in where it didn’t belong.
Lee’s right to focus on healing and understanding right now. Frankly, considering some of the hostility I’ve seen, the American left should welcome that right about now–some people are blaming the left and the LGBT community for enabling this kind of thing, after all, and calming down is a win for everyone.