There was a mass shooting in New Orleans on Mother’s Day, and no one is talking about it. In fact, I just found out about it today via one lone posting on Facebook.
19 people were shot, and the national media is not talking about it.
Because it happened in New Orleans. In the black community. And it’s being considered an act of gang violence. Something which, David Dennis notes in a piece for The Guardian, is “irrelevant” in American culture. He says, “The Mother’s Day shooting is so irrelevant that politicians haven’t even bothered to mention it to further their anti-gun agendas.”
On the one hand, I’m so shocked that this story isn’t as big as something like Sandy Hook or Aurora with a comparable amount of victims (Sandy Hook had 26 victims and in Aurora 58 were shot, 12 died), but on the other hand I’m not surprised at all. As Dennis suggests in his Guardian piece, “America can’t identify with being at a parade in the “inner city” where “gang violence” erupts. The “oh my God, that could happen to me” factor isn’t present with a story about New Orleans or the Chicago southside.”
What is even more incredible, though, than the fact that this shooting in New Orleans failed to gain steam in the media is that the men who committed the crime remained at large for several days. (The two suspects, brothers, are both in custody now as of this morning.) Dennis writes, “This is the largest mass shooting in the United States where the shooters were still at large after the crime was committed. Think about that for a minute. From Columbine to Virginia Tech to Fort Hill to Aurora, all the shooters were either killed or apprehended on site. But the person or people responsible for shooting 19 Americans are still free.”
Dennis urges all Americans to see themselves not just in violent stories that affect white (or as he calls it, middle) America, but in every tragic story involving gun violence. “Now take a moment and imagine a Mother’s Day Parade in the suburbs of Denver, a neighborhood in Edina or a plaza in Austin where bullets rain down on civilians and even hit children,” he says. “I can’t help but imagine the around-the-clock news coverage.” And I can’t help but think of the last time America was looking for two brothers who committed a terrible crime, just a few weeks ago in Boston. That story was all over the 24-hour news channels until the suspects were apprehended, and it was the only thing anyone could talk about on social media and in person.
Listen to this story of one of the 10-year-old victims of this shooting in New Orleans: Ka’Nard Allen’s “father was stabbed to death in October. [His] five-year-old cousin was shot to death at Ka’Nard’s birthday party last May (Ka’Nard was also shot in the neck that day).” Furthermore, “He was also grazed with a bullet in his cheek at the Mother’s Day parade.”
So that’s a little boy, who by the age of 10 has been shot twice. Are you with me so far?
Dennis writes, “No matter what part of the country Ka’Nard is from, his story should linger in your heart. But it hasn’t because you haven’t heard of him, and you’ve barely heard anything about what should be considered a national tragedy.”
This isn’t just about the media ignoring shootings in black neighborhoods across the country. This is about America turning a blind eye to crime in black neighborhoods across the country. We have got to do better, all of us. And soon, before more people are shot.
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