Racial reactions to gun violence


When a mass shooting takes place, shooters are labelled differently by the media, depending on their race. (Image: THE STRANGER)

By Moses Jeuronlon

Shooting is something that happens frequently in the United States of America, and it is not a pleasant thing. People die from the shootings. Some lose their families and loved ones; some get critically injured and are disabled for life.

In all the shootings, there is something that many people fail to notice and that is the public reaction to the race of the shooter.

Shootouts happen for many different reasons. Sometimes it happens when a teenager shoots up his school or someone attacks an organization, or there is a fight between gangs or even a shootout between gang members and the police.

When a white American citizen is the suspect of the shooting, the media usually says the person was “mentally unstable”, but when the suspect happens to be from the Middle East, the media will say it was an act of terrorism. According to Vanshkumar Patel, a senior at Patterson High School, “It’s not fair to the majority of middle eastern people to be call terrorists because of one person’s action.”

However, society can’t help but always suspect that gun violence is an act of terrorism. And it is understandable based on past experience, “because of the events that happened on 9/11”, said Patel.

People remember things, especially the bad ones, so when they see the suspect is Middle Eastern, they can’t help but be paranoid and start rumors. And when everybody hears the rumors, panic will be everywhere.

There are also racist assumptions made when a shooter is black or hispanic. Instead of being seen as a misguided person who needs help, people assume that the shooter has always been a violent thug or criminal.

Gun violence is tragic no matter who pulled the trigger. Next time we hear about a shooting, instead of asking about the race of the shooter, we should instead be asking what we can do to prevent more gun violence in the future.

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