Wednesday 5 July 2023

Baltimore mayor laments attention given to rural, 'white suburban' communities after block party mass shooting

 Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott (D) suggested Monday that race plays a role in the level of media coverage that mass shootings receive.

Two people were killed and 28 others were injured in a shooting at a block party in Baltimore early Sunday morning. Multiple weapons were recovered at the scene, and police believe there were at least two shooters. Law enforcement officers have not arrested anyone, and they don't yet know what the motive is for the shooting. 

The lack of details did not stop Scott, however, from observing what he believes is a racial disparity in attention that shootings receive.

"My community knows this: We know that when you think about this country in the history of mass shootings, most of the time when we talk about this, we're talking about it being a school in a rural community or a suburban white community. And when it happens in Baltimore or Chicago, or D.C., it doesn't get that same attention," Scott asserted in an interview on CNN. 

"These black American lives, children's lives matter just as anyone else. We're just asking for all of them to be treated the same," he continued.

It's not exactly clear, however, where the disparity is for this tragic incident in particular.  

In fact, every major news outlet — NBCABCCBSCNNFox Newsthe New York Timesthe Washington Postthe Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press — has covered the story.

Perhaps Scott was referring to the fact that the shooting is not receiving wall-to-wall coverage in the media like other mass shootings. There is a reasonable explanation for that — and it's not because the victims are black.

Though police have not yet determined a motive, the fact that it occurred at a block party in which at least 200 people were in attendance, many of them teenagers and young adults, and the fact that there were multiple shooters and multiple firearms recovered suggests the shooting started as a dispute. This is typical of gun violence in major cities like Baltimore and Chicago.

Sensationalized mass killings, on the other hand, receive the attention they do because they often involve a killer who targets people at random in populated areas: schools, malls, grocery stores, and theaters. It's not because the victims are white or because they occur in rural areas, which is not always or even most often the case.

All murder is tragic and senseless. Gun violence is a problem. But the evidence does not suggest that this incident is receiving less attention because it occurred in a black working-class neighborhood and resulted in black victims.

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