A Gunman's Mental Health Status Cannot Be Discussed When It Runs Counter to Media Narratives

A Gunman's Mental Health Status Cannot Be Discussed When It Runs Counter to Media Narratives
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

When the press finds itself confronted with inconvenient facts about a shooter, its seriousness on truth-telling varies.

A recent example of gun violence has very telling aspects about it that are troubling. The location was a place of business, and the victims were intentionally selected as targets based on race. Those familiar with the shooter attest to him having made declarations about his animus towards his potential victims, with delusions that the members of an ethnic group were a growing problem for his existence. This hatred may have inspired him to commit a number of shootings.

Now, that last sentence might have given you pause. The shooter at the Tops grocery in Buffalo is only known to have committed that one shooting; what gives?! Well, what I described – though identical in nature – were not the particulars of Payton Gendron’s massacre. Instead, I gave you the details concerning a spate of shootings in the Dallas area targeting businesses operated by Asian-Americans.

Jeremy Smith was taken into custody following his arriving at a local beauty salon in the city’s Koreatown region, opening fire on the employees and clientele, which injured three. His vehicle and description are closely affiliated with two other such incidents targeting Asian businesses with Asian victims. Funny enough – we do not see the press seeking the services of a chiropractor after their desire to twist and spin this story, as they have been in Buffalo.

The primary reason is that Jeremy Smith is an African American, and as such, he cannot possibly serve as a face for the media’s preferred narratives. Therefore, there is no desire to use him as a poster figure for gun control. Not only can’t he be held up as an example of racial intolerance and hatred, but they can’t point to him as a victim of Republican indoctrination. As a result, Smith’s actions are reported as the result of mental illness, but this leads us to a very interesting dynamic coming into play.

Gendron’s motivation is being staunchly fought as not being the result of mental illness. We are told, by a bevy of experts, that racism is a choice, it is not something deriving from a mental impairment. 

Of course, these experts need to first elect/pretend to ignore that the shooter was previously under mental health evaluations last year. This is later backed up by schoolmates who repeatedly noted very odd behavior from the soon-to-be shooter. He had been taken in for making threatening remarks about violence. This was not a stable individual by any measure, yet when Tucker Carlson – the very target of blame by the media – dared give voice to this reasoning, of course it was scoffed away. 

Now, I think we need some clarity on these two episodes. With the sole exception of the race of the individual involved, we have practically mirror-image behavior patterns. Two disturbed individuals acted violently due to imbalanced views on race, after alerting a number of people of their tendencies. But for reasons that seem to be rooted in the desired storyline in the press, one case sees the press blithely alluding to there being a mental disorder, while in the other with a pre-written agenda script, any discussion of mental impairment is forbidden.

The very same press that attempts to frame things in a serious discussion cannot approach things seriously on the facts and the realities, as they behave like the arbiters of the truth and social decency. Reacting to a pair of concurrent stories in completely different ways is the opposite of serious journalism. 

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