Society should drive Media, not the other way around…

By Sam Deal, Opinion Editor

We must demand more. For every victim in Roseburg, Oregon, we must demand more. For the 11-month-old infant who was shot along with his mother and grandmother on Chicago’s south side, we must demand more. For the 23-year-old father gunned down in a Target parking lot on Sept. 30 in Kent, Washington, we must demand more.

What happened at Umpqua Community College was a tragedy and has reignited the gun control debate, which continues to spin a mind-numbing, overly-partisan cycle.

Mass shootings are happening at a rate in the United States far outnumbering other similarly developed nations with 51 incidents involving four or more people being shot to death since 1997.

Gun control restrictions have been consistently stalled. Even President Obama’s address following the Roseburg shooting fell on numb ears as he predictably demanded stricter federal laws, laying the way for a media storm filled with pundit debates that can best be described as cable news reruns of Sandy Hook.

Not that the President was wrong, but the “mass shooting means we need more restrictions” argument is never going to gain traction. That time has passed.

And, as tragic as school shootings are, they are not the heart of gun violence. Not by a long shot.

Gun violence has riddled the United States in a way that is not seen in other developed

nations. Gun deaths are occurring at an alarming rate, to the tune of about 89 every single day.

Have we become so accustomed to death via guns that those lives don’t matter as much? Or is it just that we don’t want to admit we live in a culture that doesn’t care about gun violence that regularly occurs in impoverished, mostly-minority neighborhoods? Or that our justice, education and public health systems have failed so miserably at aiding those afflicted with mental illness?

As college students, we have taken the the leap to educate ourselves. We have invested the time in bettering ourselves, which in turn betters our society. Unfortunately the gun debate has evaporated faster than ever, with past failures for change discouraging those who know that gun violence in the country must become a priority.

Even with dispirited attitudes we have a vehicle to manifest change, not just gun violence, but any topic. Social media and citizen journalism now play a role in our society that has never before been seen. The ease of nationwide communication and coordination is our power — our voice.

With this outlet we can demand more not just of politicians, but of the media. We can demand accurate and diverse news by seeking it out on our own. Big money journalism has turned into rating-driven, childish yelling matches that incite anger and fail to inform. We have a chance to show that this generation won’t stand for that.

Society should drive media, not the other way around.

We must demand that for every single person shot at Umpqua Community College. We must demand that for the more than 100,000 people shot in this country every year. But most importantly, we must demand that for ourselves.