Media should be more helpful in combating gun violence

Media should be more helpful in combating gun violence

Aubrey Keane

In 2022, there were a reported 647 mass shootings in the U.S. alone. According to the American Journal of Public Health, a mass shooting is defined by a shooting in which 4 or more people are injured or killed. Gun violence caused over 44,000 deaths in our country last year. 

Yet, it seems like only a small percentage of these shootings are reported on the news. 

It’s no surprise that with a lack of gun control, the U.S. leads the world in the number of mass shootings annually. However, reviewing the long list of mass shootings which occurred here in 2022, I knew about very few of them. 

Most of us have heard about the tragic shootings at Highland Park, Illinois on July 4, Club Q in Colorado on November 19, and of course, the Uvalde, Texas shooting in an elementary school on May 24. 

The publication of these stories by national news outlets is extremely important, not only to raise awareness of the sheer amount of gun violence that takes place in our country, but to also acknowledge the victims who are murdered while just living their everyday lives. 

“I don’t think the public knows much about people whose lives have been disrupted in so many ways by their injuries, and who need all our support to recover.”

— Elinore Kaufman, MD


In a study published in the journal Preventive Medicine, researchers in 2017 monitored the media in three different cities: Rochester, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati. Out of the 1,801 victims of shootings that took place in these cities, only about 900 of them were covered in the news.

Gun violence tears families and communities apart everyday in this nation. Parents have to worry about losing their children at school. Many citizens fear going to work or running errands because of the number of shootings that happen in neighborhoods like theirs. 

When the media does talk about shootings, they often leave parts out. What many news outlets fail to recognize is that while deaths due to mass shootings take an enormous toll on families and communities, those who survive and their friends and family are in need of support and assistance. 

Elinore Kaufman, MD, an assistant professor of surgery in Traumatology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, told Penn Medicine, “A vast majority of the victims of gun violence survive, but I don’t think the public knows much about people whose lives have been disrupted in so many ways by their injuries, and who need all our support to recover.”

Corina Camacho and Micheal Martinez, the parents of a 10-year-old boy who survived the Uvalde shooting, told CNN that, when trying to send their son back to school, he freaks out and has panic attacks after witnessing his best friend being shot right next to him in his classroom. “I just miss him dancing around, picking on his little brother… He does still sing, but it’s different.” 

According to World Population Review, in 2017 there were approximately 393 million firearms owned by the general public in the U.S., and of those, only 6.06 million of them are registered. That statistic means that there are currently more guns in this country than people. With such a small number of these lethal weapons actually being registered, you can’t be surprised by the ever-growing number of mass shootings. 

President Biden passed a bipartisan gun safety bill in June of last year, although the bill seemed to fall short of what gun-safety advocates hoped for. While many outdated laws have been reformed and new ones have been added, you can’t help but wonder if these laws are actually effective. 

A nationwide debate of gun control has been overshadowing the nation for years, many wanting to defend their “second amendment rights.” However, until a compromise is made and gun violence decreases, these victims (both living and dead) need to be remembered. Many will not be if we don’t publicize these tragedies more consistently. People are dying everyday from gun violence, and yet we hear so little about it. 

Gun violence will not stop unless our government and our people feel as though it is an important issue to prevent. Increasing media coverage on these tragic events will help reinforce the urgency of this issue. 

Until we as a nation can find it within ourselves to look past these disagreements, every story needs to be told, and everybody needs to hear them. 

Below is a link to the Insider’s full list of mass shootings in the U.S. in 2022.