I was running with a friend on Friday morning and we were discussing the shootings. I was lamenting the coming onslaught from the talking heads as they all race to say something profound and meaningful first.
Instead, I ran in to this post from James Fallows. He has been a journalist (the real kind) for a long time and his experience writing about these types of events (and world events in general) shows:
In the saturation coverage right after the events, the “expert” talking heads are compelled to offer theories about the causes and consequences. In the following days and weeks, newspapers and magazine will have their theories too. Looking back, we can see that all such efforts are futile. The shootings never mean anything. Forty years later, what did the Charles Whitman massacre “mean”? A decade later, do we “know” anything about Columbine? There is chaos and evil in life. Some people go crazy. In America, they do so with guns; in many countries, with knives; in Japan, sometimes poison.
We know the emptiness of these events in retrospect, though we suppress that knowledge when the violence erupts as it is doing now. The cable-news platoons tonight are offering all their theories and thought-drops. They’ve got to fill time. I wish they could stop. As the Vietnam-era saying went, Don’t mean nothing.