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June 12, 2013

The Santa Monica School Rampage: Post-Newtown, Been There, Done That?

Santa Monica, Friday

Sandy Hook Elementary, December 14, 2012

In our BagNews Originals post on the memorial service in Newtown (photos by Alan Chin), we dared question whether those images might soon become “just more of the same.” At the time, of course, the massacre seemed like a tipping point. The widespread belief was that a line had been crossed and that things would be different after Sandy Hook Elementary – as far as school safety, and particularly, gun control was concerned.

With law makers, the President and the political media having moved on after a token legislative gesture, however, the media treatment of the shooting on Friday at Santa Monica College was mostly noteworthy for its mundanity. (As a reflection of the nonchalance, the LA Times ran a story about how the shooting inconveniently forced the rerouting of Obama’s motorcade having just departed a nearby fundraiser.) That the event passed by so quickly and quietly, hardly rising above a local story, seems like a textbook example of cultural ADD. Is it really possible, though, that the net effect of the attack in Connecticut is to elicit a sense of “been there, done that?” Is it possible Newtown really didn’t catalyze anything but, instead, drew that level of shock merely for its scale (combined with the fact it happened in a well-off white community)?

If it was four month earlier, I imagine this scene of children being led to safety at Santa Monica College (the kids on a field trip to a planetarium show), would have had people jumping out of their skin. At this point though, in spite of the fact that the shooter displayed previous warning signs, was a equipped with an arsenal, and warmed up for the visit to campus by torching a home with his father and brother in it, then opened fire on citizens while driving down the boulevard, are we to take more from these images than just redundancy?

(photo 1:  Reed Saxon/AP. caption: A Santa Monica police officer leads children on a field trip from Citizens of the World Charter School in Los Angeles out of Santa Monica College, where they had gone for a planetarium show, following a shooting in the area, in Santa Monica, Calif., Friday, June 7, 2013. Two people were found dead Friday in a burned home near the campus, where someone sprayed a street corner with gunfire. photo 2: Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks/AP caption: Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday. – See more at The Bag.)

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