New Orleans Shooting Shows Our National Hypocrisy On Gun Violence


A tragedy materialized in New Orleans during a neighborhood Mother's Day parade. A gunman opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd, and injured 19 folks, including two children. In the midst of the debate on gun violence and tragedies such as the Boston Marathon that sparked more fear of terrorism, FBI investigators ended their investigation claiming it was street violence. Their evidence? New Orleans has one of the highest violent crime rates in the United States. While this is certainly not a competition on which tragedy was worse, what is apparent is how classist the Mother's Day shooting investigation and coverage was.

According to the Guardian, "The neighbourhood where the shooting happened was a mix of low-income and middle-class houses, some boarded up. As of last year, the neighbourhood's population was about 60% of its level before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005." USA Today, the Guardian, and Fox News reported on the Mother's Day shooting but made sure to include the the high rate of crime and poverty in the city.

According to the New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, this is the third holiday event in which gunmen have shot into a crowd this year. Essentially, in a city with a large number of people of color and high crime rates, terrorism is not percieved as possible. In this case, it is simply black gang members causing violence again.

Is the United States media concerned about gun violence or are they more concerned about "national" security? In the high profile tragedies such as Sandy Hook and the Boston Marathon, terrorism was a huge possibility. In these cases, race seemed to have a lot to do with how the public perceived the tragedy. When the perpetrator was of Middle-Eastern descent, it was terrorism. When the perpetrator was white, first it was an issue of terrorism and then it swiftly became an issue of mental health. In the Mother's Day shooting, the perpetrator was a black man. Racism is a tool for classism and the minimal coverage of the shooting is a great example of that.

In other words, the Mother's Day shooting in New Orleans did not receive as much coverage from news media because of the United States' contradictory views on gun violence. Gun violence is only an issue to the national mainstream media when it makes middle-to-upper class white communities uncomfortable. This is why the minimal coverage of the Mother's Day shooting in New Orleans is a class issue that is consistently perpetuated in the mainstream media.