When a gunman opened fire in a Florida high school, the world was rocked once again. In 2018 alone, there have already been 30 mass shooting incidents in the United States, according to ABC News. Eight of these have been in a school, involving injuries or death.
Though it brings up discussions of gun control and safer schools, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is bringing out two other issues: using the tragedy of children to further your news story, and getting outraged because of what you see online.
The First Issue
First, let's talk about using social media to get your personal news story out. When the shooting erupted, students at the Florida high school began tweeting out details, last words, and cries for help. Some Twitter users used this as an opportunity to mock the kids who were tweeting, saying they should be calling 911 instead. One student, identified only as Sarah, snapped back.
"17 people are dead. 17 of my classmates. This is how you f****** respond? How much of a heartless d*** do you have to be to tweet something like this. And [by the way], as we were running for our lives we were calling 911 to the point that they told us not to anymore."
Reporters were also tweeting at students during the shooting to ask if they could use their pictures, tweets, or had any other information regarding the situation. And that's where the first issue lies. While children are running for their lives, tweeting out terrified feelings, reporters were asking for more information. These kids are not news outlets or law enforcement.
Images of the offensive tweets began circulating, calling out specific reporters for their unprofessional behavior.
But here's the thing...did it even happen? Did these reporters actually ask these things? There are three specific cases, and each three has a different answer.