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Cycles of Satire: Addressing Mass Shootings

Nandin Ganjoloo, Opinion Columnist

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Following the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting on Oct. 27, 2018, I read the “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens” headline on the satirical news outlet The Onion. I thought it had a good point and humor is always a plus for me, so I followed The Onion on social media to continue reading their content.

I mentioned the article to my friend soon after. They told me that The Onion reposts the same article with different details every time there is a mass shooting in the US. It seemed like an interesting concept, but I hadn’t heard about it before and didn’t give much thought to their clever project.

The morning of Nov. 7, 2018, I wake up and check my phone. Lying there in my snug Jewett couch bed, I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to see:

“‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”

It took me a second to understand or even believe the headline. Two weeks hadn’t even passed. And yet, there it was in front of me. On my phone screen. With thousands of ‘sad’ reaction emojis to validate the news.

I didn’t know where, when, how or how many, but I knew what had happened. Before I found out that thirteen people had been killed in a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, I saw The Onion article first. Both the shooting and the fact that this headline has become “a thing” saddened me deeply. But I got curious, and looked further into The Onion’s project. My findings were truly saddening.

“‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens” articles started with the 2014 Isla Vista massacre. It’s been four years and the headline has already been published a total of 11 times.

We’re living in a time when moments of defeat have become a daily part of our lives. It is important to remember those events and the losses the world has suffered, but it is also important to hold on to the victories.

Remember the midterms? It was a historic election! The first Muslim, Native American and the youngest woman in Congress, the first openly gay governor, the first openly bisexual senator, the first female senator from Tennessee, the first hispanic congresswoman from Texas, the first female governor of South Dakota, Maine and Guam, the first black congresswomen from Connecticut and Massachusetts, and so on.

Remember the Board of Trustees visit? For six years, Divest Whitman had urged the administration to divest. On Nov. 9, 2018, the board unanimously voted for full divestment. Student voices were heard for a change! Seeing the celebratory hugs and excitement gave me and probably many of us hope. Hope that change really can happen. Hope that we won’t be seeing that same Onion article anymore. Hope that the number of victories grow larger than the moments of defeat.

Carry this feeling of hope and let that drive you through the tough times the future holds.


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Cycles of Satire: Addressing Mass Shootings