framing a shooting incident

I already posed the question of how the University of Texas shooting incident was “framed” by journalists, in a number of cases by linking it to the 1966 Texas Tower shooting by Charles Whitman.  This helps create a narrative of school violence.  Another campus case of a tragic suicide occured not long before at Rutgers, in which a student jumped off the George Washington Bridge.

The Sept. 22 death, details of which the authorities disclosed on Wednesday, was the latest by a young American that followed the online posting of hurtful material. The news came on the same day that Rutgers kicked off a two-year, campuswide project to teach the importance of civility, with special attention to the use and abuse of new technology.

Thus, could the Texas case have been better characterized and examined as another suicide case, in which the tool of choice happened to be an AK-47?  That would have given rise to a different set of questions and concerns as the two cases joined together with a different narrative and prognosis.  There’s more than one way to frame a story, but the choices do matter in terms of the policy discourse that emerges as a result.  This latter incident intersects with two other issues of interest in the class:  coverage of sexual orientation and the role of technology in revealing private lives.

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