The legacy media have a preset narrative machine when it comes to mass shootings. That narrative machine takes into account the identities of the shooter and the victims, and then churns out an explanation for the shooting. White shooter, black victims: systemic racism. Black shooter, white victims: alienation caused by systemic racism. Muslim shooter, gay victims: Christian homophobia.
On Monday, a self-identified 28-year-old trans man shot up a Christian school in Nashville, killing three children and three adults. The shooter left a manifesto, which police said reeked of “resentment.” And so this week, we are learning what pops up in the narrative machine when the inputs are “trans man” and “Christian schoolchildren.”
And here’s what pops up: America is systemically cruel to trans people, who apparently cannot be blamed for losing control and targeting small children at Christian schools. A hate crime by a trans-identifying person against a religious group is immediately transmuted into a generalized societal crime against the mass shooter herself. Thus, NBC contributor Benjamin Ryan tweeted, “NBC has ID’d the Nashville school shooter… Nashville is home to the Daily Wire, a hub of anti-trans activity by @MattWalshBlog, @BenShapiro and @MichaelJKnowles.” Newsweek tweeted a story titled, “Tennessee Republicans’ ban on drag shows criticized after mass shooting.” ABC News correspondent Terry Moran stated that the shooter “identified herself as a transgender person. The State of Tennessee earlier this month passed and the governor signed a bill that banned transgender medical care for minors…”
In the perverse world of Leftist victimology, this makes sense: If you are a member of a supposedly victimized group, you cannot be the victimizer; there must be another victimizer who has victimized you, turning you back into a victim.
But if we truly wish to prevent future acts of violence by unhinged lunatics, we ought to utilize a lens other than the lie of victimhood. Instead, we ought to consider the possibility that it is dangerous to promote the idea that mentally ill people ought to be celebrated as political groundbreakers by the legacy media for their symptoms, and simultaneously told that their suicidal ideations are caused by the intolerance of a broader society. According to a recent 2022 study, “Transgender and gender-diverse youth emerge as the group at the highest risk of support for violent radicalization.” Teaching trans-identifying people that their suffering is caused by a cruelly religious and patriarchal world, explaining that these forces put their very lives in danger — that, indeed, they are victims of a potential “genocide” — creates an incredibly dangerous ideological predicate for violent action.
But the legacy media, by and large, support that narrative. To admit the obvious — that men cannot be women and vice versa; that believing you were born “in the wrong body” is a mental disorder, not a weapon to be used in tearing down an unjust society; that high rates of depression and suicidal ideation among those who identify as transgender is not caused predominantly by societal intolerance but by the disorder itself — undermines the new civil rights crusade the Left has built, directed against traditional roles and institutions.
And so the new narrative must be maintained. A woman who shot to death six people including three children in cold blood must be recast as a victim of society. We must respect “his” pronouns even as we report “his” murders. We must blame those who truly cause pain in the world: those who disagree with the thought leaders in our legacy media, who know better than all the common sense, biology and tradition in the world.
Ben Shapiro, 39, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and co-founder of Daily Wire+. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling author; his latest book is The Authoritarian Moment: How The Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent. To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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