On “Special Report with Bret Baier” Wednesday, Washington Free Beacon editor in chief Matthew Continetti talked about how Americans prepare for and respond to shootings differently than they used to.
Continetti remarked that the shooter who killed 17 at a Florida school Wednesday was born a few months before the Columbine shooting, which started a “historical epoch of the school shooting as being a major media event.” He noted that while some Florida students seemed shellshocked, others described the event in a different way because they were used to procedures regarding school shootings.
“You see all the preparation that goes into not only the authorities, but I think almost the students—the way they were describing their experience,” Continetti said. “Some were clearly emotionally rattled. Others, though, were describing it because they are kind of used to the procedures. It’s become kind of a way of life, which I don’t think anyone counted on when Columbine happened.”
He also said social media has changed how we experience these events. While cable news existed during the Columbine shooting, social media allows quicker distribution of information, sometimes even from students.
“When Columbine happened, we had cable news, we had 24-hour coverage. Now we have real-time accounts from the students themselves,” he said. “On the one hand, that gives us a perspective about what’s happening. On the other, however, it means sometimes misinformation and rumor can get involved as well. We are living in this era but there have been new changes, I think, that make it all the more visceral to us.”