Before being replaced on the front pages of newspapers by Hurricane Idalia, the fatal shooting of three Black residents of Jacksonville, Florida, by a 21-year-old white supremacist dominated the news cycle for days – and for good reason. Although the death toll was not as high as large-scale shootings that have shocked us this year, the apparent hate motivation made it particularly newsworthy given the political climate.
The blanket coverage included surveillance video of the gunman aiming his “AR-style” rifle at defenseless victims outside and inside the Dollar General store. As is customary, viewers were warned of the disturbing nature of the images.
I watched the clips and was indeed disturbed, but not in the sense that underscored the alert. The video did not show any of the victims, much less how they were killed. What I found disturbing was the representation of the assailant as a powerful individual armed with a deadly weapon, a hero for like-minded hatemongers.