Coronavirus news has swamped even mass shootings

It is a measure of how much the news media in the US has been dominated by the pandemic that a horrific shooting during a 12-hour rampage in Nova Scotia, Canada yesterday that resulted in 18 deaths including the gunman, was relegated to the kind of coverage given to minor stories.

The initial details of this story are a little puzzling. The 52-year old gunman’s profession was described as a ‘denturist’, someone who makes and installs dentures and other oral devices.

Wortman, who is believed to have known several of the victims, appears to have acted in alone, said police. Authorities have not yet determined a motivation for the attacks, but the fact that Wortman had created a replica RCMP vehicle and police uniform suggested his early actions were deliberate.

“The fact that this individual had a uniform and a police car at his disposal certainly speaks to it not being a random act,” said Chris Leather, RCMP chief superintendent.

The fact that he prepared quite extensively for the shooting, equipping himself with a replica of a police car and obtaining a police uniform, would suggest someone who picked his targets randomly for who knows what reason. But the news report suggests that he knew at least some of the victims. Why go to all that trouble if you wanted to kill specific people who would have recognized you anyway and would know that you were not a police officer?


  1. says

    Where the media have covered it, initial reports were the same old same old: “good neighbor”, “quiet guy”, “nobody expected this” because he was a white male. The Guardian buried a key detail at the bottom of their item instead of putting it at the top where it should have been. He had a history of confrontation and hostile behaviour, but nobody did anything because of his “position in the community”.

    Another neighbour told the Toronto Sun that he and Wortman had been friends until they fell out over a piece of property.

    The neighbour, who declined to give his name, said Wortman had burned an old shed that contained some property that belonged to the neighbour but declined to give any further details of the dispute.

    The National Post reports Wortman was possessive and abusive towards his girlfriend. But I have to wonder: if he didn’t “have an obsession with the police” and hadn’t intentionally targeted them, would the media be making excuses for him and rehabilitating his image? Likely, they would.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    I would pay actual money right now to access a news website, or even Bod help me an actual paper newspaper, that gave me all the proper news that was NOT covid19 related. Is anyone offering this service?

  3. jrkrideau says

    It is not particularly surprising that the story in the US media was ” was relegated to the kind of coverage given to minor stories”.

    The US media is very insular at most times, and given the weekly shootings in the USA why would it be more than a minor entry?

    It did get a headline on Sputnik News, a bit to my surprise.

  4. ionopachys says

    From what I’ve read the murderer’s targets were his ex-something and her new boyfriend. He first went to their house, tied them to a tree, and killed them. Some children in the house ran next door and murderer killed the neighbor when he came outside. He set aflame both his and his ex’s houses, and then went on his spree. I would guess that when his ex left him he came up with a plan to kill her and then go out in a blaze of glory.

  5. johnson catman says

    It is just a massive injustice that idiots like this don’t just kill themselves BEFORE going on such a rampage. Selfishness and the misguided thoughts that the world revolves around them and their feelings (ME! ME!! ME!!!) are a problem that is too common (see the “protesters” against the lockdowns). I am very afraid that humans are totally fucked as a species, and I am glad that I probably won’t be around for the eventuality that we (collective “we”) have brought upon ourselves and our planet.

  6. Jenora Feuer says

    Or, as a friend of mine described the U.S. news back in the late 80s when I was at the University of Waterloo:
    “In the news tonight: World War III has broken out! But first, a warehouse fire in North Tonawanda.”
    (Part of the joke being that at the time, fires in the North Tonawanda suburb of Buffalo had been common enough to, sadly, not really be news.)

  7. Rob Grigjanis says

    Jenora Feuer @7: Ah, memories of the 70s, and Channel 7 (Buffalo) Eyewitness News with Irv Weinstein. I think Cheektowaga had lots of fires too.

  8. says

    johnson catman @ 6: “I am very afraid that humans are totally fucked as a species”

    Well, some of us are. I wouldn’t say that about the entire species, though. The problem is that it’s kind of like pesticide: 98% is inert, but that last 2% will kill you. If 20% of the population is unhinged, that’s enough to not only stop the train, but to derail it, kill everyone on board, and burn the remainder into a smoldering heap.

    They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t fall in a day, either. It’s not like the Romans woke up one day, heard a knock at the city gates, and the gatekeeper said “It’s the barbarians. Oh well, civilization was nice while it lasted.”

  9. Jenora Feuer says

    Rob Grigjanis:
    Scarily, I typed ‘warehouse fire in north tonawanda’ into Google and just the first page had stories from 1988, 2007, 2008, and 2015,

  10. jrkrideau says

    @ 7 Jenora Feuer & 8 Rob Grigjanis
    Ah yes, the fires in North Tonawanda and Cheektowaga . I had not thought of thew in years. I think my best memory is of a police officer perched on the roof of a porch (where else but Tonawanda) trying to pepper-spray a person.

    @ Jenora
    Seems like we were @ UW about the same time.

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