Whenever tragedies such as the shooting at the Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina occur, reaction on social media is swift. Aside from the fact that users on Twitter identified the suspect long before the FBI publicly identified him, social media seems to have become the platform for public figures and private citizens to air their immediate reactions to current events. Time magazine has a collection of the reactions to the shooting, as well other responses on social and other media.
Heartbreaking news from Charleston - my thoughts and prayers are with you all. -H- Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 18, 2015
Emanuel AME means so much to so many, and we stand by them today as they mourn the loss of their leader and brothers and sisters in Christ.- Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) June 18, 2015
My thoughts & prayers are with the victims & families in #Charleston, SC - a terrible tragedy- John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) June 18, 2015
The Charleston church killings are a tragic reminder of the ugly stain of racism that still taints our nation. pic.twitter.com/3R4zKLqq2q- Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) June 18, 2015
John Stewart, host of The Daily Show, can normally manage to wring humor out of the darkest of events, decided he couldn't tell jokes about it, because he had "nothing other than just sadness" over the tragedy.
But, as always, there are those who would choose to rebuke the hideous intentions of the perpetrator. While alleged shooter Dylann Storm Roof was still on the run, Marcus Stanley, and African-American man who was himself the victim of gun violence, wrote a compassionate and empathetic note on Roof's Facebook page. The note was, according to the Blaze, viewed millions of times before it was deleted.
An aspect of the public debate around the occurrences of mass violence is the manner in which the media covers such horrific events. So it was not surprising that this video from 2012 by English satirist and broadcaster Charlie Brooker would appear on the front page of Reddit and garner thousands of comments in the aftermath of the shooting:
Public debates over the nuances of covering breaking events are useful if you can actually get news organizations to cover breaking events: CNN and Fox News came under heavy criticism on Twitter for their lackluster coverage of the shooting, refusing to abandon scheduled programming while events unfolded.
Dunno the logistics that have MSNBC capable of full Charleston coverage while CNN has international feeds and Fox News has canned Trump.- Daniel Fienberg (@HitFixDaniel) June 18, 2015
A mass murder/hate crime on American soil. Fox News is showing a Trump interview. CNN is simulcasting international feed.- Joe Adalian (@TVMoJoe) June 18, 2015
President Obama made a statement about the shooting, expressing his grief and frustration. However, the most telling social media reaction of all was the one reporters's reaction to a Obama's reaction. After the President's statement was released by the White House, CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller tweeted the following:
By my count, this will be at least the 14th time Pres Obama has made a statement on a shooting attack.- Mark Knoller (@markknoller) June 18, 2015