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School Shooting in Brazil: Lack of Coverage is Appalling

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If you have been watching the news and waiting for stories about the school shooting in Brazil, good luck. I have not seen much in the way of coverage on TV, in print, or online. The lack of coverage of this major news story is appalling to say the least, but it also clearly indicates that when something happens is just as important as where.

Ten girls and two boys between the ages of 12-15 were murdered in cold blood by a gunman identified as 23-year-old Wellington Oliveira, a former student of the Tasso da Silveira School (where the shooting took place) in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the biggest country in South America and home to the largest number of  Catholics in the world.

The Pope spoke about the shooting and offered his support, but you would never know that from the news media here. I had to dig on Google to find that out. In fact, I was actively looking for stories about the shooting last night on television, but everything was about the President, the Congress, and the budget fiasco (otherwise known as the Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly).

It is clear that this shooting happened at the wrong time. We are still getting reports about the nuclear crisis in Japan (and that is, of course, completely understandable), but it is almost as if this shooting never took place, and I find that to be a complete and utter disgrace. When the story is covered in print or online, it is done briefly. I’d like to see some outrage from people here, some reaction, and some call to help the victims and their families, but I have seen none of this.

I could say, “Imagine if a gunman walked into a school in the United States and did the same thing?” Of course, you would say “What about Columbine?” and we can all recall the wall-to-wall coverage that received. Similar shootings in Scotland and Russia were given heavy coverage, but the shooting in Brazil is either being overlooked or placed way to the back burner.

Any shooting in a school should be of enormous concern to people in every country in the world, but especially in an elementary school where children have been sent to what is perceived as a safe environment. A story like this should make everyone take note and stock of security and safety in their own schools.

I would hope that people in this country and other countries will reach out to the people in Brazil, offer all kinds of support to the victims and their families, and work to find ways to make sure that something like this is less likely to happen again.

The more important question remains for the media: why hasn’t this story been given proper coverage? Whether it is because it happened at the wrong time or in the wrong place, it is disgraceful either way. Twelve children are dead and all the media coverage possible wouldn’t bring them back, but it would honor the dead and their familes, let the world know of their story, and respect their memory. I do not think that is asking for too much.

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About Victor Lana

Victor Lana has published numerous stories, articles, and poems in literary magazines and online. His books In a Dark Time (1994), A Death in Prague (2002), Move (2003), The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories (2005) and Like a Passing Shadow (2009) are available online and as e-books. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated mostly on fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with Blogcritics since July 2005, has edited many articles, was co-head sports editor with Charley Doherty, and now is a Culture and Society editor. He views Blogcritics as one of most exciting, fresh, and meaningful opportunities in his writing life.
  • ShMnLxco

    I find it weird that we now have an insatiable need to knowing an atrocity as our number one search in life. Appalling as it is or not, it happened, and what you find out about it won’t change any of the facts that happened at that moment you missed. News should really just be labelled as tragedies these days, cause the realest news is that one is alive and breathing.

  • Art low

    I partly agree with ShMnLxco… Although I think there should be some coverage to much can have a negative effect… It’s possible to they are not giving it to much attention worried that their might be some copycat killers wanting to make a name for them self’s… Still I feel bad for the families and my heart goes out to them.

  • Marli Cesar

    That is sad that the media in USA just don’t pay attention about what happens in Brazil; howerver, on the other side the media in Brazil covers everything that happens in USA. Last Jan when Brazil had a disaster in country side of Rio and more then 1500 people died the US media coverage was very poor; however, if it was another country that USA has some economic interest for sure they would cover. That is OK Brazil is one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world. With large and growing agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors, Brazil economy ranks highest among all the South American countries and it has also acquired a strong position in global economy. Not even mentioning the Ethanol and the new discover of petroleum that will put Brazil in few yeas one of the major oil exporter. I am sure by then US will start paying more attention to what happen in Brazil!

  • http://viclana.blogspot.com/ Victor Lana

    I agree with you, Marli. Notice the difference between Libya and Sudan, Egypt and Bahrain, etc.

    If the US has an “interest” we get a no-fly zone; otherwise, good luck with that.

    I guess I wrote this because I am sorry that more people in America know about what Charlie Sheen is doing than about the shooting in Brazil.

  • Sally

    I also have been searching the written news, online news, and TV & radio news!! I am WONDERING “why” no coverage. ..I kind of think it’s b/c of potential copycats doing the same thing. Dang!! there sure are a LOT of “Mentally Unhealthy” and “Crazy” people in the world.

  • http://igneousquill.org Adam Gonnerman

    Well, I’ve been following the coverage of it, getting news in the “Brazil” alert I have set up with Google Alerts, and I agree that the coverage outside of Brazil has been fairly minimal. Although Brazil has a lot of crime, this type of mass shooting event has been pretty much unheard of there until now. That alone should get it attention. In any event, the coverage won’t bring the children back or bring justice to the families.

  • Francine

    Who cares about the Americans and their ignorance. News related to other countries don’t sell in US because people are not interested in it. The shooting is getting all the attention in Brazil, just how it should be and decent coverage through South America, Europe, Canada; and earlier today a friend of mine from Lebanon just posted on my Facebook that he heard on the news there.
    The only ones who are clueless are my colleagues at work. However, they know everything about the girl who got kicked out from American Idol, by the end of friday that was the only thing I would hear around the office, not even the shut down interests them. That’s America, get use to.
    Everyone country gets the media it deserves.

  • curt

    Could the lack of coverage be because he was another Muslum?

  • Rich

    If our president had any class or could see beyond the nose on his face (or beyond the 2011 budget, he would have expressed our nations condolences to the Brazilian people and ordered a national moment of silence and prayer. Makes me ashamed to be an American. And Quote from a Dutch citizen after their mall shooting “we know these things happen in American schools but we never expected it here” Pitiful

  • Dan

    Good catch curt. The gunman’s sister confirmed that her brother was a muslim convert who, just recently, had stepped up his devotion to Allah.

    To some extent that is probably most of the reason for the blackout in coverage Victor notices.

    The PC leftist media clam up fast when facts emerge that contradict the alternate reality they promote with such hell bent determination.

  • zingzing

    funny. a quick search suggests that over 2,000 articles have been written about this. the new york times reported it on the 7th, a full two days before this article was published (and yes, they mentioned the islamic conversion). npr published the new york times article on their website. and the times published another article about it today. cnn also published an article on the 7th, as did the chicago tribune, huffpo, the daily beast, al jazeera, abc news, usa today… i could go on looking, but you know, doing a google search is an exhausting thing. i had to click like 5 times and read some stuff.

    yes, this media blackout is a horrendous miscarriage of justice. they never want to report tragedy. it’s all just sunny liberalism. i’m glad you were able to find another source other than the tv, print or online. where exactly did you hear about this thing anyway? i think it’s a conspiracy.

  • lol

    zingzing hits it out of the park. If you didn’t see the coverage, it’s your own fault. It was and is there. Also, yeah no shit you coworkers don’t talk about politics or tragedies in the workplace. Politics is one of those things you don’t bring up in places like that and talking about tragedies is rather pointless. What kind of discussion are you going to have? Did you hear about ? Yeah, how sad. American Idol might not be great, but it’s a rather neutral subject. No one is going to get seriously upset about the results and it makes for lighthearted conversation.

    Jeezum. You better put your tinfoil hats on and watch out for chemtrails.

  • http://viclana.blogspot.com/ Victor Lana

    I reacted to what I heard and saw here in New York after the shooting. I did not see the article in the Times (only read it on Sundays), but both the Daily News and Newsday buried the story away from the front of the paper.

    More importantly, at least for me, was no local TV news channels carried the story here, and (at least when I was watching) CNN and FOX had nothing about it.

    Yesterday, again both papers cited above ran stories about the funerals for some victims as small blurbs away from the front of the paper.

    Just my perspective. Yes, as mentioned in the article, the story could be found on Google, but that was the whole point of the matter: not a “horrendous miscarriage of justice” but rather an appalling disregard for a tragedy in a Third World country where the victims weren’t white kids. If that were the case, it would have been front page news and that is what I find a disgrace.

  • zingzing

    brazil’s got the 8th largest gdp in the world, if you’re going by some economic definition of “third world.” (and yes, i know there is lots of poverty there.) and no, it’s not front page news on every paper in america, but the story was there (page A11 in nyt on 4/8), and it’s quite possible that if you had picked up the nyt on that day, you’d have seen it. there was a lot going on in the world at that point, what with the gov’t shutdown, the libya thing, the japan thing, etc, so you can hardly blame the papers for highlighting other stuff. if a school shooting in brazil would have sold more papers, it would have been up there.

    i tried to look up the daily news cover story from 4/8, but what’s the point? it was invariably some pun, and was probably about a local issue.

    anyway, the point is that it was covered, but you just missed it. you can’t catch everything unless you read every daily paper, keep all the major news channels on 24/7 and constantly search the internet for the latest news on everything under the sun.

  • http://viclana.blogspot.com/ Victor Lana

    Zing, that cover story was about Cathy Black (NYC Schools Chancellor) being canned by Bloomberg. Yes, a big New York story, of course.

    Today NY TIMES had a story on page 14 about it. Very small blurbs were in other local papers. I saw nothing about it on news channels.

    I think what got me the most was that on Friday morning no one knew about it at work except me, and I kind of felt that would be multiplied all over and the story deserved recognition.

    There was a shooting in Amsterdam yesterday that got little press as well. Maybe the worst thing is that people are becoming inured by these stories when each one should make us more outraged.

  • zingzing

    i saw the amsterdam thing yesterday on cnn.com as the lead story. just saying…

    what pun did the daily news use in their cathie black headline? something about a pink slip for black? bloomie bins black? black flunks out? at least they’re not as bad as the post. what a rag that is. entertaining though… have to give it that.

    “Maybe the worst thing is that people are becoming inured by these stories when each one should make us more outraged.”

    yes, we are desensitized to these stories at this point, especially when they happen far from home. it’s true. but that’s nothing new. and for the perpetrators of these crimes who do it for attention… well, the media is a double-edged sword.

  • Dan

    Well I guess there are some differing perspectives on the tragedy.

    It’s too bad zing lacked the curiosity to make a couple more exhausting clicks. He would have found that there appears to be a great deal of sentiment that agrees with the perspective curt and I advanced.

    Beside the general suppression of the story, there is also agreement that “Western media is leaving out one important detail seen in Brazilian reports: that Oliveria was motivated by religous extremism.”

    Sorry Victor, but I couldn’t find any mention of the view that the story is being suppressed because no one cares what happens to non-white kids. Although I do note that that is a sentiment I’ve heard expressed before.

    I’ll also note that, in my work place, the shooting was a topic of conversation. But then we are a pretty informed group.

  • Heloise

    I just read it on beast or drudge. I was thinking it should be limited because of the copycat theme. It said the guy had Muslim concern or input. So what does that mean? Christians had the inquisition.

    We know all we need to know IMHO.

  • http://viclana.blogspot.com/ Victor Lana

    Dan,

    Since I was last on, I was reading an article in the NY Times that included info about the gunman wanting to fly a plane into the famous Christ statue in Rio. It did not mention, however, about his being a Muslim.

  • zingzing

    “It’s too bad zing lacked the curiosity to make a couple more exhausting clicks. He would have found that there appears to be a great deal of sentiment that agrees with the perspective curt and I advanced.”

    wait… that the news of the shooting wasn’t being reported (even though it was,) because western media wanted to be silent about the shooter’s conversion to islam (which they weren’t, as has been pointed out)?

    your lack of curiosity is preventing you from seeing the plain truth: the shooting was reported, and the islam thing was noted in most of the articles i read about it, which were all from “liberal” sources. do a little research. look for articles on the brazil school shooting by date. look for “liberal” sources. read those. it’s clear that you haven’t.

    in his suicide note, he asks forgiveness of god, asks to buried in a way that reflects his islamic beliefs, and also, curiously, asks jesus for eternal life. oh, it’s also reported that the suicide note contained references to the shooter’s HIV positive status. and he gave his house to an animal shelter, “because the animals are being very despised and need much more protection and care than human beings.” if it was pure religious extremism, i’d have expected that to be a part of his suicide note. maybe it is. but he seems to be hedging his bets a bit up there and it’s hard to be that religiously extreme and also doubtful, isn’t it? and the HIV thing… and the fact that his mother had died and he’d been depressed ever since… and the animal shelter thing… there’s a lot of reasons why this guy might have gone off. you’re awful quick to pin the tail on the donkey, but if you’ve already made up your mind, who am i to question your lack of… curiosity…

    “I’ll also note that, in my work place, the shooting was a topic of conversation.”

    how did they find out about it? how did you? if it wasn’t reported, how is this possible? do you not see the problem in your logic?

  • Dan

    It’s too bad the gunman didn’t go that route. A small plane would probably have simply crumbled and killed his crazy ass without any harm to anyone else.

  • Dan

    Relax zingzing, no one has said it “wasn’t reported”, just that it was underreported.

    No one is quickly pinning tails on donkeys either, just noting that the Western coverage often leaves out the Islamic fundamentalist element that the Brazilian coverage does not, as the link I posted points out.

    You’ve made your opinion clear, others (many others) have a differing view. You will have to live with that.

  • zingzing

    dan, consider the following: “I have not seen much in the way of coverage on TV, in print, or online. The lack of coverage of this major news story is appalling to say the least…”

    no, the article doesn’t say it wasn’t reported at all, that’s true… but the fact that it was extensively reported seems to still be slipping by you. what do you want? front page news on every newspaper? what coverage do you believe this story deserves? what should have been bumped? the government shutdown? the nuclear disaster in japan? the war in libya? next we would have heard that the american media is downplaying one of those. that no one cares about japan or libya (because they’re not white, i guess), or that no one wants to report on congress’ incompetence (as if).

    “No one is quickly pinning tails on donkeys either…”

    you certainly seem to be. i’d think it would be pretty hard to pin a pseudo-rational political motivation on a guy who lines up children and shoots them. you also said earlier that the shooter’s islamic conversion was “To some extent that is probably most of the reason for the blackout in coverage Victor notices.” and yet his islamic conversion was noted in several “PC leftist media” on the very subject days before victor’s story or your ill-informed comment. i’ll admit that you temper your comment with “to some extent… probably,” but you can’t really have it both ways.

    “You’ve made your opinion clear, others (many others) have a differing view.”

    my opinion is that i don’t fucking know why this guy did what he did. there seem to be plenty of possible reasons, or a combination of reasons, behind this guy’s actions. other people are just yelling “this is extreme islam at work!” without bothering to dig into the facts the least little bit. if that’s not what you’re doing, i apologize. but that’s what it looks like to me. correct me if i’m wrong.

    “You will have to live with that.”

    i don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean.

  • zingzing

    “You will have to live with that.”

    ah, that others have differing opinions. maybe i was trying to read too much into it (i wouldn’t put it past you). i have no problem with others having different opinions. i just think that immediately jumping on the islam theory is wrong-headed and dangerously stupid. this religious war we’ve got ourselves in is just as much the fault of the west as it is islam at this point.

  • Gean Michel

    Good morning guys, I am from Brasil, I don’t speak english so much, but I try:
    The idea that the killer was a Muslim is not true (some news organizations in Brazil, controlled by international political interests, find it convenient to make the people believe that the killer was Muslim), he actually suffered from mental disorders, suffered while he was a student bullyng the school where the massacre occurred. This resulted, years later, in the massacre, he had some religious convictions, but linked to the Bible. Following is the letter-testament left by him in his house, inspiration can be seen in Leviticus (in the Bible): “First you should know the unclean can not touch me without gloves, only virgins or those who have lost their chastity after marriage and were not involved in adultery could touch me without gloves, or no fornicator or adulterer will have direct contact with me, nor anything that is impure can play in my blood, no unclean thing can have direct contact with a virgins your permission, those who take care of my funeral should remove all my clothes, bathe, dry off and wrap me totally naked in a white sheet that is in that building in a bag I left in the first room on the first floor after me involved in this sheet may put me in my coffin. If possible I want to be buried beside the grave where my mother sleeps, my mother called Dicéa Menezes de Oliveira who is buried in the cemetery of Murundu. I need a visit from a faithful follower of God in my grave at least once, he must pray at my grave asking God’s forgiveness for what I did praying for Jesus at his coming I awaken from the sleep of death to eternal life ”

    “I left a house in Sepetiba which no family needs, there are poor institutions, funded by generous people who care for abandoned animals, I want this space where I spent my last month is donated to one of these institutions, because the animals are beings much neglected and much greater need of protection and care of human beings who have the advantage of being able to communicate, to work to support themselves, animals can not ask for food or work to feed themselves, so those who take hold of my home, I ask you to please have some common sense and abide by my request, for fulfilling my request, they will automatically be fulfilling the wishes of parents who wanted to pass this property to my name and everyone knows it, if not fulfill my request, automatically be disrespecting the wishes of parents, which proves you have no regard for our parents who have fallen asleep, I believe you all have some consideration for our parents, prove it by doing what I asked ”

    I hope this information has been helpful, greetings from Brasil!

  • Renzo

    The shooter was a Muslim – this is why it’s not being talked about in the US