Last night’s deadly rampage in Federal Way – which resulted in the deaths of five individuals at the Pinewood Village apartments complex just off Pacific Highway South – has focused national and international attention on our region.
Although the tragedy occurred in Federal Way and authorities there are handling the investigation, several national and international media outlets are incorrectly characterizing the event as a “Seattle shooting” or a shooting in Seattle, implying that it happened in our region’s biggest city. In fact, the Federal Way city limits are some twenty miles south of the heart of Seattle, and driving from one city hall to another takes twenty-five minutes… in good traffic.
A quick check of stories pertaining to the tragedy on Bing News revealed some headlines that are misleading and could have been better written.
Let’s compare a few:
- Five dead after shooting at apartment in Seattle suburb: This is a Chicago Tribune headline. Wins points for accuracy and brevity.
- Seattle Shooting: Five Killed at Apartment Complex in Washington Near Seattle, One Suspect Dead: The tragedy did not happen in Seattle, so the first two words shouldn’t be there. In addition to being misleading, those two words unnecessarily increase the length of this Mstars headline.
- 5 Dead After Seattle-Area Shooting: This is from U.S. News and World Report. It’s certainly short but it could be more concise.
- Seattle apartment shootings leave five dead: This one’s from the BBC, and they should know better. The tragedy did not happen in Seattle. If “Seattle” is going to appear in the headline, there needs to be a qualifier, as there is in the Tribune and U.S. News headlines.
- Police: 5 killed in shooting south of Seattle: This is an Oregonian headline on an Associated Press story. It’s short enough and there’s a qualifier, but it’s not as good as the Chicago Tribune headline. There are a lot of places south of Seattle. The word suburb implies a city or town that is close to a bigger city, which is what Federal Way is.
Our own local media, of course, don’t need to say “Seattle area”. We here in Washington know where Federal Way is.
- Police say 1 of the dead in Federal Way had killed 4 others (Seattle Times)
- Five dead in shooting at Federal Way apartment complex (KING5)
- Police say man shot by Federal Way officers responsible for slaying of 4/Gunfight ends in bloodbath in Federal Way (KIRO 7)
- Police: Domestic dispute led to rampage that left 5 dead (KOMO 4)
There are a lot of details about this tragedy we still don’t know. We do know that the man killed by police last night – who is suspected of killing the others – had a license to carry a concealed weapon. And he was abusive: Law enforcement knew this guy, because he’d been violent before. Unfortunately, he was armed last night, and he did terrible damage with his weapons.
We at NPI extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed in this senseless act of violence. Another mass shooting has resulted in more death and destruction. We’re left to wonder: When is enough enough? When are we going to put human rights ahead of “gun rights”?