Sunday 16 December 2018

'We know what will happen next' - The Boston Globe's powerful front page on an imagined mass shooting

The Boston Globe's front page on Friday, February 16 - two days after the Florida school shooting
The Boston Globe's front page on Friday, February 16 - two days after the Florida school shooting Newsdesk Newsdesk

The Boston Globe newspaper's Friday front page featured coverage of a mass shooting that hasn't happened yet.

On Friday, the Boston Globe dedicated its entire front page to an imagined mass shooting. There are no images, just text. The column came under the headline: 'We Know What Will Happen Next'.

Written by Globe columnist Nestor Ramos, the poster front page addressed the familiar themes and common responses to mass shootings in the US. The newspaper argued that mass shootings have become so common in the US that they now follow the "same, sad script".

Ramos highlighted overlapping factors in gun massacres in the past few years, including those at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Parkland high school in Florida and Las Vegas.

"He will be a man, or maybe still a boy," Ramos wrote. "He will have a semiautomatic rifle — an AR-15, or something like it — and several high-capacity magazines filled with ammunition. He will walk into a school, or a concert, or an office building. And he will open fire into a crowd of innocents.

"We will hear about the heroes: Teachers who barricaded their classrooms or threw themselves between their students and the gunfire; concertgoers who shielded strangers as bullets plowed into their backs,” the column read.

"And we will hear about him: He was strange and troubled and cruel to animals; he’d shown signs of mental illness; he lost his job; he beat his wife,” Ramos wrote.

"There are only three things we don’t know about the next time: Who, where, and how many."

The issue of The Boston Globe was published two days after an attack on a Florida high school that left at least 17 people dead.

The Florida school shooting marks the 18th time a gun has been fired at a school in the US since the start of the year, according to Everytown for Gun Safety - a gun control group that monitors incidents.

It is the eighth school shooting in the US to have resulted in death or injury so far this year.

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