'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

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"'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens" is the title of a series of articles from The Onion that satirize the frequency of mass shootings in the United States and the lack of action taken in the aftermath of those shootings.[1][2][3]

Each article is about 200 words long, detailing the location of the shooting and the number of victims. A fictitious resident of a state in which the shooting did not take place is quoted as saying that the shooting was "a terrible tragedy", but "there's nothing anyone can do to stop them". The article ends by pointing out that the United States is the "only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years" and that Americans view themselves and the situation as "helpless".[4]

Background[edit]

The article was first published on May 27, 2014, following the Isla Vista shooting. Since then, The Onion has republished the same article several times nearly verbatim, with only minor changes to reflect the specifics of each shooting.[1][2][3]

After The Onion republished the article on February 14, 2018, following the Parkland shooting, Jason Roeder, the writer of the original 2014 article, tweeted that he "had no idea it would be applied to the high school a mile from [his] house."[5][6]

Reception[edit]

The New York Times wrote that "each time The Onion publishes this particular headline, it seems to rocket around the internet with more force" and that the headline "with each use, seemed to turn from cheeky political commentary on gun control into a reverberation of despair."[1]

Mashable wrote that "[n]othing captures that feeling of frustration and powerlessness" following major mass shootings as well as these Onion articles, adding that "[t]here's no shortage of brilliant Onion pieces, but none have resonated—or been as tragically prescient—like the 'No Way' post."[7]

The Washington Post wrote that, with these articles, The Onion "appears to capture the frustration and futility felt by so many people" following mass shootings, noting the increased Internet traffic the articles draw and how popular they are on social media.[2]

The Huffington Post cites these articles as "some of the most resonant commentary on the nation's total lack of action on gun violence". It goes on to say that they have become "a staple of the social media response to mass shootings", citing how widely-shared they are on Facebook and Twitter.[3]

The Daily Beast mentioned the articles in a piece titled "How 'The Onion' Became One of the Strongest Voices for Gun Control".[8] Similarly, Wired mentioned it in an article discussing the power of The Onion's satire in the face of gun violence, titled "Only The Onion Can Save Us Now".[9]

In 2017, managing editor for The Onion Marnie Shure stated: "By re-running the same commentary it strengthens the original commentary tenfold each time. ... In the wake of these really terrible things, we have this comment that really holds up."[10]

List of articles[edit]

As of August 19, 2019, The Onion has published the satirical article 14 times.

# Publication date Shooting Ref
1 May 27, 2014 Isla Vista, California [1]
2 June 17, 2015 Charleston, South Carolina [2]
3 October 1, 2015 Roseburg, Oregon [3]
4 December 3, 2015 San Bernardino, California [4]
5 October 2, 2017 Las Vegas, Nevada [5]
6 November 5, 2017 Sutherland Springs, Texas [6]
7 February 14, 2018 Parkland, Florida [7]
8 May 18, 2018 Santa Fe, Texas [8]
9 September 13, 2018 Bakersfield, California [9]
10 October 29, 2018 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania [10]
11 November 8, 2018 Thousand Oaks, California [11]
12 June 1, 2019 Virginia Beach, Virginia [12]
13 August 4, 2019, 9:33 AM CDT El Paso, Texas [13]
14 August 4, 2019, 9:42 AM CDT Dayton, Ohio [14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Ember, Sydney (October 3, 2017). "The Onion's Las Vegas Shooting Headline Is Painfully Familiar". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 5, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Rosenberg, Eli (October 3, 2017). "Why this Onion article goes viral after every mass shooting". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 15, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Varagur, Krithika (December 3, 2015). "How Many Times Will The Onion Have To Repost This Article?". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on October 25, 2019.
  4. ^ "'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens". The Onion. May 27, 2014. Archived from the original on January 19, 2019.
  5. ^ Koning Beals, Rachel (February 15, 2018). "Onion writer's routinely recycled mass-shooting headline hits close to home". MarketWatch. Archived from the original on May 9, 2019.
  6. ^ Roeder, Jason [@jasonroeder] (Feb 15, 2018). "When I wrote this headline, I had no idea it would be applied to the high school a mile from my house" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Abbruzzese, Jason (October 3, 2017). "'The Onion' keeps publishing the same mass shooting story, because we're all stuck". Mashable. Archived from the original on February 17, 2018.
  8. ^ Suebsaeng, Asawin (April 13, 2017). "How 'The Onion' Became One of the Strongest Voices for Gun Control". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on October 25, 2019.
  9. ^ Raftery, Brian (June 15, 2016). "Only The Onion Can Save Us Now". Wired. Archived from the original on June 15, 2016.
  10. ^ Gillespie, Katherine (September 4, 2017). "Area Woman Interviews Editor of 'The Onion'". Vice. Archived from the original on February 2, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019.