In the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the satirical website the Onion overhauled its entire homepage to promote an 8-year-old article about mass shootings it has published nearly two dozen times.
“‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens,” reads the headline of the piece, first published in May 2014, after a gunman killed six people near the University of California, Santa Barbara.
“In the hours following a violent rampage in downtown Charleston in which a lone attacker killed nine individuals and seriously injured one other, citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Wednesday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place,” read the article the second time it was published, in June 2015, when a white supremacist killed nine Black members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during a Bible study.
The piece then swapped the name of a different fictional resident of a real state for a quote — as it did again in 2017, after a gunman killed 60 people at a concert in Las Vegas, citing an accurate statistic about the dangers of living in America.
“‘This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,’ said Iowa resident Kyle Rimmels, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations.”
“‘It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep this individual from snapping and killing a lot of people, if that’s what they really wanted.’ At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years were referring to themselves and their situation as ‘helpless.’”
With Republicans still united against any gun safety legislation and moderate Democrats unwilling to abolish the legislative filibuster, the Onion article will likely remain relevant the next time this happens. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer conceded Wednesday that it was unlikely any new gun legislation would be passed, saying, “Americans can cast their vote in November.”
Cover thumbnail photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images