I’d be lying if I said my first response to another shooting is in any way analytical. It’s more likely a function of the brain stem, and I don’t believe I’m alone in this. Maybe that’s why issues surrounding guns are so difficult to reason through. It was after San Bernardino, perhaps because it was then that I started to watch NRA videos, fell into a vortex doing it, that I became aware (again) that language is used for equivocation and propaganda as much as analysis. People are most vulnerable to manipulative language when we’re knocked off balance, in that brain-stem space—precisely where the mass shooting locates us. As much as we need writers to address the mass shooting with creative work, we need thoughtful readers to parse the variety of texts produced around it. That’s how we avoid hysteria, if not fear.
About Erin Hoover
Erin Hoover has served as editor in chief of The Southeast Review for the past two years. A PhD candidate at Florida State University, she has had poems published recently in Crab Orchard Review, The Pinch, Sugar House Review, and The Volta, and anthologized in Best New Poets 2013 and (forthcoming) The Best American Poetry 2016. Follow her on Twitter @ErinHoover.