Rule 1 is that if poor are killing other poor, nobody much cares:
The deep dark secret of media coverage is that poor people killing other poor people is page 20 news.For example, he asks, how much did you hear about the poor-on-poor conflict called the Second Congo Civil war?
The Second Congo Civil war has killed more people than any conflict since World War 2, perhaps five million people, fifty times more than the combined US casualties of the Korean and Vietnam wars. Have you ever heard of the Congo Civil War?I had to go to Wikipedia to refresh my memory. I vaguely remember hearing a little something about it, but I don't recall it being headline news:
By 2008, the war and its aftermath had killed 5.4 million people, mostly from disease and starvation, making the Second Congo War the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II. Millions more were displaced from their homes or sought asylum in neighbouring countries.
Poor-on-poor killings within rich counties are page 20 news as well. For example, can you remember seeing a news article about even one of the "260 [poor] schoolchildren who were killed in Chicago over a recent three-year period?"
That is in contrast with Rule 2, which is that non-poor-on-non-poor killings are front page news for days on end for each event. Certainly you've heard of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and many other such massacres? Even though the number killed during those events were tiny compared to the number of inner city poor children who were killed during the same period?
Rule 3 is that, at least at the international level, everybody roots for an underdog, so poor can get away with killing non-poor with limited or no condemnation. For example, many twist rationality beyond recognition (to me) justifying Palestinians lobbing rockets from Gaza into Israel:
It’s those Palestinian rockets that that are dominating the headlines, and that cause even normally sympathetic progressives to waffle in their condemnations of Israel’s ongoing collective punishment of the 1.7 million people corralled in Gaza. Yet there is very little direct, probing discussion of the topic. Is the line between provocation and retaliation really that clear? Is the use of violence to fight violence by some Palestinians somehow abnormal or unique? And what proportion of the population in Gaza is actually involved in the rocket attacks or supports the practice?
But Rule 4 is that non-poor countries may not kill, even to defend themselves. When Israel retaliates when rockets rain from the sky on their children, an awful lot of the world is outraged. Yet it's clearly not about merely killing Palestinians as shown by the following graphic from the Belmont Club article:
You've probably at least heard of the recent Syrian conflict. But given the vitriol directed at Israel relative to Syria, would've you guessed that almost 50 times as many people died in the Syrian conflict. It's an easy guess when you remember that Rule 4 is used for the Israeli conflicts while Rule 1 is used for the Syrian conflict. Therefore, the Palestinian deaths at the hands of Israel are intolerably outrageous, while the Syrian deaths are page 20 news.
There are, of course, many exceptions to these very general rules, but I find it interesting just how often they accurately predict the reactions to murder and slaughter.