The Onion is primarily known for their biting, satirical take on headlines, with tongue often firmly planted in cheek.
But, understandably, the noted digital newspaper was in no mood to laugh following the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 students and two teachers dead.
When covering the tragic story, The Onion published an article with all of their usual bite, but in a much more sombre tone, highlighting how the United States is shamefully the only country in the world where mass shootings are an ongoing problem.
The article cut to the chase with it sobering headline:
"'No Way To Prevent This',’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens."
A fictitious bystander was quoted in the article, who shared the infuriating sentiment of too many Americans, including noted Republican politicians, that mass shootings are an unavoidable and unchangeable reality in our country.
“'This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,' said Idaho resident Kathy Miller, 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.'”
Those who visit The Onion's homepage, however, might have found themselves doing a double take, as it appeared that there were multiple articles, all featuring the same headline.
But their eyes weren't deceiving them.
To highlight how gun control and mass shootings are an ongoing problem in American which too many people choose to ignore, The Onion posted 21 articles all featuring the same headline, but all covering a different mass shooting from the past eight years.
All the articles were completely identical, save for the published date and the location of the shooting the article was covering.
The sobering image quickly caught the attention of Twitter users, with many expressing their shock and sadness at the number of times The Onion has used the same headline and article.
The headline was first used in 2014 following a mass shooting and stabbing incident in Isla Vista, California, which left six dead and more than a dozen injured.
Jason Roeder, the author of the initial article told Rolling Stone he remains dismayed that his article has seen so many reprints since its first publication.
“It always comes on the heels of unfathomable grief. It’s the most awful merging of ghastly and monotonous.”
“My feelings can honestly be summed up as, ‘Here we go again'."
“It’s usually gratifying when your headlines outlast you, when you meet someone who’s an 'Onion' fan and who has one of your jokes on their shortlist of favorites."
"Especially when it’s a headline you didn’t think anyone loved except you.”
“But I obviously wouldn’t put the shooting headline in that category."
Roeder also expressed how he often feels guilty when he sees his headline reappear, but hopes that people might use it as an outlet to process their emotions following the unspeakable tragedies.
“I worry it’s just another part of the mass shooting ceremony."
"'Thought ‘n’ prayers', 'don’t politicize', '#GunControlNow', and so on.”
But I usually recognize the headline as a concise indictment of a culture that’s hypnotized by guns and that’s signed off on people dying for the capital offense of being a fourth-grader or standing in the frozen food aisle.”
“If it helps people channel their sorrow and anger and hopelessness it’s not so bad for 12 words.”
This shooting at Robb Elementary is the 27th school shooting to happen in the United States in 2022, and came only one week after a shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York which resulted in the deaths of 10 people.
The tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, has resulted in an outcry for changes in gun control, including an impassioned plea from President Joe Biden.
But it sadly seems that legislating change in gun control will continue to be an uphill battle.
Even in the wake of the Robb Elementary shooting, the NRA will proceed with its planned pro-gun rally in Houston, where Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott are all expected to give speeches.