Why America forgot Cleveland School

It’s called the “issue-attention cycle.”

Most public policy issues burst on the scene; people react energetically; then bog down in the difficulties of change; gradually people lose interest; or laws get passed and people think, mission accomplished. The issue withers away.

That theory rings true. We saw it locally with the Peacekeepers program when an effective gang intervention program was cut because it reduced gang violence. Mission accomplished, next priority.

The gun control issue got peoples’ attention. A series of mass shootings held it: Aurora, the Sikh temple, Congresswoman Giffords. Ironically, the National Rifle Association helped. Wayne LaPierre’s deranged press conference and the NRA’s ham-fisted atttack ad on President Obama’s daughters widened Obama’s window of opportunity to change gun laws.

Whether or not Obama succeeds, people will soon forget about mass shootings — until the next one. Robert Frost wrote about a similar human trait in “Out, Out.”

No one believed. They listened to his heart. Little – less – nothing! – and that ended it. No more to build on there. And they, since they Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.  

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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