‘The Onion’ has reposted a grim headline about mass shootings 21 times since 2014

On Wednesday, The Onion’s website was covered in variations of the satirical piece it reposted after more than 20 mass shootings.

Screenshot by NPR

There are a few inevitable responses to a mass shooting in America: funerals and fundraisers, prayers from politicians, and the reappearance of a particular article from a satirical site. onion.

“‘No Way to Stop It,’ Says the Only Nation Where It Happens Regularly” has been reposted 21 times in almost exactly eight years.

His title has remained the same for every major mass shooting from Isla Vista, Calif., from 2014 to the Tuesday school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The main image and basic shooting facts are updated every time.

He still quotes a fictional resident of that state lamenting a tragedy they describe as inevitable:

“It was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” the person said. “It’s a shame, but what can we do? There was really nothing to stop this individual from racking their brains and killing a lot of people if that’s what they really wanted.”

The article, which has no identifiable author, still notes that such sentiments are shared “by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where more than half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have taken place over the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die from gun violence than those in other developed countries.”

“At press time, residents of the world’s only economically advanced nation where an estimated two mass shootings have taken place every month for the past eight years referred to themselves and their situation as ‘helpless'” , concludes Tuesday’s version – like its predecessors – .

onion took to his post on Wednesday, sharing a Twitter feed listing all versions of the piece over the years. Thousands of people had liked and retweeted it by noon, with many noting the devastating impact of seeing years of recurring tragedies lined up in a row – seemingly underlining the satire’s purpose.

He also flooded his website’s homepage with stories, with the same headline appearing multiple times but alongside different photos: a spa in Atlanta, a Walmart in El Paso, a grocery store in Buffalo.

Jason Roeder, former writer and editor of onionis credited with creating the original article.

“When I wrote this title, I had no idea it would be applied to high school a mile from my home,” he tweeted after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018.

Dave Cullen, a journalist who covered mass shootings for years and wrote the New York Times Bestseller Columbine, told NPR in 2015 that the article “resonates because they totally got it.”

“I think that [the Onion article’s popularity] said is we’re looking for the people who tell us the truth – kind of the emperor’s new clothes – who see through things, and don’t just print the same old stuff, or do the same old stuff , or doing the safe stuff – people calling us on our shit,” he said.

In a 2017 interview with Vice, Marnie Shure, then editor of onioncounted this article as one of his team’s most proud accomplishments.

“By re-running the same commentary, it reinforces the original commentary tenfold each time,” she said. “I’m proud to work alongside the people who saw the potential in this and were able to send this message and make it resonate. In the aftermath of these really terrible things, we have this commentary that really holds the road.”

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