A Game, a Parade, a Shooting: The Story of America in Three Acts

America’s most communal cultural event, the Super Bowl, featured a wildly popular team from Kansas City cheered by a global pop star who is dating the tight end. After the Chiefs won, she kissed her boyfriend under the falling confetti.

Three days later, the city held a massive parade and celebration where gunfire broke out, scattering panicked fans in football jerseys, killing a woman and hurting 22 others, about half of them kids.

Super Bowl. Parade. Shooting.

Is there a more American story than that?

The shooting was not directly related to football, in the way that a shooting at a mall is not related to shopping. But every such shooting feels like a crime against American culture. Settings have included schools, colleges, movie theaters, churches and synagogues, grocery stores, concerts. There is now a subset of mass shootings occurring at parades.

No parcel of American public life feels completely safe. No shooting feels like a surprise, except to the people who live through it.

This one was a coda to the global sporting event where we celebrate all things American — from football to Usher, military flyovers to the Puppy Bowl. What if a shooting happened at a massive hometown celebration of the champions, in a crowd of people wearing team gear? It felt like an unoriginal plot device. But deadly shootings happen so regularly in the United States that only the wildest circumstances bring attention.

People gathering at a vigil for the victims of a shooting in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday.Credit…Chase Castor for The New York Times
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