Should we see the bodies?

In a piece for CNN, contributor Roland Martin suggests that in order to bring home the true horror of what happened in Newtown, Connecticut perhaps someone should release photos of the crime scene, bodies and all.  In order to fully grasp the ramifications of everything which brought this event to a head, we should not censor ourselves of the consequences gun violence, says Martin.  Do you agree?

(CNN) — In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, mass shooting, we have seen numerous photos of the beautiful, smiling faces of the 20 children and six adults slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The images we have become accustomed to include them singing at a piano, sporting the gear of a favorite sports team and others. When we think of them being memorialized it’s in the context of teddy bears, candles and flowers.

Americans want to remember them as vibrant and fun-loving children, but will that actually shake the conscience of America to do something about how they were gunned down in the classroom?

What if one of the mothers or fathers of the Newtown 20 demanded that police give them a crime scene photo of their child and they chose to show it to the world? Can you imagine a modern day Mamie Till Mobley, wracked with pain but filled with resolve to show the nation so they could bear witness to what hate did to their child?

[…]

Is that what Americans need today? Maybe so.

[…]

We love blood and guts in our movies, preferring exploding heads, chests ripped open by gunfire. We adore the big explosions, bodies flying through the air, buildings tumbling down. We’ll drop millions of dollars collectively on movies and video games to see the carnage, but God forbid we are forced to see it in real life.

That’s America. The land of make believe. Show us the fake stuff, but let’s retreat into a fetal position and scream, “No! No! No!” when forced to see the real thing.

[…]

Maybe if all Americans had to bear witness to such a photo, we would stop ignoring the violence equivalent to the Newtown massacres that is happening in Chicago, New Orleans and other cities across this country.

Gun violence is a national epidemic. It affects all ages and races. Maybe it’s time for America to see the results of what our gun culture has wrought. Enough with our delicate sensibilities. If we truly want to confront the problem, then we’d better have the guts to see the problem.

I have to say, in a way I agree with the premise.  As a nation we do tend to not want to be privy to the consequences of our actions, generally speaking.  The ‘I want to do what I want to do, don’t judge me or complain’ kind of attitude has been staining the children of the past couple decades.  We all have a desire to be shielded from the fallout of poor decisions.

I’m speaking in generalities here I know.  But we tend to look for blame everywhere but in the mirror.  We blame lack of birth control and education for the number of abortions and single mothers, rather than the individuals who engage in sex before they are in committed long-term relationships ready to have children in the first place.  We blame banks for financial crises and mass foreclosures instead of individuals who take loans they can’t afford.  Who do we blame when kids rack up $100k in student loans and have no means to repay them because they major in a field in which there is no living to be made (17th century French literature)?  Not the student who should have researched the employment possibilities when choosing their field of study, that’s for sure.  We blame employers when the employee can’t raise their family on wages commensurate with low skill labor rather than the employee who likely made poor life choices and is not qualified to earn high paying wages.

If we continue to place blame for a person’s actions on an inanimate object with no ability to act of its own accord, we will forever be in search of a solution which isn’t there.  But I get it, it’s much easier to blame a gun than it is to look someone square in the eye and say, “you are a bad person”.  If we blame guns, we don’t have to hurt anyone’s feelings.  This is useless though because guns aren’t responsible for gun violence, people are.

Comments

  1. From articles I’ve read, the reason for demanding photos is a conspiracy theory about how the government set this all up so as to have a reason to clamor for more gun control.

    We don’t need photos and they should be made public. Period.

  2. “Maybe it’s time for America to see the results of what our gun culture has wrought.”

    This exemplifies why I disagree with showing the photos. This is a person who wants to use those children, and their corpses, to push their own personal agenda, and it’s pretty clear what that agenda is. It has nothing to do with open discussion using facts and data, but to use emotionalism as a weapon against a percieved enemy that likely has nothing to do with the crime.

    I agree with Glenn. Most of the people I see clamouring for “transparency” are doing it to feed their own delusional conclusions. (And I assume there should be a “not” in that last sentence.)

  3. Conspiracies, agendas,…I find it a tendency for paranoia.
    I’ll put my two cents in one. After mass shootings guns sales increase due to fear of being a victim and due to fear of gun bans. The govenment set this all up paid by gun lobby.

  4. I find this column to be incredibly stupid. It is an incredibly transparent attempt to exploit the deaths to push for the idiocy of more gun control laws. The fool is trying to make the connection that the deaths are a result of access to guns. Obviously and blatantly untrue.

    Another idiotic statement is that which spoke of what “hate did” to the children. It wasn’t hate. It was insanity. It was evil. It was evil in the form of an insane asshole. Now, I will admit that there might have been some info released that confirmed the punk killed these kids because he was filled with hate that he just had to kill kids. But I haven’t personally heard such a thing. Still, if that was something that was true, that the punk made such a statement before the commission of the act, it is still evil insanity, not hatred.

    I have to say, that I don’t require photos of murder victims to be outraged at the fact that people are murdered in this country. But only a jackass thinks in terms of “epidemics” when considering just how fallen and corrupted any individual can be. The true “epidemic” is the God-less void in our society’s ability to cement attitudes of true love and charity for our fellow man. This would include how we deal with the mental cases who perpetrate such crimes.

  5. “Isu, the idea that this is a set up paid for by the gun lobby is ridiculous and absurd.”

    Nonetheless, no more ridiculous and absurd than the idea that this is a set up to promote gun control.
    Read between the lines.

  6. I don’t need to see the photos to get the picture.

    I think Martin’s strategy is naive: people who reject facts and data, will also reject this graphical ones.
    I also think Martin’s cause analisys is flawed.

    Saying that Martin puts the blame on guns is a strawman. He puts the blame on “gun culture”.

    It’s curious to see that he uses the same causes than gun supporters: violence in films and videogames.

    I agree with John: guns are not responsible, people are responsible. But he fails to see or decide to ignore that if “you are a bad person” a gun will help you to do “worse” things, as facts and data patently show.

  7. So Isu, are you supposing that because bad people misuse inanimate objects, then good people must allow to be deprived of those objects?

    I would also posit that we do not live in a “gun culture” per se, but a culture that values the right to defend one’s self from any number of threats. Again, that bad people abuse the freedoms guaranteed us does not mean that the freedoms should be rescinded, as if they could (we are born with these rights, by the way).

    Plus, it is not that we are in a “gun culture” anyway. We live in a culture that no longer clings to values, morals and traditions that did a better (though still imperfect) job of keeping the demons at bay than what our “modern” alternatives have been able to do.

  8. “So Isu, are you supposing that because bad people misuse inanimate objects, then good people must allow to be deprived of those objects?”

    Yes, when the purpose of these objetcs is killing.

    “I would also posit that we do not live in a “gun culture” per se, but a culture that values the right to defend one’s self from any number of threats. ”

    You live in a “gun culture”.
    Guns don’t improve self defense. If it were so, USA would be the safest country in the word. The fact is that it isn’t.

    “Again, that bad people abuse the freedoms guaranteed us does not mean that the freedoms should be rescinded, as if they could (we are born with these rights, by the way).”

    I don’t complaint about the right to self defense.
    I complain about the right of giving or making easy to the attackers to get guns.
    Rights are a social constructions and can be changed, by the way.

    “Plus, it is not that we are in a “gun culture” anyway. We live in a culture that no longer clings to values, morals and traditions that did a better (though still imperfect) job of keeping the demons at bay than what our “modern” alternatives have been able to do.”

    In our culture it is easier to keep the demons at bay because we don’t let them to keep guns (on a regular basis).

  9. “My point was that any conspiracy theory was to be rejected. I have no idea what you mean by “read between the lines” – I depend on clear communication.”

    Where did you say that about “any” conspiracy theory?
    I wouldn’t say your comunication was “clear”.

    Mine was clear: “I find it a tendency for paranoia”. it=conspiracies,agendas,,,,

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