Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Should We Be Shown Images of the Dead Children in Uvalde?

 ("Should We Be Forced to See Exactly What an AR-15 Does to a 10-Year Old?")

Would this country, would much of the world, be as involved in and committed to the cause of Ukraine against Mr. Putin without the photographs and videos of  the gruesome reality in the streets, the hospitals and homes of the victims of Russian brutality? Surely not.

We are moved by photographic evidence in ways that words, no matter how forcefully stated, can fully capture. But I fear that images such as those discussed herein, of the destruction and mutilation of young lives in Uvalde, would not prove a catalyst for revision on the issue of gun control but merely exacerbate our unrestrained disrespect for those who do not share our views. 

We well know the playbook of the gun rights advocates. These photos, they would argue, are not intended to address root causes, but merely to distract from the truth that we must strengthen, not weaken, our ability and resolve to protect us from these atrocities. They would suggest that liberals should be ashamed of themselves for taking a moment of grief and attempting to exploit it. Their diatribe is an exercise in excruciating pretzel twisting, mind numbing, logic which we have been forced to endure time and again.

This nation has long ago hardened its views, pro and con, on the matter of gun control. Unlike the defense of Ukraine, we are today not being asked to formulate an opinion on guns, but merely if we would alter our position on their proliferation given horrific demonstration of their effect.

Sadly, I believe the photos of 19 dead children would not bring about the intended result one would fervently hope they might. As such, let these images remain buried, for they will not resurrect the dead nor plead their case in a manner that will stop the next Uvalde from occurring. 


Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

I agree for the reasons that you advance. The conversation on gun control is so beyond polarized that the photos can/will change nothing and so feel prurient and an invasion of privacy and decency.

And yet....tempering my thinking are three historical antecedents. It is likely that there are many more but these three come to mind. Emmett Till's mother's decision to have an open casket at her child's funeral; the nightly real-time film clips of the treatment of civil rights marchers (think Bloody Sunday on the Pettus Bridge); and the nightly showing of body bags at the height of the Viet Nam war, all in retrospect are thought of as having had a profound impact on reshaping policy and political response on/to issues felt at the time to be intractable.

But I share your view that we are in a worse place now -- more clan and tribal-like fierceness in our divisions. But maybe we are wrong. I can recall the hatred with which supporters of the viet nam chanted -- "America, Love it or leave it." And we survived, and grew(?) as a country. So, perhaps there's still some reason to have hope.


Anonymous said...

Photos of the little coffins, and photos of the children when they were alive and smiling, send a very strong message. Let the world see the children as normal, vibrant, happy kids, kids we all see envy day in our neighborhood. These are the kids who will be forever in our hearts ans mind.