The aggressive left-wing media wants to publish images of children killed in mass school shootings to spur gun control legislation.
Proponents of the practice say that doing so would bring attention to the crime and that images are so powerful that it would help to convince holdouts in Congress who are intent on blocking gun control legislation.
Many in the debate are relating it to trying to provide an ‘Emmit Till’ moment for the modern day. Till was an African-American teenager who was tortured and killed by two white men in the 1950s in Mississippi. The pictures of his mutilated body in Jet magazine helped to spur action on legislation for the civil rights movement in the 50s and beyond.
Newsrooms have debated the utility of how much coverage to give to mass shooters. School shootings in the United States were almost unheard of until the Columbine massacre in the early 90s. The writings of the killers involved showed a desire for publicity and Columbine spurred a social contagion of copy-cat shootings that continue to this day.
There is no question that graphic images stir strong emotions, and increasing the overton window of how we treat these shootings is on the table for a possible solution. However, publishing images of slain children could backfire, inspiring the next generation of killers to up the body count as well as the savagery of their attacks.
Rarely is good public policy and legislation made at the peak of enraged emotion. There is a reason our justice system does not allow victims to decide the appropriate punishment for the guilty.
If the stated purpose of publishing these images is to encourage more gun control then it is a poor argument. Increasing legislation on the sale, transfer or possession of guns only disarms the lawful populace.
Although gun ownership is at a 40-year low, gun purchases are at an all-time high.
Criminals will not abide by new gun control laws and politicizing the dead is not the answer.