Why publishing victims' photographs is a terrible idea

Why publishing victims' photographs is a terrible idea

There are some sick people in this world. We all know this and we’ve likely encountered at least some of them in the course of our life.

Some of those sick people commit horrible crimes such as mass shootings.

It seems some want photographs of the victims published so as to push for gun control.

How many ears must Congress have before it can hear parents and children cry? Yes, and how many dead children will it take before Congress knows too many children have died?

The answer, my friend, is when Congress stops letting the win from the gun lobby blow holes through our U.S. Constitution.

To get Congress to act, Dr. Amy Goldberg, a trauma surgeon at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, advocates showing images of the aftermath of mass shootings. She believes voters, and in turn, Congress, wouldn’t be numb to gun violence if they saw what she sees. Without seeing images of the carnage, people will not experience, on a visceral level, what a mass shooting looks like. Without that visceral, emotional connection, Congress and most people will stand by and do nothing.

Obviously, images of the carnage will be shocking. However, once the initial shock wears off, voters will become outraged knowing their elected officials did nothing to prevent the assault.

“Citizens need to see the destruction of what these military-style weapons do,” Goldberg told NPR. “And I don’t say that lightly. I don’t say that with any disrespect. All the trauma surgeons need this to stop.” She added, “I just cannot believe that Americans in this country would see what these weapons do to our children, our teachers, our community and that they would stand by and do nothing.”

Now, I get why Goldberg wants to see these photographs published. I believe she honestly thinks it would push people to call for gun control regulations and she honestly believes that to be a good thing.

However, there’s another side of publishing such pictures that I don’t think she’s thought through.

Namely, it could create more such monsters.

You see, there are sick people all over the world, and some of them are only slightly sick. We know that allowing them access to certain imagery can deepen their illness. Ted Bundy and pornography, for example.

What would happen if people got to see horrific pictures from crime scenes? What would happen if these sick people saw the carnage reported at Uvalde? Rather than thinking about gun control, it might push them to the point of deciding to make something like that happen so they can see it in more detail than a grainy crime scene photograph.

Even if it somehow convinced a handful more people that gun control was a good idea–which I honestly doubt because our rights don’t change because bad things happen–would it still be worth it if it caused more such attacks?

As it is, we have people who idolize the Columbine shooters, calling them “martyrs” on a regular basis. Can you imagine what these people might do if they could see the outcome of these such shootings?

Besides that, regardless of what proponents of this claim, it is disrespectful. It’s using the bodies of murder victims as soapboxes from which they can pontificate on how we need gun control, never acknowledging the fact that it still takes a person to pull the trigger.

On ever level, this is a terrible idea, and not just because I disagree with them on a political issue.