DHS Secretary: Publish The Pictures

(Gun) Smoke and Mirrors From the NRA

Never say that the Scissorheads have no influence!

After our hard-hitting declaration that the media should publish the crime scene pictures after a mass shooting, former Department of Homeland Defense Secretary Jeh Johnson has endorsed our idea:

After the mass murder of children in Uvalde, Tex., America desperately needs to bring the true horror of mass shootings home — through pictures. We need an Emmett Till moment.

I am surprised that when I make this reference, multiple generations of Americans, White and Black, know what I mean. For those who don’t: Emmett Till was a 14-year-old Black youth who dared to say something sassy to an adult White woman in Mississippi in August 1955. For this “crime,” Till was abducted, tortured, shot in the head and dumped in a river by two White men who were later acquitted by an all-White Mississippi jury.

At Till’s funeral, his mother insisted on an open casket for her son, to in effect say to the world, “Look what they did to my boy.” Photographs of Till’s body, dressed in a suit but with a bloated, mutilated head and face, became an international spectacle, burned into the conscience of anyone who saw them. The images helped spark the civil rights movement, including the Montgomery bus boycott that began three months later in December 1955. Time magazine called the image of Till’s body one of the 100 “most influential photos of all time.”

I lack the moral standing to tell a parent to accept and approve, for the greater good, the public display of photos of his or her dead child. Only they can judge the additional weight that doing so would place on them, at a time when they are already struggling with unimaginable grief. Nor do I suggest the release of any images in particular. But something graphic is required to awaken the public to the real horror of these repeated tragedies. Robb Elementary School in Uvalde is a crime scene. If there were a case to go to trial, the prosecution would have to present publicly the shocking evidence of guilt. Put another way: Why must innocent schoolchildren, for the rest of their lives, carry the vivid memories of the executions of their teachers and classmates, while federal and state lawmakers (and the adult constituents who elect them) are spared?

And it goes on from there, and is worth your time to read and consider.


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6 Responses to DHS Secretary: Publish The Pictures

  1. Stony Pillow says:

    Amen. Didn’t know he had it in him.

    We’ll continue to see “anonymous donor” paying for the children’s funerals just to prevent this.

    Remember the words of Steinbeck:

    And the associations of owners knew that some day the praying would stop.

    And there’s the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rocky D says:

    When images from the Viet Nam war were broadcast into our homes on a nightly basis, many Americans began to turn against the war. The brutality was shocking to so many that hadn’t really considered it prior; out of sight, out of mind. Interesting that image control has been front and center since then.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jimmy T says:

    I remember the tragedy well, I was seven at the time but even the evening news was focused on his murder. A few years later, I saw a video of his funeral, and yes I was shocked. He had been brutalized to such an extent that he was unrecognizable. I found this other video on Youtube. Can’t say that you’ll enjoy it, as it still resonates after all these years. “The horror, the horror.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. roket says:

    In order to protect American families, might I suggest they show a photo of a child that’s been shot by an assault rifle over in Iraq? I’m sure the AP has plenty of stock footage such as that.


    • schmice3 says:

      In the same vein as M.A.S.H was “set” in Korea to protect the then-current American families’ sensibilities and thus weaken the war effort? The national mood did sour, albeit eventually. If constituents see the consequences and the carnage, the mood will swing. But they don’t allow that because it would shock our conscience. And that would alter the political equation; and not to the liking of the fascists.


  5. w3ski4me says:

    Not until mainstream TV ized America gets good and disgusted, will anything ever be done about gun violence. I am all for widespread pictures of the violence being shared. It should stick in every person’s craw until they have had enough. It’s not just Texas and Colorado anymore. America needs to get fed up and hiding it off-page isn’t working.


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