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Posted by on May 9, 2023 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 0 comments

The Horror



Let’s begin showing the real consequences of our insane national gun policies.


Could horrific images of mass shootings and bloody bullet-riddled bodies possibly spark political action?

This is an interesting question. I’m not sure how to answer, but we probably should at least consider showing what deadly assault weapons actually do to human bodies.

The argument goes like this — show the horror. All of it. No blurred videos. No sanitization. Force the public to look into the sunken eyes and bloody faces of dead schoolchildren.

After yet another mass shooting in America this past weekend, some progressive lawmakers are saying this might be needed in order to shock our collective senses out of a slumber. Indeed, let’s start showing the real consequences of our insane national gun policies. Of course, conservatives and the powerful gun lobby are strictly opposed to this. They know the political tide could turn if America was forced to look into the mirror.

This question is not only timely, it’s practical. Like it or not, we live in mass media culture dominated by images. Photos and videos have supplanted the written word as tools of influence and power. Most of us have seen images we couldn’t shake from memory, thus proving the tremendous impact of the visual. Seeing is believing.

Holocaust and Nazi comparisons are often inappropriate, but I believe they are applicable here. After WWII, the world saw shocking images of dead bodies, the victims of Nazism, piled up by bulldozers. We’ve all seen those gritty black and white films. It was (and remains) one of the most horrific images in human history. Just imagine the mass reaction to seeing those films and photos way back in the 1940s and 1950s. I don’t know the story, but somewhere and someplace and by someone, a monumentally important decision was made. The only way the world would believe the horrors of what happened was if the images were shown. And they couldn’t be blurred out or cleaned up. Evil needed to be SEEN. Simply reporting on these events, or writing about them, was not enough. Critics wouldn’t believe it, and there would be charges of exaggeration (even with films, there are deniers). So, the dead bodies HAD to be shown.

All these years later, we can debate about whether or not Holocaust imagery produced any greater awareness or lasting benefit. After all, anti-semitism is still with us, and millions of sycophants continue to rally around totalitarian right-wing demagogues. Apparently, we don’t learn much from history, and may be condemned to repeat it.

Nonetheless, we must try to stop evil and end violence — or at least reduce it — whenever and wherever we can.

In this age of “reality television,” let’s start showing reality. The real world. Real events. Real horrors. Sure, there will be some uncomfortable moments. The surviving families of victims may disapprove. And, there’s always a sick element of society that finds gruesomeness and death to be entertaining. Nonetheless, this is too important to hide.

America, and the world, need to see what these assault weapons and their legalization are doing to innocent people. And the only way to do that is to show the horrors.

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