‘Time To Wake Up!’ Calls Commence For The Carnage Of The Ulvade School Shooting To Be Published As An ‘Emmett Till Moment’

Joe AppleNights

May 27th, 2022

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Wait, what?

In the wake of the horrific and heartbreaking mass shooting in Uvalde County, Texas, many of us are asking one question; What will it take for America to change in a way that will prevent these tragedies?

Mourners visit memorial for Texas school shooting victims

Source: Anadolu Agency / Getty

David Boardman, dean of Temple’s Klein College of Media and Communication, has an idea about what might help open up people’s eyes, but it’s bound to be a controversial one. Boardman is one of a number of journalists and other citizens who believe it’s time to start publishing visuals of the carnage that mass shootings cause. In other words—”let’s post the bloody dead bodies of children who have been massacred to show America how real it is.”

“Couldn’t have imagined saying this years ago, but it’s time – with the permission of a surviving parent – to show what a slaughtered 7-year-old looks like. Maybe only then will we find the courage for more than thoughts and prayers,” Boardman posted to Twitter.

In an interview with Philadelphia Magazine, Boardman, who was previously an editor for the Seattle Times, elaborated on his position and emphasized that he would never advocate for making such a decision without consulting the parents of the victims.


Here’s what he told the Magazine:

What really strikes me is that this is coming on almost the exact 10-year anniversary of a very similar elementary school shooting in Connecticut, and the fact that virtually nothing has changed. As a matter of fact, in many states, including Texas, it’s easier to buy assault weapons and for this sort of outrageous crime to occur.

So I think we, as journalists, have to face up to the fact that our textual description of this sort of heinous crime, and pictures of these innocent young children, in their angelic form, isn’t moving citizenry and isn’t moving, certainly, the political machine the way it needs to be moved. So it seems to me that this is a case — and again, I would seek out permission from families to be able to do this, and I wouldn’t do it today or tomorrow, I might wait until next week or the week after — to graphically show the public and, by extension, the members of the United States Senate, what this sort of devastation looks like.

 In 1955, Emmett Till’s mother insisted that the casket of her 14-year-old son be open and publicly displayed so that America could see the outrageous cruelty of what white racists in the South were doing to Black men. Jet magazine took a picture of that, that picture circulated around the country and the world, and it marked a real change in the Civil Rights Movement. I think we’re at that point now.


Similarly, journalist Stephanie Ruhle reported that former Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that America “needs an Emmett Till moment.”

35th Anniversary Ellis Island Medals of Honor

Source: Noam Galai / Getty

“We need to see the photos-the images of slaughtered innocent children in Texas. It is the only was to wake America from this defeated haze & take REAL ACTION on guns,” Johnson told Ruhle.

So, I get where they’re coming from, I just think it’s optimistic to think publishing graphic photos of children who have been shot to death, even with the consent of their parents, will sway the lobbyists, conservative politicians and “pry them from my cold dead hands” gun enthusiasts who will never concede that these killings have anything to do with gun access or loose gun laws. If the very report that 19 children and two adults were shot mercilessly by an 18-year-old gunman who legally purchased the weaponry he used to carry the shooting out isn’t enough, I just find it hard to believe gory photos of dead children will help.

Besides, most recent polls show that anywhere from 54 to 60 percent of Americans are already in favor of stricter gun laws, and it has been that way for the last several years. (This point was also brought up in the interview but it’s worth repeating.)

And I don’t really like the Emmett Till comparison.


Will An Emmett Till Moment Actually Help?

In Emmett’s case, America didn’t just need to be convinced that civil rights laws needed to be implemented—it needed to be convinced that Black children being murdered was a bad thing to begin with. (Sometimes I feel like we’re still trying to convince America of that) For the most part, even gun nuts see what happened in Uvalde as a tragedy—they just refuse to admit guns are at least part of the problem.

But hey, that’s just one man’s opinion.

Interestingly enough, the actual Emmett Till Foundation also tweeted about the possibility of the carnage being shared for the world to see…

and Nicole Hockley, the mother of Sandy Hook victim Dylan Hockley, weighed in as well. Hockley who is the CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation isn’t convinced about the “Emmett Till moment” idea.

What do y’all think? Would publishing the carnage make a difference? Is it worth a try?


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Author: Zack Linly

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