Columbine students launch campaign to publicize images of their deaths if they’re killed by gun violence
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Almost two decades after a mass shooting that killed 13, students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado are grabbing national attention again—this time, with a new initiative to end gun violence.
The #MyLastShot project encourages students to put a sticker on their cellphones or IDs giving permission for photos of their bodies to be publicized if they ever are killed by gun violence.
The sticker reads, “In the event that I die from gun violence, please publicize the photo of my death,” with a line for participants to sign their names.
It also calls for advocates to designate someone to make sure the directions of the sticker are carried out.
“The power of photography is immense,” the #MyLastShot initiative tweeted out Saturday. #MyLastShot founder, 17-year-old Kaylee Tyner, told CNN, “Our country has a history of photography effecting real change.”
Tyner referred to the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, whose mother insisted that her son’s mutilated body be seen. Till’s murder brought attention to the brutality of racism.
Media organizations often do not publish graphic images of crime scenes. The Poynter Insitute has published guidelines for dealing with these kinds of tragedies, Denver7 News points out. Tyner told CNN that she could see the images making their way through social media, rather than through traditional media sources.
A promotional video announcing the campaign says Americans are numb to numbers and statistics — that graphic images stick with viewers and readers.
The initiative was unveiled just weeks before the 20th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School mass shooting that left 12 students and one teacher dead.
Elizabeth VanMetre is a reporter based in Wyoming. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared on ETOnline, the New York Daily News, Yahoo Travel, and more. She hosts a local morning show in Wyoming.