Post the photos

Another day, another horrific shooting. 14 dead. Or is it more? Wait another day, we’ll have a new stat. The news cycle goes into overdrive. How does the adage go- If it bleeds, it leads. Both sides move to their respective corners. (Some) gun “rights” activists stock up on ammo and ludicrously, get MORE guns. The majority of the country- those who support sensible gun control search for a weapon of our own- we know that adding more guns to the equation is like adding more gas to blazing fire. That route is paved in nothing but more bloodshed.

We’ve written, we’ve talked, we’ve pleaded. We have shown charts, statistics, the tear streaked faces of families devastated- broken forever by the entirely preventable carnage that has been laid at their feet.

What we haven’t done and as much as pains me to suggest it, what I think we should do is show the photos. We have become a country that judges not on substance- who has the time to listen to a long speech on gun control and the success that Australia has had? No one- the Kardashians are on at nine.

Photos work. Whether the flag draped coffins returning home from Iraq, the humiliated prisoners from the same war, the burned child running from Napalm in Vietnam, or the wrenching images of living skeletons in striped uniforms from Auschwitz. Iconic photos have brought change. We are visual creatures and these photos have forced us to look at our culpability.

We have heard the stats- more mass shootings than days in the year, this year. We need to see the photos. Stalin famously said that one death was a tragedy, a million a statistic. Photos transform statistics into real people- into lives lost and potential cut short. What I am asking burns my soul. I wouldn’t ask it except that I’m desperate. I don’t want another child or teen or adult for that matter- not another innocent person to suffer a preventable death at the muzzle of gun in the hands of someone who shouldn’t have had access to them. I know we won’t eliminate all the deaths, but we can make a significant, measurable difference.

Photos will do it. I know they will. I am asking the parents, the loved ones, those left behind to do the bravest, most selfless thing imaginable. I know it will sear their hearts and open the forever sensitive wounds, but I know it will make a difference. Without a doubt, it will save lives.

Show the world the damage that large caliber bullets do. Show the NRA the carnage they have wrought on this country. Show the blood. Show the lifeless eyes and the tiny bodies twisted from impact. Show the teachers who have died shielding defenseless, terrified students.

Many of the families have never seen the photos themselves- but I know they are out there. Police officers, paramedics, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, social workers, and survivors are already walking around with these images stored away in lead-lined boxes tucked far back in their minds. Like soldiers home from battle, they must carry these memories with them everyday for the rest of their lives. It’s not fair to let them do it alone. Not when we can save lives by bringing them to light.

We need to see them. Every NRA member or politician still defending this madness should have their lawns blanketed with them. Mass shootings, suicides, preventable (aka “accidental”) shootings, domestic violence- the list goes on. Put them out there- lay them at our feet. Like the AIDS quilt in the late 80’s- just the sheer size will change us forever. I KNOW we have the capacity to change. The NRA has been banking on us being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the issue. Well, we can overwhelm them. We can create a tsunami. We can create a momentum that no amount of heartless profiteering can overcome.

I thought Sandy Hook was going to do it. For me, my imagination was enough. As a mother- I could see it. When I closed my eyes, I could imagine the horror of those terrible minutes. Now, at my child’s school, when I notice the blackout shades, or when I walk into a movie theater- I close my eyes and can imagine the fear and horror of it. But it’s not enough. My imagination has always been more vivid than most.

So, as a parent, a daughter, a friend, and a citizen of this country- knowing that what I ask is more than I have a right to, I am asking the families of victims to post the photos.

By holding this mirror up to our collective madness, by showing the awful, deadly truth- I believe it will finally galvanize us to action. It will set us free from the deadly addiction that the NRA has coaxed us into accepting as the status quo. Post the photos and may whatever god you believe in have mercy on our souls.


About jenlocati

JENNIE LOCATI started her blog, WYS Words as a way to share her experiences as a professional woman, wife, mother, and irrepressible “do-gooder”. Her diverse life experiences have taken her to Kenya as a Peace Corps volunteer, the trading floors of Wall Street, to PATH, and most recently back to Microsoft, where she works in product development. Jennie shares her many misadventures, occasional insights, and unique perspectives in a voice that is self-deprecating, honest, and authentic. Read more at

Posted on December 2, 2015, in Big Ideas and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Jen, I think you idea has great potential. But, then I start thinking about how it is likely to get twisted about, stretched and yanked into something neither you nor I would recognize. What would Hollywood do with it? What would gamesters do with it? What would yellow journalism (is there anything now that isn’t yellow?) do with it? We think of showing the actual horrors in full color as the ultimate, but finally effective, response. But would it be? That’s like sensible nations some years ago assumed the atomic bomb, because its use was so horrible, would forever turn the world away from war. But now we have nations and non-nations that see it as the solution to their problem of making everyone martyrs and thus heaven-bound. Great ideas have a way of back-firing when people are involved.


    • Thanks for the feedback. Definitely, the proposal has risk and perhaps in the intervening weeks since I posted this, the sensible gun laws movement has continued to pick up momentum that might eliminate the need for this type of “shock value” approach. Seeing the human toll of any tragedy tends to touch people and influence them- I wish it were not needed in this case. Thanks again! Jennie


  2. Thank you Jen. As one who knows first hand Relatives and friends senselessly murdered I appreciate your comments and suggestion.

    Sent from my iPhone



    • I am sorry that your family has been directly affected- unfortunately, at this rate we all will be if we don’t do something. I am hopeful we have finally reached a tipping point with the public.


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