MyLastShot Project

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#MyLastShot
MyLastShot pledge taller.png
DateMarch 27, 2019 (2019-03-27)
TypeDemonstration (protest)
ThemeGun violence awareness
Support of gun control
CauseMass shootings in the United States
Organized byStudents, Columbine High School and other activists
Participants
Websitewww.mylastshot.org

#MyLastShot is a nationally recognized[1][2] gun-violence prevention campaign created by students from Columbine High School[3] and activists passionate about the issue.[4] The project involves students placing stickers on their driver's licenses, student ID's, or phones that states their wishes to have the graphic photos of their bodies publicized if they die in a shooting.[5] The project launched on March 27, 2019, less than one month before the 20th anniversary of the Columbine Shooting which took place on April 20, 1999. The project has been covered by major networks and activists such as David Hogg[6] and his sister Lauren Hogg[7], with support from government officials[8] and other prominent figures.

The website states the inspiration for the project was the image of Emmett Till's mutilated body who was brutally murdered in 1955. Till's mother, knowing that the world needed to see the graphic photos of her son's body held an open casket funeral, invited the press to take photos of her son's body. These photos spread around the world and were the spark for the Civil Rights Movement.[9] #MyLastShot also references "Napalm Girl" and Alan Kurdi as graphic photographs that have created change because they were publicized.[10][11]

Participation[edit]

A student identification card with the #MyLastShot sticker applied to it.

In the event that I die from gun violence,
please publicize the photo of my death.
#MyLastShot. Signed, _____________

The project spread online quickly partially due to the easily accessible stickers which could be both ordered and downloaded from the website.[12] Online, students across the country began posting photographs holding up their ID cards with the sticker attached along with a message explaining why they are participating in the movement. The project's website states that #MyLastShot is an 'open-source gun violence prevention resource' and that groups wanting to use their sticker or any of their campaign materials are welcome to do so without having to ask permission. As of August 2019, #MyLastShot claims to have sent out nearly 65,000 stickers to students and activists across the nation.

Responses[edit]

The project was immediately picked up by national news outlets and overseas because of the horrific nature of what it was trying to accomplish. While many applauded the students efforts, there were also many who opposed the need to show graphic images, in the fear that these photos might further desensitize a nation that has not changed its position on gun-control in decades.

Others, however, saw the unfortunate need to see these graphic images, and while no-one wants to see a photograph of a child's body after a shooting — saw the importance of doing so to show the true horrors of gun violence, unfiltered by media.

The project gained national attention when it was picked up by CNN[13] becoming the top story on the news site on March 30, 2019. The project has since been covered by other major networks such as CBS, NowThis, The Independent, Bustle, Heavy, Daily Mail, and more.

Support from elected officials[edit]

On March 28, Senator Julie Gonzales (D), Colorado, referenced #MyLastShot in her speech[14] before voting 'yes' on the Colorado Extreme Risk Protection Orders bill that passed 18-17 in the state senate. In her speech, Sen. Gonzales said, "Current high school students from Columbine High have created a website called mylastshot.org where they are asking fellow students to put a sticker on the back of their driver licenses to let the media and others know that if they die in a mass shooting, that they want the photos of their death to be publicized."

Colorado State Representative Tom Sullivan also threw in his support of #MyLastShot in light of his own son's tragic murder in the Aurora theatre shooting. He went on to state that people need to see the photos, and that he keeps the graphic images of his son's crime scene photos on his phone to show legislators in an effort to create change.[15] In an interview with Denver7 on the #MyLastShot Project, Rep. Sullivan said, "Alex was only shot one time. It came in from his left side. He's lying on the floor in floor 12. He was wearing khaki pants and a red shirt. The impact of our story, once you hear it over and over again, is that it wasn’t fazing anybody,” Sullivan said. “Maybe they need to see some of these pictures."

#MyLastShot vs. Media Ethics[edit]

On March 28, 2019, Denver7 News reported on #MyLastShot pointing out how the Poynter Institute for Media Ethics typically is against the release of graphic imagery. On their website under 'Best Practices Offered For Media Coverage of Mass Shootings' they state "Be sensitive and cautious about using visual images, rather than showing graphic images of the crime scene."[16] However, about one week after launch, Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute wrote an article about the #MyLastShot Project giving journalists and photographers guidelines should they come upon the body of an individual with a #MyLastShot pledge. In the article, Al Tompkins writes, "...the use of such images is situational and should not be covered by a blanket “never publish” or “always publish” policy that allows journalists to escape tough calls."[17] This stance goes contrary to Poynter's previous guidelines to stay away from showing graphic images of the crime scene. In the same week, another large media ethics institution, Reynolds Journalism Institute gave journalist Jim MacMillan a one-year grant to create new guidelines for gun violence reporting in the United States.[18]

Notable supporters[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Columbine students want images of their deaths publicized if they're victims of gun violence". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  2. ^ CNN, Marlena Baldacci and Dakin Andone. "Columbine students start campaign to share images of their death if they're killed in gun violence". CNN. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  3. ^ NowThis (2019-04-15). "These Columbine students pledged to let images of their bodies be made public if they die by gun violence — and they're encouraging others to join them with #MyLastShotpic.twitter.com/Ykz6lp1OHy". @nowthisnews. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  4. ^ "FAQ". #MyLastShot. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  5. ^ "#MyLastShot". #MyLastShot. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  6. ^ Gstalter, Morgan (2019-03-30). "Parkland's David Hogg requests photo of his death be publicized if he dies from gun violence". TheHill. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  7. ^ Hogg, Lauren (2019-03-29). "In the event that I die from gun violence, please publicize the photo of my death. #MyLastShotpic.twitter.com/1j0372rvZA". @lauren_hoggs. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  8. ^ #MyLastShot Team (2019-03-29), Sen. Julie Gonzalez (D) talks about #MyLastShot ahead of HB19-1177 bill vote, retrieved 2019-04-16
  9. ^ "The Power of a Photograph: The Lynching of Emmett Till - For All The World To See - UMBC". fatwts.umbc.edu. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  10. ^ "My Picture Led to End of the Vietnam War: 'Napalm Girl' Photographer Nick Ut Tells TNM". www.thenewsminute.com. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  11. ^ "power of alan kurdi photo - Google Search". www.google.com. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  12. ^ "#MyLastShot". #MyLastShot. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  13. ^ CNN, Marlena Baldacci and Dakin Andone. "Columbine students start campaign to share images of their death if they're killed in gun violence". CNN. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  14. ^ #MyLastShot Team (2019-03-29), Sen. Julie Gonzalez (D) talks about #MyLastShot ahead of HB19-1177 bill vote, retrieved 2019-04-03
  15. ^ #MyLastShot Team (2019-03-29), Representative Tom Sullivan Supports #MyLastShot, retrieved 2019-04-03
  16. ^ "Best Practices Offered For Media Coverage of Mass Shootings' - Google Search". www.google.com. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  17. ^ "These teen activists want you to run their pictures if they die by gun violence. Read these guidelines first". Poynter. 2019-04-04. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  18. ^ "This journalist will spend a year creating guidelines for America's gun violence reporting". Billy Penn. Retrieved 2019-04-03.