Students from Columbine High School along with activists in the movement against gun violence have created an organization called My Last Shot. The concept is simple, to sell stickers for those who support the movement to put on personal belongings such as cell phones or IDs. These stickers state "In the event that I die from gun violence, please publicize the photo of my death." There is a space for the owner of the sticker to sign and the hope is that law enforcement and media will then publish photos of gun violence deaths no matter how graphic.
The originators of My Last Shot say that they noticed how moved the public was by graphic pictures of Emmett Till, who was an adolescent black boy killed by lynching. Till changed the state of racial violence in the United States and, while we are far from eradicating the problem entirely, seeing a young boy's body in the state that Till's was left in was powerful enough to alter opinions. The thought is that if the public can see real photos of bodies destroyed by guns, they will be more likely to support gun reform.
This issue is important because when gun violence occurs, especially in schools, the media and the public is quick to not publicize the specific deaths out of respect for families of victims. Legislators offer their thoughts and prayers for families but no effective legislation is ever passed. The creators of My Last Shot want to encourage young people, including students, to speak with their families and make it clear that they want their death to be used for progress in the event that they die from gun violence. These stickers give permission for personal photos to be shown and personal stories to be told. This movement has the potential to humanize gun violence and show the country who this really affects.
Beyond the actual showing of photos and telling of stories, putting this sticker on a personal ID or phone shows solidarity for the issue at hand. Gun violence in the United States is not ending any time soon, and progress is slow to pass legislation that will actually do something to fix the problem. It is time for people who truly want to change to stand up and show how important this issue is. Think of how many times in a day someone sees your ID or your phone. A sticker with such a statement shows unwavering support for this important issue, giving you a silent way to show your solidarity with victims of gun violence and show people in your life how dire the state of gun violence has become.
I know that I will be ordering a sticker and speaking with my family about what I want if I am a victim of gun violence. I want to make a difference in whatever way possible and in the event that I become a statistic for this very important issue, I want to be more than a number. If I'm a victim of gun violence, I want to know that I put every precaution in place to make a real difference, even if I'm not here to see it.