Time To Decide If You Would Publicize A Photo Of Your Death

Time To Decide If You Would Publicize A Photo Of Your Death

The #MyLastShot campaign is encouraging adversaries of gun violence to willingly publish photos of their death if it results from gun violence.

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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.

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10 Deadliest School Shootings in U.S. History

These are ten of the most savage attacks on American innocence.
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School shootings in America trace back as early as the Settlers and Indians .

Over the years, attacks on schools have gotten progressively more brutal, senseless and deadly. Motives behind such occurrences are often blamed on social cliques and bullying or the perpetrators often suffer from mental illnesses or addiction.

Here are the 10 deadliest school shootings in American history:

10. West Nickel Mines Shooting

On October 2, 2006, milk-tank truck driver Charles Carl Roberts opened fire on a small Amish schoolhouse in Bart Township, Pennsylvania. Prior to going to the school, Roberts left a suicide note at home for his wife and children.

Roberts entered the one-room schoolhouse and ordered all the boys to leave, as well as one pregnant woman and three parents with infants. He ordered the remaining ten girls against the wall and held them hostage.

Sisters Mariah and Barbara Fisher, ages 13 and 11, courageously asked to be shot first in exchange for the lives of the other young girls; some were as young as six years old. Roberts killed Mariah and wounded Barbara. In addition, he shot eight out of the 10 girls, killing five of them.

9. Oikos University Shooting

43-year-old One L. Goh committed Oakland, California's deadliest mass killing on April 2, 2012, at the Korean Christian college Oikos University. Witnesses testify Goh stood up in his nursing class and ordered everyone against the wall at gun point.

One student recalls him yelling, "Get in line..I'm going to kill you all!" before firing. He killed seven people and wounded three others.

8. California State Fullerton Massacre

Custodian Edward Charles Allaway was reported as going "postal" on July 12, 1976 at California State University in Fullerton, California. The 37-year-old employee of the institute had a history of violence and mental illness, and was later diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

He was found insane by the judge of his trial for the murders. He called the police after killing seven people and wounding two others, and turned himself in. His motives behind the mass murder included him believing the university library was screening pornographic movies his wife was forced to appear in.

He is currently receiving medical treatment for his condition at the Patton State Hospital.

7. Red Lake Shootings

The Red Lake Indian Reservation in Red Lake, Minnesota will never quite be the same after events which occurred at the senior high school on March 21, 2005.

16-year-old Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather (a tribal police officer) and his girlfriend. He then robbed his grandfather of police weapons and bullet proof vest, before ultimately driving to Red Lake Senior High School where he killed seven people and wounded five others.

Weise took a total of 10 lives that day, including himself. He committed suicide in a classroom after exchanging fire with police.

Witnesses reported Weise smiled while shooting his victims and questioned multiple students about their faith before firing.

6. Umpqua Community College Shooting

On October 1, 2015, 26-year-old Christopher Harper-Mercer committed the deadliest mass shooting in Oregon history. He killed nine people and injured seven others at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

He spared one person in the classroom he opened fire in, only to deliver a message to the police for him. Mercer was described as "hate filled" by those who knew him. In addition, he identified himself as a White Supremacist, anti religious and suffered from long term mental health issues.

Some theories behind the mass shooting were Mercer falling below a C average, putting him at risk for suspension, as well as him not being able to pay the tuition bill due.

He ultimately committed suicide after the attack.

5. Enoch Brown School Massacre

The Enoch Brown School Massacre is one of the first documented school shootings in U.S. history. On July 26, 1794, four Lenape Indians entered a Settler's schoolhouse in Delaware where they massacred school master Enoch Brown and nine children; they were shot and scalped.

Two children survived the attack and four others were kidnapped and taken as prisoners. This event is considered one of the most notorious incidents of the Pontiac War.

4. Columbine High School Massacre

High school seniors Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, may have not committed the deadliest school shooting in the U.S., but their killing spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado is considered one of the most infamous attacks in history.

It sparked numerous debates, including gun control, anti-depressant drugs and the influence social cliques, violent video games and bullying have on the mental health of high school students.

Harris and Klebold spent countless hours preparing for the events on April 20, 1999, which were documented in their "Basement Tapes." The tapes contained footage of the two boys having target practice with illegally obtained firearms, as well as a suicide message and apology to their parents.

Their ultimate goal was to be responsible for more victims than the Oklahoma City bombing, an event the boys idolized. The morning of the shootings, Harris and Klebold encountered one of their few friends Brooks Brown in the school parking lot.

Brown was one of the few students the shooters considered a friend; they told him to leave campus immediately because "something bad was about to happen."

Reports claim the boys targeted jocks, taunted people for their belief in Christianity and made jokes with each other while they killed their peers. Harris and Klebold took the lives of 13 people and injured 24.

They committed suicide in the library together.

3. UT Tower Shooting

On August 1, 1966, former Marine sharp-shooter Charles Whitman unleashed havoc on the campus of University of Texas in Austin, Texas.

Whitman positioned himself on the observation deck at the very top of the U.T. Tower; it was the perfect place for a sniper to have his pick of targets, considering you could see the entire campus from his vantage point.

He killed 14 people and wounded 31 others. Prior to his attack on campus, Whitman killed his wife and mother.

Post autopsy, it was theorized that Whitman's behavior might have been caused by a tumor found in his brain. Doctors and psychologists attribute the tumor to his impulsive, irrational behavior and his lack of a conscience.

This theory was supported by records of Whitman seeking professional help prior to the shooting for "overwhelming, violent impulses" he felt he couldn't control.

2. Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting

20-year-old Adam Peter Lanza is responsible for arguably the most senseless and brutal attack on a school in U.S. history.

On December 14, 2012 Lanza shook the town of Newtown, Connecticut when he attacked Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza killed his mother, before entering the school where he killed 26 people and inured two others; the majority of his victims were children aging from five to 10 years old.

He committed suicide upon completion of the attack. This shooting in particular confused both the media and authorities, because Lanza never offered a motive or reasoning behind the murder of his mother nor the horrendous mass slaying of innocent children.

1. Virginia Tech Massacre


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia came under attack on April 16, 2007. Senior student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and injured 17 more in two attacks – one in a co-ed dormitory, the other in the Engineering, Science and Mechanics building.

He is noted as committing the deadliest attack on a school in U.S. history.

Cho was previously diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder; among the tapes he personally mailed to NBC news, Cho expressed his hatred for the wealthy, compared himself to Jesus Christ and explained that he was forced to commit the mass shooting due to voices in his head.

Virginia Tech has held the number one spot as deadliest school shooting for five years.

Holocaust survivor Liviu Librescu was a professor in the Engineering, Science and Mechanics department at the school, who was famously remembered for using his body as a barricade against the door during the attack; Librescu was killed during the attack but managed to hold the door closed long enough for all of his students to escape out the window.

Cho ultimately committed suicide following the shooting.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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Gun Violence Is Real, And People Don't Come Back

The conversations of gun violence, reform, and background checks always come with some form of one-sided opinions.

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Within the firearm realm, there lies a dangerous loophole within our federal gun laws. This loophole exempts unlicensed sellers from having to perform any background check whatsoever before they sell a firearm. With the growing rate of gun violence, many are left wondering why.

The conversations of gun violence, reform, and background checks always come with some form of one-sided opinions. Many of the opinions root from morals and not factual information causing tension when the issue is brought into any conversation. Citizens have the right to guns. Therefore, there should not be any background checks to keep citizens from expressing their rights. Opposing opinions are based on the issue of how important background checks are in preventing gun violence from Americans who suffer from mental illness. Recently in New Zealand, an act of terrorism using firearms occurred. With 72 hours Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that many of the citizens have already surrendered their firearms to local police stations and new reforms were already being passed. News left many Americas wondering why new gun reforms have not been passed and what can be done to prevent another act of violence.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is well known for voicing their opinion on gun rights. The NRA is highly effective in lobbying and campaigning against any legislative proposal for the control and restriction of firearms in the country. Members of the association believe that placing restrictions on firearms will not prevent violence but would benefit others in the high-risk situation. For example, the NRA believes that the only solution to firearm attacks, such as the Orlando shooting in 2016, is to address terrorism head-on, not take away the rights from law-abiding Americans to defend themselves.

The NRA has successfully placed barriers to prevent funding to support, research, and advocate gun control. They lobbied a law known as the Dickey Amendment that prohibits the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to use research funding to perform studies on gun control. Before the reallocation law, the CDC found that gun ownership increased the risk of homicide in the home. Organizations like the NRA firmly believe in their second amendment rights. They will continue to protest and lobby against politicians who want to build restrictions on firearms.

According to a survey done by Quinnipiac University in 2018, 97% of Americans supported background checks, leaving many wondering why they are not required when purchasing a firearm. Groups, such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, advocate for more restriction on firearms. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is a group of diverse individuals that are part of different religious organizations, social justice organizations, and public health professionals. Their mission is to stop gun violence through the use of research, strategic engagement and effective political advocacy. Their main goal is stopping the NRA from promoting violence and creating a safer country for the next generations.

Yes, mental illness does appear in some mass killers, but research and evidence have suggested that violence by people who are mentally ill is rare. Those with serve mental illness are more likely to commit suicide using a firearm. Jeffrey Swanson, a psychiatrist professor at Duke University, studies violent behaviors and states that "People with personalities inclined to violence are usually obvious to their peers and coworkers and have a history of antisocial conduct, they often progress to deadly violence after committing smaller acts." People who are more inclined to perform acts of terror do not just start at committing gun homicide crimes but slowly work their way up.

Swanson conducted a study and found that 8.9% of people who reported having a gun in the home also said they engaged in violent behaviors. Anger is what drives people to commit crimes. States like California, Indiana, and Connecticut, have restricted perpetrators of less violent crimes, such as assault and battery, from buying guns. They have also temporarily taken firearms out of the hands of owners that have committed crimes until they can make a case in which they no longer pose a threat to their community.

With increasing numbers in gun violence, citizens of America want answers. Gun advocators and organizations will not stop protesting until they see an act of change in gun policy. While the opposing individuals and organizations will continue to fight for their second amendment right.

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