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December 24, 2012

Best Photos of 2012 and Why: From Holmes to Newtown

During the holiday break, Bag is noting the notable: the most interesting shots in the many 2012 Picture of the Year galleries. The two photos in this post came from the Associated Press Picture of the Year collection.

The details behind these two photographs are, perhaps, less important than their new relevance in the wake of the Newtown shootings. By that I mean that we care less that this group is protesting the right to carry a rifle in public or that Aurora shooter James Holmes displayed few warning signs as a teen that he would someday become completely deranged. We simply see that Holmes looks crazy and that the white protesters are carrying rifles in public that look like automatic weaponry.

We read the general at the expense of the particular. As we absorb the 24/7 media coverage of the most recent mass killing, the photos themselves become representative of the issues at hand. Should a minority of people dictate gun policy? Should we allow sale of guns and ammunition that can kill 20 deer (or children) as quickly as one and, if we do, who should be able to make those purchases?  And how did someone like James Holmes (or Adam Lanza, for that matter) slip from our notice?

The top photo stands on its own; Newtown didn’t have to happen to make it worth noticing. The photo of Holmes only matters when you know the context. But given that, the brain could come to the next question: does one photo beget the other? Will we address gun control without looking at mental health issues? Can we address both at the same time?

Via AP Photos of the Year via Mercury News

(Photo 1: David Guralnick, File/AP/The Detroit News. caption: In this June 11, 2012 file photo, Chris Combs, of Troy, left, and Stephanie Locke, of Clawson, cross the street in downtown Birmingham, Mich. while participating in a protest by gun enthusiasts. The protest wass in support of eighteen-year-old Sean Michael Combs, of Troy, who was arrested in Birmingham while carrying a rifle. Combs was charged with brandishing a weapon, disturbing the peace, and obstructing a police officer. Photo 2: RJ Sangosti, Pool, File/Denver Post/AP. caption:  In this July 23, 2012 file photo, James E. Holmes appears in Arapahoe County District Court in Centennial, Colo. Holmes was being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, and facing additional counts of aggravated assault and weapons violations stemming from a mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that killed 12 and injured dozens of others.)

  • Jan Marra

    Not only does the blonde have a rifle, she’s displaying cleavage and has painted her lips and nails bright red. She’s sending a message all her own. I have a suspicion that Mrs. Lanza had the same thing going on when she bragged on her gun collection at the bar.

  • Marie

    Jan, I’m seeing that more pink, than red. Pink is as much of a statement as red would have been. “Girls can shoot too.”
    The blond woman in front is not only color coordinated, but she appears to have her finger on the trigger! Really? Is that necessary? Is that representing safe and responsible gun ownership? Everybody else looks as if they are out for a relaxing stroll. They reminds me of a social gathering of photographers with the shoulder straps and side talk. But not her.

    • tinwoman

      She’s also the only woman. Still overwhelmingly, having big guns is a male insecurity thing. Notice they placed the sole woman front and center,

  • boomerangst

    I wondered at first glance if the first photo was Mrs Lanza in a photo

    that had been unearthed. Yeah, it looks just like the casual outfit you’d put on to go to a protest march in Michigan. Sure, it does–nothing calculating in her outfit at all.

  • black_dog_barking

    Will we address gun control without looking at mental health issues? Can we address both at the same time?

    Identifying and treating whatever bats were/are in the belfries of Lanza/Holmes is not something that is going to happen today or tomorrow, probably not even in my lifetime. Effective gun control could start tomorrow by simply requiring that every gun not in military use carry liability insurance, enough to compensate the victims of finger-activated lethal force.

    Register guns? Who cares, just make those that think owning a gun is a good idea pay to clean up the mess. Wanna drive a car, gotta have insurance. Wanna own a gun? Ditto.

    • Stan B.

      That’s gotta real good ring to it!

  • Stan B.

    Dang, if her cleaverlage don’t knock ya out, her ammo will positively slay ya! Is she the uber confident Female of the 21st Century- or just the sadly insecure female version of the NRA male with the trophy wife?

    Or maybe just pissed she ain’t the latter.

  • Marie

    The focus on the woman is partly the photographer’s choice, I’m thinking. Without her, it’d be a relatively boring image.

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