Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
December 14, 2012

Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

If there’s a signature photograph to emerge out of today’s horrific school shooting in Connecticut, it’s this one.

Beyond the news value of these children being led safely away from the scene in emergency formation, it’s not hard to tell why. Mainly, it’s because of the heart breaking expression of the girl in the center of the picture in the turquoise shirt. Whereas the other children remained focused on the task at hand, this poor girl looks completely traumatize and emotionally distraught.

As well though, there’s the sense of this single file as almost a line of prisoners, not just because of law enforcement but by the way the boy second-in-line is being led by the police woman with his hands captured crossed just-so. That’s only relevant, however, to the extent it felt today — given the year’s, and the season’s number of gun rampages — like Americans have become hostages to a culture of violence.

(photo: Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks/AP caption: Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following a reported shooting there Friday.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=699726629 Dave McLane

    To put this into perspective, I think it needs reports on the various civil ceremonies — such as weddings — which Our Troops in the form of drones have killed one and all. The old saying still rings true: What goes around comes around.

    • ciclo

      I thought of that with Obama’s address and his tears. All fully justified and understood. And, I kept thinking of what we don’t know or accept of the drone strike killings and the children we have killed. It will be criticized to compare anything with this tragedy in Sandy Hook, and I still have in mind the drone killings.

  • LanceThruster

    The picture of the little girl crying in fright as she and her schoolmates
    are escorted out is heartwrenching…yet she is one of the fortunate ones.

    We need PSAs offering rewards to those contemplating murder/suicide if they
    skip the “murder” part.

    I truly can’t think of anything else that might help avoid these horrific
    tragedies. Trying to put the gun genie back in the bottle seems largely rather
    ineffective to me at this point.

    Unlike the NRA, I do not object to sensible and
    potentially effective legislation, but quick-fixes tend to make bad laws. In CA
    where I live, there was a ban on (supposed) assault weapons (I say “supposed”
    because assault weapons were already illegal). So you could not buy weapons that
    looked paramilitary, but my fully legal Ruger mini-14 shoots
    the same rounds as a Vietnam era M-16, has a removable high capacity magazine,
    but looks like a ranch rifle. Same lethality, just does not
    look like military issue.

    So often the solutions seem like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
    Like I said, I would propose greater resources towards mental health, and a
    promise to somehow subsidize those who do not murder before their suicide.

    There was a sci-fi story I read about a culture that had a suicide leap off a
    building. If done that way, the person was promised that their family or loved
    ones would be cared for. For those that actually took the leap, a net popped out
    part way down and rescued the person where they were given full and intensive
    mental health care to assist them. IIRC, they even had
    an opportunity to actually go through with the suicide later if they so chose.
    It seems a bit far-fetched, but how to you use logic only to deal with emotional
    pain and rage of that level, particularly in dealing with a “broken brain” to
    whatever extent?

    • bks3bks

      Gun control is a non-starter. Gun derision is reasonable, though. People with a lot of guns should be featured prominently in the DSM, and ridiculed in the GOP. I think it also helps to argue that this was a terrorist act. It certainly terrorized more Americans than anything that happened in Benghazi.

      –bks

  • Quincy Scott

    When I saw the girl in this photo, I immediately thought of that Kent State photo.

  • Porter Wayfare

    This is what it’s like when a culture commits suicide.

  • Janis Edwards

    the single file of children already achieved iconic status with an earlier photo, from above, of children being herded from a SoCal shooting years ago.

  • black_dog_barking

    How many times must a man look up
    Before he can see the sky?
    Yes, ’n’ how many ears must one man have
    Before he can hear people cry?
    Yes, ’n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
    That too many people have died?

    Way back when I was in school the answer was blowing in the wind. Today, the answer is 27.

    • Juan

      Sadly, that’s an incorrect answer. There will be many more, because Obama and his fellows in both sides don’t have the guts to work against the almighty NRA and all those millions of idiots who think that packing guns and owning automatic rifles is within their rights.

      It might be one year, it might be three, but this by far is not the latest massacre. 27 is a very small number for any of those bastards to care for more than 2 seconds.

  • http://zatopa.tumblr.com Christine Lorenz

    Please forgive me for not being able to figure out how to make clickable links here, but I couldn’t help but think of this: http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/kathe-kollwitz/not_detected_235980 , which makes it impossible to not think about this: http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/kathe-kollwitz/not_detected_235980#supersized-artistPaintings-235972 , and this: http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/kathe-kollwitz/not_detected_235980#supersized-artistPaintings-235966
    all the Kathe Kollwitzes in the world could not save Germany. But we Americans, we are so much more enlightened, right?

  • Pingback: Day After: Sorrowful and Mad as fuckin' shit - Compatible Creatures

  • Martin

    As a family, we saw the initial reports of this massacre on (French) TV news. My son – not quite six years old – wanted to watch, we shielded him. He exclaimed “but I want to see the dead children!”. Not quite sure what to make of that, but thankfully we are spared the full horror of the pictures. What bullets do to humans is not nice, is not neat, is not something anyone should have to see. Yet why is it that so many people – and not just in the US – only see the “good” side of guns? Why, in democratic societies, are guns seen as the solution? I live in a peaceful society (Switzerland) yet gun ownership here also is prevalent and a taboo subject. I live in a society that is highly democratic, but that also believes that guns are needed to “protect” democracy. I don’t deny that there are occasions (1776, 1939, etc) where guns are a necessity, but should we not learn to lock them away the rest of the time? How can pictures, still or video, help us to realize how absurd the combination of democracy and guns is?

  • BamaGuy1024

    We must ban assault weapons now, they must be made illegal for citizens to own. WHY would an individual NEED to own a weapon like the one this boy used to shoot SIX bullets PER SECOND into those innocent 6 and 7 year old children? I can see where the US military would need an assault weapon like that during war, I would need convinced why the Police would need weapons like that all around. There is just no sensible reason we need tens of thousands of assault rifles with quick change thirty bullet magazines, tens of thousands of these sold and in the hands of citizens every year. What do we expect if we allow this? We are the most armed country in the world and the NRA argues this would not have happened if all the teachers had all been armed or if the school security personnel had had assault rifles in hand and had been vigilant on the scene. These weapons should be illegal to own by private citizens. Pure insanity.

  • black_dog_barking

    27 is my answer. If someone else has a higher number they can exercise their right of free speech to explain to me why their number is better than mine because I will ask.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes