The Mike Brown shooting has inspired a thought-provoking viral hashtag on Twitter. Using #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, many people are posting dramatically different side-by-side photographs of themselves and asking which portrait the media would choose to portray them if they died. Mike Brown was just eighteen years old; he was planning to attend college in the fall.
The #IfTheyGunnedMeDown posts on Twitter follow a certain formula designed for maximum emotional impact. On one side of the image, people are posting a traditional photograph showing themselves dressed nicely and posing for the camera. On the other side, those same people are sharing a more casual pic, which frequently depicts drug and alcohol use or firearms. In light of the Michael Brown shooting, people are asking how the media would choose to represent them if they were shot and killed by police.
The implication seems to be that the media would pass over a picture of the victim wearing a military uniform or a cap and gown in favor of a photo showing consumption of liquor, drug paraphernalia, weapons or gang symbols. Some of the #IfTheyGunnedMeDown photos even contain pornographic material. It seems to be the photos showing graphic nudity that are being retweeted with the greatest frequency.
— no (@JonnyFcknBlaze) August 11, 2014
One set of #IfTheyGunnedMeDown photos shows a young African-American man holding an elderly woman’s hand as they walk through a parking lot. The man’s face is unobscured in the picture. Beside that heart-warming photo is another image, presumably of the same young man. This time, he is holding two large firearms crossed over his chest. This particular set of pictures does not appear to represent the same person who posted them online. They are certainly not images of Mike Brown. It seems that the juxtaposition of images was constructed to make a point about how the young man has been portrayed on the news since he was brutally shot and killed over the weekend.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr,Michael Brown was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. He was unarmed. The incident happened when a police officer confronted Mike Brown and another individual near a St. Louis apartment complex. One of the men allegedly shoved the officer, who responded by firing shots and killing the college-bound teen.
According to the International Business Times, “Police said [Mike] Brown was involved in a struggle for the officer’s gun.” An FBI investigation is underway.
[Image Facebook/Justice for Mike Brown]