Students at Columbine High School, the Colorado school made infamous for the mass shooting that occurred there in 1999, have started a campaign called #MyLastShot, which aims to combat gun violence by encouraging that photos of their deaths be shared if ever they are the victims of it, CNN reports.
The campaign directs students to affix a sticker to their ID cards or cell phones that expresses their wishes for photos of their dead bodies to be publicized in the hope that the doubtlessly traumatizing images will drive home the horrors of gun violence and ultimately create policy changes as a result.
“Our country has a history of photography effecting real change,” said Kaylee Tyner, the campaign’s 17-year-old founder. Tyner went on to say that she was inspired by the story of Emmett Till, whose brutal racially-motivated murder caught public attention in large part due to the graphic images of his body that were released.
“His parents insisted the world see the imagery of his death,” she said, referring to Till, adding that the photography “exposed the racial divide in our country and helped usher in the civil rights movement.”
The campaign’s hashtag has quickly spread across social media, as students share photos of themselves holding up their IDs or cell phones emblazoned with the sticker. The sticker simply reads “In the event that I die from gun violence please publicize the photo of my death. #MyLastShot.”
100% agree with this. We have to stop sanitizing this carnage. “These Columbine students want you to see what their bodies look like if they're killed by gun violence” #mylastshot #banassaultweapons #CommonSenseGunLawshttps://t.co/ao4IDIQC2f— Shane Green (@shanegreen) March 31, 2019
CNN‘s high-profile coverage of the trend pushed the cause forward even further, with the hashtag trending strongly on social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Tyner, who was not yet born when the shooting tragedy occurred at her high school, says that she was motivated to action not only by the legacy of Columbine, but her own experience watching media coverage of much more contemporary incidents, specifically the 2012 shooting at a movie theater in nearby Aurora, and last year’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
She says that while there is no way to know exactly how the campaign would play out if one of its participants did fall victim to gun violence, she ultimately felt that the disturbing, but powerful imagery would circulate predominantly on social media, rather than through traditional outlets.
Tyner also recalled her discussions on the topic with her own parents, who she reported were initially shocked by the concept, but ultimately came to the understanding that there was value in the approach.
Advancing the cause, Parkland shooting survivor-turned-prominent anti-violence activist David Hogg shared on Twitter his own #MyLastShot sticker, further driving forward the social buzz around the campaign.