Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Erasing Dylan

For the last several years, I've had a thumbnail pic of Dylan K in the right margin of nearly all my web pages. I have little icons there to direct readers to various pages of interest, and he's been the icon for the page on "the killers" at my Columbine Online site. (It's the site I set up to share huge masses of the evidence I compiled during ten years researching/writing Columbine.) I chose a chilling pic of him, because it was a chilling act. Seemed appropriate.

But every time I see him there, even just those few pixels, it bugs me. And since I've embarked on the campaign to disappear these shooters as much as possible—maximum study with minimum necessary recognition—I've decided to expunge his picture there.

His pix are still on the "killers" page, because that's what it's there for: for people who want to see what they looked like, how they emoted, how they presented themselves. That's important, and that's staying, in that narrow spot. But he's not going to loiter around the rest of my site.

I'm toying with a new icon that doesn't just erase him, but drives home the point that he's been erased. How about this?






That's actual size.

Let me know what you think.

Note: he still shows up on the freeze-frame image for the Columbine intro video. I have to change that in youtube somehow. I'm not sure how. I'll look into it. I'd prefer maybe something like this:


Update: A question in the comments made me realize that while I've been discussing this concept of "disappearing" killers quite a bit, it's still a new idea to most people. So my Buzzfeed piece  should provide some context: Let’s Stop Naming Mass Shooters In Our Reporting. It was an early attempt, but it's a start.


8 comments:

  1. I love this because it is so important. I love you for being so thoughtful and caring to all touched by these horrific events. I also feel like you are doing this to not only educate others on violence but also to support those harmed by it. Thank you.

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    1. Oh, thank you! I really appreciate that. I'm trying.

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  2. I have mixed feelings about this. I hate that mass murderers receive infamy, and I've also been disturbed by the "tribute sites" for the Columbine killers. But I also believe that "othering" people who do horrible things, like calling them "monsters," isn't an honest way of looking at the entire picture. What do you accomplish by erasing his picture? I think his picture would bug anyone, it should. He did the worst thing imaginable and by seeing his picture, we are forced to imagine his atrocities. I can't imagine how hard this angst must be for you given the saturation required to write your book, but I'm not sure erasing his picture accomplishes anything worthwhile. Having said all that, I'm not in your shoes, and I'm certainly not in the shoes of anyone directly affected by Columbine. I'm sure I would feel otherwise if I was. Thank you for your work!

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    1. Thanks for you thoughts, and kind words.

      I agree with you on calling them monsters, but that's a completely different course. I think the Buzzfeed piece I did a few years ago (an early attempt) will give you a sense of what I'm aiming for: http://www.buzzfeed.com/davecullen/stop-naming-mass-shooters-in-reporting

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  3. I've grown up in the Columbine community for over 49 years. I am part of the graduating class of 1980, and we have our 35th class reunion this weekend. My daughters are now proud students at Columbine and have favorite teachers that survived and were heroes during the massacre. We are a close-knit, private community, with many personal stories about that day that will never be told. Your book is the one place I can go to "land" that helps me understand what happened that day. For me, having the name "Dylan" in the icon is almost worse; it shows a first name which by nature first names are more intimate-like we know that person better. Even "Killer Erased" would be better than a first name for me. I hope this makes sense.

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  4. Maybe someone should come up with some sort of universal symbol that is used in lieu of names or faces.

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  5. I love Daisy's idea-a universal symbol that could be used for any story that may have to be told, dedicated to not using the killer's names, but showing solidarity in giving minimum recognition to killers. Would love to see this universal symbol over Anderson's shoulder next time he has to give news of another horrible shooting.

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