In the wake of the latest mass shooting, we bring you Randall Miller’s 2012 article from the Daily Serving archives, written after another shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. In the piece, the author explores the inability of images to accurately explain the tragedy and grief afflicted by mass shootings. The editors had decided to remove all images from the initial posting of this article, and we see fit to do the same now.
In one picture, a teenage girl holds a phone to her ear. Her free hand clutches her chest. She’s alone in a parking lot on a sunny day. The look on her face is one of immense terror and grief, as though she were screaming into the phone, not speaking. Her eyes are pressed tight and her mouth is open, exposing all her teeth. Her entire face looks wet.
In another image, a fresh-faced but grim firefighter dominates the left half of the picture. Behind him, more firefighters: not the burly action-hero types, but more like the small-town volunteers who also have day jobs. On the right, we see a couple, perhaps in their late 20s. The man has his arm around the woman. He wears a blue t-shirt and a thousand-yard stare. She is lost in a moment of intense emotion, her hand covering one eye as she cries. Everyone seems to be stunned, walking toward the camera with little sense of real purpose.