Yes, too much.
The Columbine school shooting may have been 20 years ago, but the families of those whose lives were taken will never go a few days without thinking about what Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold did.
You can say the same about Adam Lanza’s 2012 murderous rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, where he killed 20 first-grade students and six teachers.
Despite this, “avant-garde” fashion brand Bstroy thought they were being smart when they presented a show in New York this past weekend. Here’s the Guardian:
In a series of images posted to their Instagram on Monday, the label Bstroy highlighted a series of hooded sweatshirts featuring the names of schools that are well known as the sites of some of the deadliest mass shootings in American history.
To further bring the point home – and there is a point, they say – the sweatshirts, emblazoned with the names Columbine, Sandy Hook and Stoneman Douglas, were tattered with bullet-like holes.
Right, where to begin?
Firstly, there was immediate backlash from some rather prominent names:
Angelina Lazo, a survivor of Parkland, Florida, school shooting, was among the many whose lives have been touched by the American gun epidemic, who levied a sharp rebuke to the designs.
“I lived through this … to make money off of something pathetic like this is disgusting,” she wrote in part. “You don’t even know how it is to live everyday with reminders everywhere you go.”
Here’s a tweet from the Vicki Soto Memorial Fund, set up to commemorate the life of a teacher killed in the Sandy Hook shooting:
One more reaction, this time from Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in Parkland:
It’s almost like the two men behind the brand, Brick Owens and Dieter Grams, didn’t bother to consult with anybody before going ahead with the launch.
Let’s see what they had to say:
Owens responded to the backlash shortly thereafter with a post to Instagram.
“Sometimes life can be painfully ironic. Like the irony of dying violently in a place you considered to be a safe, controlled environment, like school,” the printed statement read. “We are reminded all the time of life’s fragility, shortness, and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential.”
“We are making violent statements,” Grams, known as Du, told the New York Times in a profile of the brand from last week. “That’s for you to know who we are, so we can have a voice in the market. But eventually that voice will say things that everyone can wear.”
Wild idea – maybe speak with the families of those killed in these shootings before trying to profit off the back of violent murders?
Sandy Hook Promise, an organisation set up to protect children from gun violence, would probably have given the pair a serious earful.
The organisation’s PSA videos are usually pretty jarring, and they’ve delivered again with this year’s ‘Back-To-School Essentials’ video:
Amazing how American states can ban the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes off the back of seven deaths in the country, but kids get gunned down in schools every year and assault rifles are still freely sold.
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