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Wednesday, 22 June 2016


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I like to dip into the series, That´s me in the Picture, in the UK newspaper the Guardian. The stories which are from the subject´s point of view give a great perspective on the photograph itself and sometimes also on the motivation of the photographer. For a fine example check out https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/may/29/photography-don-mccullin-liverpool.

As an aside... Far more probable that school kids will be involved in a traffic collision or other situation where 1st aid is required than a shooter on school grounds. Better to teach basic 1st aid than to fuel fears about (happily) exceedingly rare events.

In my elementary school days we had "duck and cover" drills - which were marginally useful in case of tornados (midwest) or earthquakes (CA). But we also had comprehensive classes on fire safety: reducing fire risk in the home, planning and executing home fire drills. I reckon the latter actually saved a few lives.

Sort of like those "duck'n'cover" drills they had us do in grade school in the '50s and '60s, though probably not as futile.

What a good point to make and what a super example.

This photo reminds me why I moved from the nation of my birth (the USA) and now call Iceland my home. Equal gay rights, which was the norm here in the 00s, was the primary reason, but now that I'm a father, I just cannot imagine the fear and risk of sending my child to school in the USA with the gun crime statistics.

I had a visceral reaction reading the text under this image when I first saw it.

At my Ohio elementary school in the 1960s, we had periodic "air raid drills," as they were called. Upon the sound of a particular alarm -- which differed from a fire alarm -- we were taught to evacuate the classroom in an orderly manner, press our head against one forearm while leaning against the hallway lockers, and wrap our other forearm around the back of our neck. This stance afforded some protection against flying glass and other debris if our school was bombed. It was probably a holdover from World War II, but it would have been useful if a tornado hit us, too. Fire alarms were different -- we evacuated the whole school.

Shows how many (maybe all?) photos benefit from a caption.

Which shows that while a picture may be worth a thousand words, some pictures require words to provide context and meaning.

It is not sensible to post children's pictures on facebook. People are comprehensively advised not to do so, but they're still at it. This has a name, and it's 'stupidity.'
And why does that mother believe it's so important that everybody knows her child was practicing a lockdown drill?
It's all nice and well to know photographs may not have the signification that is apparent 'prima facie' (at least for those who aren't aware of it), but the mere fact that this picture became 'viral' is a perfect symptom of the kind of dumbness that defines facebook.
Sorry if I act like a bitter party spoiler, but this is just absurd. It's a child standing on a toilet, for Pete's sake!

Interesting that in the Guardian article linked by Jeremy T (take the full stop off the link or it will not work) the young girl subject, now an adult, says "... but it’s not like looking at a family snap. It’s an art photograph". She's right of course but even more right than she knows since Don McCullin is paying homage to an earlier photograph ;-) .

These types of school alarms are becoming pretty common, not just for drill. All it takes is someone on foot being chased by cops in the neighborhood and schools might declare a lockdown. Happened when I was working as a substitute in Alaska a couple times. It wasn't very traumatic though since everyone had cellphones and could tell what was going on. Students welcomed the break, like an indoor fire drill.

Younger kids are different, and I could see this affecting them more seriously. I used to have nuclear war nightmares in the seventies and eighties, and I would not be surprised to see some kids eventually have "shooter" nightmares.

Just chilling!

"Don't make the mistake of assuming you know what you're actually seeing just from a superficial glance." You mean like a McCurry image?

We all know gun control is a real issue in USA, but still... I'm absolutely shocked that you live in a country where three year olds have to practice what to do if a man with a gun breaks in the school.

What Gaspar said.
Also, Manuel - why is it stupid to post a picture of a child on Facebook? Seriously, I don't understand - what are the issues involved? I mean, aside from the child later being a bit peeved perhaps, where's the harm?

@Manuel, who "advises" one not to post children's photos on Facebook, and why? You have expressed your opinion very strongly, with the apparent assumption that all reasonable people should agree; but I don't.

Photos of my child have appeared on this blog.

My kids are blissfully unaware of these types of drills. And I am glad of that. I do wonder what effect this has on some kids later in life.


I hope after Orlando they will update guidelines with "hiding place without escape route is a trap. Get ready for a fight". It is hard to explain this to three years old though.

As a mom, I would not use Facebook as a platform to post a politically charged photo of my child. Why? Sally Mann's horror stories of a stalker after her children's photos were published comes to mind.

I can see some people are unaware of the existence of some potential threats aroused by posting children's pictures on the internet. In a way it's good, because it means they haven't experienced the suffering caused by such perpetrators. As they say, 'ignorance is bliss.' However, These fellow commenters should get some sort of information on the subject instead of voicing their anger against people who help spread good, sensible advice. It's easy for an offender to trace a child whose picture has been posted on facebook, hence the danger I see in 'sharing' such pictures.
I didn't mean to insult anyone 'ad hominem' in any way, but it is a fact that people are being advised not to post child pictures on the internet - especially on facebook. It worries me that some insist in doing so - as it does seeing that there are people who react bluntly to this kind of advice.
Then there's a lesser issue: parents don't own their children. Do they ask the latter for permission to upload their photos? What if a child doesn't want to be seen on facebook? Do parents know better, or is it that the child has no will of her/his own?
I really shouldn't need to be explaining this on a blog visited by lots of intelligent people, but it looks like some commenters lack sensibility and awareness. I wish I could say I couldn't care less.



We did air raid drills when I was a kid in the 60s. I didn't feel any less innocent. But hey, everyone is different.

Of course the supposed caption wouldn't have any relationship to her mother being in "Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence™" advocacy group (as backed by Bloomberg)? There is an entire industry devoted to depriving civilians of common sense armed defense.

Widespread social media makes these kind of false narratives and emotional manipulations easier than ever.

Oh Lordy, I can feel myself morphing into "someone is wrong on the internet man. Time for a lie down.

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