Monday, December 26, 2016

Posing with Presents

While looking for local stories this morning I came across this tweet from a teen in Howard County:

New year, bigger guns @ Howard County, Maryland 

It was accompanied by a photo of three young people posing with guns on the steps to a backyard deck. Maybe high school, maybe college aged.

I'm not using the photo, although it's easily available on twitter, because these folks may be underage and I just feel squeamish about giving out identifying information.

But this "look at us with our cool guns" photo disturbs me. Show me your Christmas outfits, your new puppy, your tech toys, your Christmas tree or your holiday celebrations. I'm cool with that. I'm not cool with the concept that in the new year we'll be needing bigger guns. To the contrary I think we need focus on better communication and fewer guns.

I don't know whether posting a photo like this gets you lots of "likes" on Instagram. I don't know if it's necessarily a hazard for future job prospects, either. It might be.

Now I am under no illusion that Twitter or Instagram exist for the purpose of getting young people to post things that make me feel good. They don't. But this little slice of life makes me wonder how much of this culture is out there in our community.

We have students who make racist threats against fellow students in our county. And we have young people posing with guns. We just have to hope there's not any crossover between those two groups. I can't say "this is not Howard County" because clearly it is.

As for me I got a cool machine that spiralizes vegetables. I probably won't pose for a photo with it. And I'm hardly a danger to others, except maybe to my family members who aren't too keen on vegetables.

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