Anyone who has Instagram or Facebook most likely knows about the latest controversial post. The fashion account for the brand “Bstory” posted a picture on Instagram which promotes sweatshirts and other apparel embroidered with the names of schools where a shooting has taken place. Some of the places include Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech and Stoneman Douglas High School. In addition to the names on the sweatshirts, they also had a few holes in them, which is very suggestive. Bstory premiered this apparel at a show during New York Fashion Week.
People have a tendency to glorify or deny school shootings, and both are frankly repulsive. School shootings are tragedies where people died and were severely injured, yet some people have the effrontery to put them on clothing or even deny that they happened.
I will never forget how on Dec. 14, 2012, my middle school went into a lockdown for more than an hour. My peers and I were all crouched under a desk in the corner of the classroom, and we had no idea what was going on; we could only guess that something was wrong, because no regular drill would last that long. Afterwards, our teachers didn’t let us use our computers, phones or anything that could connect us to the outside world. It was only later, when I was picked up from school, that I learned exactly what happened less than 20 minutes away in the town that bordered mine. I was 12-years-old, and thinking about how terrifying it was still makes my stomach churn. I cannot even begin to imagine how frightening it was for the students, staff and families affected by the shooting.
And yet today, there are people denying it ever happened or glorifying the events by turning them into fashion. It is utterly revolting.
Most people know who Alex Jones is; he is a far-right conspiracy theorist who denies that the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Stoneman Douglas High School ever happened. Instead, he is convinced that there were paid actors on the news convincing the public that the shootings occurred. Families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting later filed a defamation lawsuit against Jones.
Bstory’s post about the sweatshirts took it in another direction. I honestly don’t care what their intention was, but the way the majority of people interpreted it was that they are disrespecting the victims of the school shootings and are perhaps even glorifying the shootings enough to wear them as a fashion statement. Regardless of what their intention was, the apparel is repulsive and inappropriate.
It is absurd that people try to profit off these tragedies; whether it is by drawing attention to yourself by claiming that they did not happen, or by creating some fashion statement, it is abhorrent.
Tragedies are not something that can be profited from and are not something that can be denied. Real people suffered the consequences of these shootings, and minimizing these tragedies by saying that they don’t exist or wearing them as some kind of sick fashion statement is honestly just plain cruel.
The only positive thing that should come out of a tragedy is legislation to help prevent any similar occurrence in the future. Not thoughts and prayers, not a callow, uneducated man screaming about how it never happened and how people were just hired to pretend that it did to fool the world and certainly not apparel meant to be worn as a fashion statement, reminding people of the loss that they have suffered.
Bstory should remove these particular pieces of apparel and apologize for it. What they did never will be okay, but that will be the best course of action for them. Tragedies are not meant to be profited from.
Anika Veeraraghav is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.