Mass Shootings and Modern-Day Looting
Updated: Jul 21
This thought needed to live somewhere else, other than my Facebook and Twitter pages.
Photo Credit: Orlando Sentinel (article is linked)
After the shooting at Pulse, some of us grieved by leaving objects at meaningful spaces throughout Orlando. We did this for the families of victims, for the survivors, and for ourselves (the "community") as part of a collective grieving process.
We DID NOT DO THIS SO A MUSEUM CAN TAKE THEM, put them in their storage units, and then SELL ADMISSION TICKETS FOR PEOPLE TO SEE THEM.
WE did not consent. WE DO NOT CONSENT.
THE LOOTING OF MASS SHOOTING MEMORIALS BY MUSEUMS IS MODERN-DAY GRAVE ROBBING.
When other museums are repatriating stolen goods, Orlando institutions are teaching museums elsewhere to STEAL objects from communities for exhibition.
Pam Schwartz from the Orange County Regional History Center has joined the mass shooting circuit and is traveling from location to location teaching collectors how to re-victimize grieving communities into perpetuity under the false pretense of historical preservation.
These are public tragedies. Our methods of public grieving should not become private property.
This woman, affiliated with the OnePULSE Foundation, is another who made their career out of the mass shooting. As the article linked above states, "Pam Schwartz, chief curator in 2016 and now the History Center’s executive director"—has effectively used the robbery of public grieving sites to both transform the new depths that shit museums are willing to descend to and ascend her stubby career ladder.
There are too many folks out there eager to profit off mass murder, in whatever way they can and in whatever way they know how to. Whether it's small businesswoman Barbara Poma trying to venture into the tourism industry through her nonprofit, or this "chief curator" assisting with turning the mass shooting into a spectacle to gawk at.
To add insult to inury, they are now using the word "rescue" in place of pilfering and theft. As if she too is a first responder, completing some kind of honorable and noble task of saving material goods when human life could not be saved.
"In Orlando, History Center staff rescued 12,000 objects from the summer heat, rain and bugs in the weeks after June 12, 2016."
Perhaps they were meant to disintegrate into the earth, whether on-site or in the landfill somewhere. The seems more ethical than attaching them to a price tag, especially when the stories of most items are unknown, untraceable, and serve no purpose other than being observed from a distant 3rd party.
Give me back the items I mourned with. They are not yours to sell. They are not yours to keep. They are not yours to exhbit.