This past Thursday, April 11, Glee aired an episode called “Shooting Star”, which depicted a school “shooting”. In the past, I’ve been a Glee fan, but stopped watching in the middle of season 3 when I got bored with the unrealistic drama of all of it. So I am somewhat familiar with the storylines and the mood of the show. I personally didn’t view Thursday’s episode, but reading the synopsis was enough to bring me to the brink of tears. From what I read, I found it disturbing, gratuitously overdramatic, and insensitive.
As a firsthand survivor of a shooting where I witnessed my sisters’ deaths, I will speak for myself and say that, had I viewed this episode, it is highly likely that I would have had an intense PTSD episode; in fact I guarantee I would have turned the TV off immediately and then sat there shaking and crying. All it would have taken is hearing the bangs and screams. When I remember December 9, 2007, it is those sounds I hear in my head. Trust me when I say it’s the most terrifying thing you could ever hear. Why anyone would want to recreate that is… Well quite frankly I find it revolting.
Furthermore, this episode was aired in April, an absolutely infamous month in the realm of school shootings. April 11 is 13 days before the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. To air a TV show depicting a mass shooting (or possible one) at any time is deeply troubling, but the fact that Ryan Murphy chose this month is insulting. In the popular media, there is sort of the impression that since Columbine was 14 years ago, people are “over it.” That is far from the truth. As a shooting victim, we never get over things. Part of my community is Columbine survivors and I assure you that they were affected by this episode.
I can’t comprehend why American TV producers would want to reproduce such a horrifying event. Are we really so low in finding ways to spark arousal that we will stoop to using a mass shooting to do so? In this sense I find the Hunger Games-like mentality of our society is clearly displayed.
This is not a game. This is not a TV show. This is not a drama to act out in order to get some viewers.
This is real life. This is our reality. These are the experiences we had as survivors of horror, and it’s not for your entertainment or ours. Re-experiencing these events in the confines of my mind is quite enough; I really don’t need to see it in live color on the TV in front of me.
My deepest desire is that Ryan Murphy, and all others that glorify violence in American society, would wake up. To all of you, I would say: please, please stop. I say that not maliciously, but pleadingly. Please, please wake up. See what you are building this society to be. Open your heart and see.