The goal of my individual exploration is to challenge the public’s ideas and perceptions surrounding guns. Gun violence, while disturbing, is something that has become quite normalized in our society. We are saddened to hear about an accidental shooting where a child was killed, but not surprised.
In the 1990s, anti-smoking campaigns were successful in catalyzing social and cultural change. The behavior and perception surrounding smoking, which was just as, if not more, normalized as guns are today, changed dramatically in a short amount of time. This public health campaign was successful in causing the public to consider smoking in a new way. What began as a series of images showing the harmful health effects of smoking led to laws regarding smoking in public places.
My goal is to use the methods involved in the anti-smoking campaigns to create a similar public health campaign around guns and gun safety. How would the world look if everyone had a gun? If no one had a gun? How will a child who has been shot look in 10 years? How would future Americans look if we became better physically adapted to use a gun? To avoid gunshots? How can statistics be emphasized in surprising or exaggerated ways to spark debate, questions, discussion?
Through the creation of a public health campaign, I hope to challenge the existing thoughts and perceptions surrounding guns and gun safety and begin to understand whether such a strategy can lead to cultural and behavioral change.