Too soon after Newtown

The most recent episode of “Glee” was insensitive given recent events.

Meghan O'Connor


Over the past few years, threats of, and actual school shootings, have plagued our newspapers and the homes of Americans. School shootings have become a reality for many families across the country and are a real, tangible issue. However, that doesn’t mean that it should be portrayed by a group of high school a cappella-singing outcasts on the Fox Network television series “Glee.”

Last Thursday evening the episode “Shooting Star” aired for the nation to see. After the students heard two gunshots fired, they ran to find cover and proceeded to send messages to their loved ones in case they didn’t make it out alive.

We need not be reminded that on Dec. 14 of last year 20 children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

To have such a heart-wrenching and catastrophic event be followed only a few short months later by a similar event being played out on a television show is heartless and certainly not in good taste.

An email circulated through Newtown by the Newtown victims advocacy group warning them not to tune in that week for the episode.

The shooter in the episode was one of the Glee characters, Becky, who also has Down syndrome. She was frightened about what the world out there is like and scared that one day she will have to leave the comfort of her school.

Some fans gravitated toward the episode and found it to be emotionally moving, while others deemed it to be very disrespectful.

Some are arguing that not only are “Glee” producers proceeding with an extraordinarily sensitive topic, but they are also placing the gun in the hand of the student who has Down syndrome. I don’t take as much issue with that piece, however.

All of these students are teenagers, living in the same town, attending the same school and dealing with all of the anxiety that any high school student would feel. Anyone could have brought a gun to school, even the student with Down syndrome. I found it to be an attempt to reinforce that we all deal with the same things regardless of race, religion or need.

Newtown resident Andrew Paley was pleased to have seen a “content warning” at the beginning of the episode but said, “Wounds are still fresh for many of the communities families.”

At my very own high school in Chaska, a student sent out a horrifying and threatening email to the school and the administration. The email was sent a mere two weeks after the shooting in Newtown.

I remember hearing accounts from my friends who are still students there and the sheer terror that was brought to the halls that I once walked.

Currently, this is a very real issue and one that I believe should be addressed but not in the form of a television show. People turn their television sets on in the evening to escape for an hour or two from the hectic nature of their day. When families who have been victims can no longer find solace in a quiet evening at home, that is where things have gone wrong.

Fox should have been more supportive to the families who are still dealing with recent events and chosen not to air this episode at this time. The time now is for healing and not to rehash the fear and sadness that families across the country are trying to put behind them.