IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Timna Burston on School Shooting and Sacrifice, at the Salon
May 20, 2013 at 4:21 pm, by Timna Burston
Timna Burston, Egla Arufa, glazed ceramic and spray paint, 15X13X10 inches
This piece was created in the wake of the school shooting in Sandy Hook elementary school earlier this year. The piece was inspired by the revolving parts of a toy gun, as I was thinking of how terrifying it is that children or even untrained adults would have access to weaponry.
During the Salon, I shared a piece written by Susan Freeman in her book “Teaching Hot Topics.” In it, she shares the story of the Egla Arufa, wherein if one finds a person murdered, the elders must sacrifice a cow. This cow is meant to atone for the fact that the elders may have inadvertently caused the murder by not putting the provisions in place to assure people’s safety.
expected to make a petty sacrifice to atone for their negligence, instead of making a real change in policy that could solve the problem.
I thought of politicians lining up to share their grief over the victims of a school shooting while maintaining the same gun laws that put weapons in the hands of citizens. Today, the ritual may be different, but the result is the same – a ceremonial denial, a spectacle, is the best way to maintain a broken world.