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Cat Talk

The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

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Opinion: Jon Romano Does Not Deserve Any Positive Attention

School+shooter%2C+Jon+Romano%2C+goes+viral+on+TikTok+pushing+for+gun+prevention
@jonseekingpeace
School shooter, Jon Romano, goes viral on TikTok pushing for gun prevention

Jon Romano, @jonseekingpeace on TikTok, has gained over 270K followers advocating for the prevention of school shootings and mass shootings  as a formerly convicted school shooter.

  In 2004, a then 16-year-old Romano left a suicide note on his bed before walking into his New York high school with a concealed shotgun. He made his way into a second floor bathroom where he hid, trying to decide his next move for 20 minutes. While in the bathroom, he sent out texts to a few of his friends, telling them to get out and that he had a gun. 

  When a student walked into the bathroom, Romano forced him out at gunpoint and shot at two other students in the hallway. He walked around, looking into classrooms with the gun held at his waist until the assistant principal came up behind him to try to wrestle the gun away from him. During the struggle he fired another shot, hitting a teacher in the leg. No one else was injured or killed. Romano was arrested, and pleaded guilty to attempted murder and reckless endangerment, being  sentenced to 20 years but only serving 17 before being released in 2020.

  Romano has been active on TikTok for almost two years, with his bio reading, “After being part of the problem it’s time to be part of the solution.” He often talks about his time during and after prison, prison reform, mental health awareness, and mass shooting prevention.

  Romano has often said, “My intentions that day were not to kill, but to be killed.” He’s said that he wanted people’s attention, he wanted them to know he was there and to watch him die, one could argue he’s still seeking attention.

  Romano doesn’t deserve the support he’s gotten. Sophomore Grey Hall says, “I find it weird that someone who did such a horrendous thing is able to gain such a following and have so much support.” He goes on to say, “The purpose of his account was to gain attention just like he did when he was a teenager.” 

  Romano portrays himself as being vulnerable, talking about the worst thing he’s ever done in an attempt to prevent it from happening to anyone else. He doesn’t ask for forgiveness, he doesn’t ask for people to like him, he only asks for change. In one of his pinned TikToks he says, “My goal is not redemption for the school shooting I committed, my goal is prevention of other school shootings. That’s why I’m on here, that’s why I share.” And while his message is true, and there definitely needs to be more done to prevent school shootings, he should not be the one advocating for it. 

  A student of Romano’s high school, who was traumatized by the shooting, would not be happy or grateful to see him on their TikTok for you page talking about how to prevent school shootings. Romano is not helping his victims, but he’s actively hurting them. He has built his platform off their trauma –  he’s monetized his crime. While he gains support and money on TikTok, his victims get nothing but the image of their attacker on their screen over and over again.

  Romano says he wants to give insight on the perspective of a kid like him, so that they might be stopped before they do something awful. Romano’s TikToks would not stop a school shooter, and in fact they might actually inspire one. A troubled kid would see Romano’s TikToks and see how someone like them, someone they relate to, can be successful and liked by so many despite having done something so horrendous. They would see that it is possible to cause so much pain and still end up being liked, even admired for how good of a person they are.

  Jon Romano isn’t a good person. His platform undermines his victims and could inspire more people to follow in his footsteps. 

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About the Contributor
Hi! My name is Leah, I'm a sophomore and this is my first year being part of the Cat Talk. I really love to read and crochet and I'm very excited to be a part of this staff and to begin writing!

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  • W

    WendyOct 17, 2023 at 9:51 am

    Leah you are an amazing writer!

    Reply
  • A

    Anéssa MyersOct 16, 2023 at 2:10 pm

    So true!

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  • S

    Sadie KelseyOct 16, 2023 at 1:45 pm

    Leah this was great, you should get paid for this!

    Reply