Do we really need to watch live shootings on Facebook? At 12:30 AM this morning, a gunman opened fire and shot 7 people including a cop. The shootings happened in a popular summer resort town, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Nobody has ever accused me of being Einstein, but I am starting to see a pattern. The pattern I see is that it seems to not concern us much that America is violent. That last observation is an even greater concern for me than the violence. It appears we just don't care.
This is America, and the fact there were shootings is not shocking. We just came off a week where a U.S. Congressman and others were shot in Alexandria, Virginia. A former UPS employee thought a gun was a good way to deal with workplace issues in the San Francisco area. Some children were shot on a playground in Chicago.
America appears to be comfortably numb to our violence. Not only do we appear to not care we're turning live violence into entertainment. Thanks to social media if you have a smartphone and know how to use it, you can become a star for a day.
That is what happened at Myrtle Beach, SC early this morning. A fireman said he always wanted to have a viral post on Facebook. When the shooting started, he set his smartphone to record and turned to the action on the street.
Did he call 911, or give the recording to the police? That would take valuable time, and his moment of stardom was at hand. Success comes from seizing the moment. Besides, the police can always get it off Facebook if they need it. No need for anyone to call. Just point and record and stream it to Facebook.
I hope one day this Fireman isn't the subject of a viral moment for social media when someone wants to post a video of a burning building collapsing with him in it.
Is social media making us more gruesome? What will happen when smartphones have zoom technology? Will we then watch for moments when we can broadcast live the grimace as someone is on the receiving end of a fatal gunshot? That should be great entertainment and widely shared.
We'll have some real social media stars then.
We like to think we are more civilized than the citizens in the days of Ancient Rome. They were pretty barbaric by our standards today. At least, we like to think they were more barbaric than we are.
They would go to the Roman Coliseum and watch gladiators spill their blood or the blood of their opponents. The crowd would vote with their thumbs up or thumbs down the fate of a vanquished gladiator. Nobody really kept statistics on how that vote usually went. I have my suspicions more died than lived.
Humans have a fascination with death. That especially seems to be the case in America. I've traveled overseas a lot and other cultures seem to not have the lust for violence Americans have. TV in other parts of the world is a lot different than TV in the USA. There are far fewer programs with graphic violence than there are in the USA. If violence and murder are part of a story, often it is talked about as having happened and not shown it all its gory detail.
I don't know what the fix is for America and our taste for violence. We seem to crave it, and the streets and social media are turning us into a nation of Ancient Romans. Instead of going to the Coliseum, we now just log on.
You can do a search like I did for the photo for this article and come up with a menu of opportunities to sate your desire for blood and guts.
It's the new coliseum at your fingertips.
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