Do Not Share The Video

This is not a political article — this is about humanity.

Earlier today this story broke:

Immediately people were sharing the Facebook Live video — specifically the clip where Stephens walks up and murders an elderly black man in plain daylight.

I have not watched the video. Do not watch the video.

Do not share the video.

We have become desensitized to humanity; to each other. We. And when “we” become desensitized, “we” only think of “me”. When the news reports roll in the main stories are almost always about murder, bombs, or conflict going on around the world. Every. Single. Day. We watch the news, or read the news, or see shared stories on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat and go about our daily lives. Nothing is wrong with that — in fact, it’s what we should be doing. However, the side effect from constantly hearing about and seeing traumatic events is an indifference and numbness to trauma.

According to the United Nation’s Global Study on Homicide:

Intentional homicide caused the deaths of almost half a million people (437,000) across the world in 2012…[and]… the global average homicide rate stands at 6.2 per 100,000 population.

Percentage wise .0062% of the world’s population in 2012 was a homicide victim. Meaning over .0124% of the world was directly involved and witnessed a homicide (whether that’s the killer, victim, witness, etc.) in 2012. Obviously homicide rates differ from country to country, so let’s focus in on the United States.

According to that same study, in 2013 the US had a homicide rate of 4.9 per 100,000 people. So while there are many homicides in the US per year (and obviously the rates differ for different cities and neighborhoods), most people will never come in direct contact with a homicide event. That being said, everyone comes in indirect contact with these events every single day.

We become numb.

A few years ago there was a video of an extremist terrorist beheading an American journalist. I did not know what I was watching when I clicked the link. I watched the video. Since then I have blocked that memory out of my mind and tried to forget that I watched one of the cruelest actions a human can do to another. But I had watched the video. Many people watched the video.

The majority of people I know have watched some video where they witness a real life homicide; whether it is a police shooting, extremist beheading, or in today’s case a Facebook Live stream. It shakes us up. We become numb.

The screen that provides the medium between us and the humans in the video make it seem Grand Theft Auto like. We know it’s real. We feel real emotions. But even so, it seems surreal. We become numb.

When we become numb, we lose our sense of humanity. When we are constantly exposed to trauma, trauma is no longer trauma — it’s just “another event” or “the way things are”. When we unknowingly click on a video that showcases a homicide, our life changes. Our mindset changes. Our perception of reality changes. We are numb.

This past week I started reading The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute and one of the most insightful parts of the book (so far) discusses how humans typically spend more time trying to fix what is going wrong than helping things go right. The book argues, rightfully so, that the order of those two should be reversed. So with that I offer not a solution, but something to think about — myself included.

Think about how you view other people. Equally? Some above, some below? All below?

Think about how you view news stories on homicide. Are you indifferent? Are you enraged? Do you ignore them completely?

Think about how you would feel if someone shared a video of your loved one being killed at the hands of another human.

Think about what it is that you can do to help yourself and others think about humanity.

If I was murdered I wouldn’t want to be “just another news story”. I wouldn’t want the video of my murder shared across the world through a click of a button. I wouldn’t want to be remembered as a statistic.

I would want to be remembered as me — a fellow human.

Do not share the video.

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