Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Price of Spectacle

Violence has long been a spectator sport.  The Romans had their gladitorial matches.  In medieval Europe, executions were often public.  Today's supposedly more enlightened crowds gather in stadiums to witness competitions involving a ball or a puck - and sometimes a brawl.  Movies are filled with explosions and destruction.

We're addicted to it.

Which is one reason why, a young woman in Ohio filmed her friend being raped and broadcast it online, giggling the entire time and not even trying to help as her screaming friend was pinned to the floor.  The video picked up hundreds of "likes" before one shocked viewer finally called emergency services.

The woman's statement to the court was that she was "filming to preserve evidence, not to embarrass or to shame anybody".

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Like so many other people who witness terrible events and do nothing, she has trouble with the concept of how actions (or inactions) can have harmful consequences.  The easy fame of social media, however brief, can dehumanize someone to the point where they can't make rational decisions.  For example, how many hundreds of comments have there been goading a troubled person to suicide, or encouraging a malcontent to shoot up a public place?

We need to find ways to stop this.  But like any addiction, it's hard to break.

As for the aforementioned young woman, she is facing a very long jail term for being complicit in the crime.  She deserves whatever she gets.


  1. Wow! How could anyone watch, video and do nothing? I agree that she deserves to be in jail!

  2. I'm glad she's serving time! Some "friend."