Is the Tragedy in Virginia Made Worse by Sharing Violent Video?

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Today in Virginia two innocent people died due to the actions of a man wielding a handgun.

WDBJ7 correspondent Alison Parker and cameraman, Adam Ward, were shot to death during a live remote report this morning by a disgruntled former co-worker Vester Lee Flanagan II, aka Bryce Williams.

The video of the live broadcast made its way around the internet and social media before another video shot by Flanagan and tweeted showed him sneaking up behind Adam Ward and opening fire. When I first saw that the tweet was sent out by the shooter, I thought he was posting a video to exonerate himself - I misread his words, he tweeted "I filmed the shooting", I mistakenly took it to mean he filmed it so he couldn’t have perpetrated it. I was wrong. I clicked. I regretted it. Once it was clear what the video was, people kept sharing it, hundreds from watched, retweeted and shared the video.

Why? Obviously it’s up to each individual to decide whether they want to watch it or not but why would you? It was horrific, disturbing and left me with a feeling I am neither used to or at all comfortable with.

Twitter did the right thing suspending the account and hopefully no one has downloaded and re-uploaded this disturbing video anywhere publicly.

I think in our lust for information and to know everything we are easily susceptible to sharing without conscience I don’t want to get used to seeing this, the story itself was bad enough - we do not need the images of humanity snuffed out making the rounds in every inbox and timeline. When we put the focus on that part of the story we do not honor the victims rather glorify the criminal. As we sensationalize the video we desensitize ourselves to the act.

There is already a plague of gun violence in this country we need not become used to it, we need not allow our hearts to harden because of it.

The only value this video should have is evidentiary.