The coverage of these tragedies and social life on the internet have fueled the problems that the law of the United States Second Amendment allows in the country.
Before playing a key NBA playoff game against the Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr wasn’t thinking about the game for a moment. “No basketball questions matter today, we have suffered many tragedies in recent weeks. When are we going to do something? I’m tired of coming here to pay my respects, I’m tired of the silences. Enough, we can’t stay here and just read and shut up.” The technician’s reflection stunned the journalists present, and that is that the murder of 21 people, 19 of them children, at the hands of an 18-year-old boy who entered a Texas school armed, is the straw that breaks the camel’s back diminished by social networks.
Columbine, Virginia Tech, Orlando, San Bernardino, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Parkland, and now Uvalde. These are just some of the places where mass shootings have taken place in the United States in the last 20 years, violent crimes that are increasing in the last decade, reaching a staggering 212 cases so far this year. Due to the increase in these acts, there are studies trying to determine the specific underlying cause. Researchers James Meindl and Jonathan Ivy say these crimes are “contagious” and are linked to a lot of traditional news or social media reactions. “Widespread imitation serves as a model to explain how one person’s behavior can influence another person to adopt similar behavior.”
Jennifer Murray, a professor of Justice and Social Research at the University of Arizona, argues that coverage of these killings ultimately contributes to the shooter’s growth in popularity. The teacher demonstrates that shootings like the one at Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook were inspired by the famous Columbine massacre in 1999. The authors of these cases showed signs of falling in love with the Colorado attack through self-recordings, photos and notes. Researchers also found that shooters are drawn to the media’s ability to easily facilitate fame. The combination of the narcissistic tendencies of these shooters and the increased media coverage have helped these crimes increase.
The influence of the RRSS
SASCHA STEINBACH, SASCHA STEINBACH / EFE
It is not news that they are already part of the day to day of global society, and it is that for example in Spain around 70% of the population was in some social network in 2010; ten years later the percentage has risen to 86%. This phenomenon is equivalent worldwide, and has changed the way the media work on these issues. Kristina Lee, an attorney at Elon University, explains in a report that as social media usage increases, so has news coverage of mass shootings. Lee believes this also further reflects the shooters’ desire for fame and their tendency to copy a crime.
The increase in the number of mass shootings since 2011, and the rise of online social life show that social networks most likely have some effect on these crimes. On May 14, 18-year-old Payton Gendron murdered 10 people in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. The relatives of the victims horrified criticized the social network Facebook, for spreading images through which some of them found out about the news; and to the Twitch platform, specialized in live content, which allowed the author to broadcast the massacre live. Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office was investigating social media companies after the tragedy. An article on this case from Forbes magazine explains that the shooter brought his community with him through a live broadcast. These were primed and ready to send the horrific images of innocent people being massacred before the social networking site, Twitch, could take them down.
The Uvalde tragedy has shattered the established paradigm around the possession of weapons, and has placed its defenders in the spotlight of American society. But the conversation about the negative influence of social media in these catastrophes remains under the radar.
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