The Corner

Politics & Policy

America’s First Social Media Murder

If ever there were an example of the role that fame, narcissism, and notoriety play in the motivation of public killers, we are seeing it today. Not only did the shooter commit his crime on live television, but he has subsequently posted a first-person video of the attacks to his Twitter and Facebook accounts. He is, in real-time, documenting his villainy.

I have long argued that the best thing that Americans can do in such circumstances is to decline to indulge these people. Don’t name them. Don’t watch or read their output. Unless there is an active search ongoing, don’t show their picture. Mass murderers tend to plan ahead. Usually, they think in detail about how their acts will be perceived. Watching as other killers are plastered all over the news — often for weeks on end — only encourages them further.

We now live in a world in which it is possible to kill a person and then to post a high-definition film of the murder a few moments later. Because Twitter and Facebook are effectively “on demand,” anybody who wishes to can implicate themselves in the game. Good people have some responsibility to refuse to do so. We are now in the age of social media. Walter Cronkite isn’t deciding for you any more. You are.

Most Popular

Religion

The Catholic Church’s Rotherham

‘We are deeply saddened.” So begin the many perfunctory statements of many Catholic bishops today in response to the Pennsylvania grand-jury report detailing how priests in that state abused children and how bishops shuffled these priests around. What deeply saddens these men? The rape of children, the ... Read More
Elections

My Journey into the Heart of Obama-Trump Country

After eight years of displeasure with Barack Obama’s presidency, Carla Johnson was ready for a drastic change. The 41-year-old lab technician from Cresco, Iowa, fell for Donald Trump very early in the 2016 primary season. She loved his “take-no-[sh**]” style, his conservative stances on gun control and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Andrew Cuomo Was Never That Great

Governor Cuomo is shouting again. It must be time for reelection. Queen Victoria complained of William Ewart Gladstone that he “speaks to Me as if I was a public meeting.” Andrew Cuomo has the opposite problem: He addresses public meetings as if trying to convince a recalcitrant octogenarian that the fire ... Read More