Culture Clips: When a Shooter Streams a Massacre

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New Zealand

The world was horrified last week when news spread of the horrific shooting that claimed the lives of 50 people at two New Zealand mosques on March 15. And though similar mass shootings around the world have become a terrible recurring story over the last couple of decades, such wanton carnage increasingly has a disturbing social media component to it as well. 

The fact that the alleged shooter live-streamed the massacre on Facebook has provoked plenty of reaction. Writing for The Conversation, Stuart M. Bender was one of many voices expressing concern for the ways that “social media create a spectacle society that makes it easier for terrorists to achieve notoriety.” The Atlantic’s Taylor Lorenz adds that “every aspect of the shootings was designed to gain maximum attention online, in part by baiting the media.”

And in his New York Times article “A Mass Murder of, and for, the Internet,” Kevin Roose says of the meticulously planned assault, “But a surprising thing about it is how unmistakably online the violence was, and how aware the shooter on the videostream appears to have been about how his act would be viewed and interpreted by distinct internet subcultures.”

Politico’s Jack Shafer staked out a contrary position in his article “Don’t Censor the New Zealand Shooting Videos“: “Averting our gaze from mass murder won’t keep it from happening—and it won’t even stop the murderers from spreading their sick ideas.”

Finally, Congress has called for a meeting of top tech execs from Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Alphabet (Google and YouTube’s parent company) to talk about strategies to prevent the dissemination of such videos via their influential online platforms.

In another social media arena, Tumblr’s decision to ban porn from its site late last year has led to a significant drop in its traffic. The Verge reports that the number of visitors to the site has dropped from 521 million in December to 370 million in February, a skid of nearly 30%. Late last year, Tumblr CEO Jeff D’onofrio explained the company’s rational for banning explicit and pornographic content: “There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content. We will leave it to them and focus our efforts on creating the most welcoming environment possible for our community.” 

And researchers continue to study the possible connection between online pornography and the rising incidence of young men struggling with impotency. Again, social media is implicated as a gateway to explicit material. Mary Sharpe of the Reward Foundation (a British organization focused on helping people understand the influence of pornography) told the U.K.’s Guardian,

Porn stars have Instagram accounts so they’re getting kids to look at them on Instagram, and within their material they’ll say: ‘Look at my latest video.’ One or two clicks and you’re looking at hardcore porn.

Kids today also are reportedly failing to develop life skills associated with adulthood, in part because parents continue to do things for them.  Forget so-called helicopter or even lawn-mower parents (those who hover and those who pave the way in before their children, respectively). The new term du jour for such folks: “snowplow parents.” And that approach includes parents who are willing to bulldoze legal and ethical boundaries in an attempt to secure their children’s future—a story we’ve seen play out this week with actresses Lori Laughlin and Felicty Huffman and their alleged illegal activities to get their children enrolled in elite universities. 

Meanwhile, the BBC reports new research that suggests that people’s brains aren’t fully developed—that is, they aren’t fully “adult”—until they hit their 30s.

Elsewhere, openly gay, Grammy-winning British singer Sam Smith has now come out as “nonbinary.” “I’m not male or female. I think I’ll float somewhere in between,” he said on actor Jameela Jamil’s Instagram show I Weigh Interviews. And Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling is dealing with social media criticism from some after elaborating further on Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s “intense” gay relationship. 

And though we’ve frequently reported that teens today are struggling more with depression and mental health issues than ever before, yet another new study this week—spearheaded by San Diego State University professor of psychology Jean Twenge—reinforces that that trend. Gizmodo summarizes the some of the study’s key findings:

It found that rates of depressive episodes and serious psychological distress have dramatically risen among [teens] in recent years, while hardly budging or even declining for older age groups.

“I think this is quite a wake-up call,” Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a professor of psychology and education at the University of Southern California told Time, which also reported on the study. “These findings are coming together with other kinds of evidence that show we’re not supporting our adolescents in developmentally appropriate ways.”

But lest we land this week’s Culture Clips on such an anxious note, Christian singer Lauren Daigle talks about how her relationship with a God who “loves me beyond my wildest imagination” helps her to cope with her fears and anxieties.

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Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Guns should be outlawed as well as any type of alcohol and all abortion clinics. As a Christian I believe guns and alcohol are two of our worst dangers to society, and I've always been pro-life, no ifs ands or buts about it.


All the drunk driving, school shootings, and mass murders on the news should at least confirm that. And in my opinion we should all live in a peaceful world anyway, so there should be no logical reason for us to need to protect ourselves period.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The logical fallacies within that statement (other than abortion clinics) are so blatantly self-evident, that it does not even require a rebuttal.
-David the Clown
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. So how do you want us to protect ourselves in this country? Guns are not bad! It's the people that use them that can be bad. Abortion should be outlawed I agree. Alcohol should be used for cooking purposes only.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Chuck Anziulewicz More than 1 year ago
Forgive me for being off-topic, but I drop by the PluggedIn website to see the latest movie reviews, and I see Gaspar Noe's latest film, "Climax," on the list. Since I have seen all of Noe's previous films, I click on the title to read the review. But no dice. Instead there's a disclaimer: "In some cases, advance trailers and other press make it clear that a movie is entirely out of bounds, even for our trained reviewers."

Fair enough. But why even list the title? Why not just ignore the film? If anything, your disclaimer will arouse curiosity about the film, which is in very limited release anyway.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yeah, that was disappointing. I can imagine a few (maybe not many) parents out there whose arthouse-leaning teens might be interested in seeing Climax, and even a brief description of WHY the content was so objectionable would have been helpful. Drugs? Sex? Sadistic violence? General perversity? Knowing Gaspar Noe, it's probably all of the above. But the vagueness and sense of "Here be dragons" makes the movie seem forbidden and thus enticing.

Plus, a rundown of all the objectionable adult content in a Gaspar Noe movie would have been pretty entertaining in and of itself.

-- The Kenosha Kid
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I find it a little annoying myself. It started with one of the 50 Shades movies, and now it seems like they are arbitrarily declining to review certain movies.
Plugged in doesn't review lots of films, not sure why they have to make a statement with some of them
-David the Clown  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gaspar Noe makes movies that I enjoy watching exactly once, preferably on an empty stomach. Lars Von Trier is in the same category. But in an era when so many movies are homogenized, franchised and bled of creative risk, their work has real value.

Here I could start pining for the glory days of New Hollywood in the '70s, but I'll refrain.

-- The Kenosha Kid
charitysplace More than 1 year ago
The MPAA rating has been assigned for “disturbing content involving a combination of drug use, violent behavior and strong sexuality, and for language and some graphic nudity.” <- Check the content review at Kids in Mind. It's always explicit in telling it like it is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sad that Kids-in-Mind is going under. I've used them for years
-David the Clown
charitysplace More than 1 year ago
Sad that Kids-in-Mind is going under. I've used them for years <- pony up and donate a few bucks.
Kendall Litzsinger More than 1 year ago
how about you stop blaming the media and start taking ownership that the problem is guns and those who support guns. Video games, movies, songs, none of that has anything to do with gun violence, poor regulation of guns is the problem. guns are the problem, get progressive, it's not 1950 anymore! #NotMyPresident 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would have to argue that the problem is people, not guns. Sometimes people use guns, but if we regulated every object that is used for bad purposes we would have to also regulate knives, wrenches, brooms, bricks, pretty much everything really. If everything is regulated, that takes away our freedoms. If guns are regulated, who’s to say we shouldn’t regulate the right to free speech also? 

Also, even if we “regulate” guns, the criminals will still get their hands on them. It would only hinder the good citizens from defending themselves effectively. We regulate illegal drugs, but people still get their hands on them. Now you have something to think about. :)
Chuck Anziulewicz More than 1 year ago
Knives are used most often to cut food, Wrenches are used for plumbing and other repairs. Broom are used to sweep up dirt and to fly through the air. Bricks are used to build houses. 

Guns exist for one purpose: KILLING. And often at a distance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I mean, knives do kill more people in America in a year than rifles do...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

And just because we use knives, wrenches, brooms and bricks for specific purposes does not mean we can't use them for other ones.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow that's a very unpopular opinion to have here on plugged in dot com! Supporting the president is a Christian value! Unless it's Obama...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy 

More like No-bama!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

“I know we’re not perfect, but the safest hands are still our own.”

-Captain America, 2016
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very true! If only more politicians paid attention to comics...

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
New Zealand is one of the most heavily gun regulated countries in the world, so saying it's poor regulation makes no sense.

I am usually up for debate, but I find it unseemly at this point in time, on account of this incident being so recent, and many on both sides of the argument are trying to twist this in their own political narrative.
The killer said himself that he did this to cause division among people, so I would personally rather not play into that 
-David the Clown
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
@Some_Guy
Exactly. I am familiar with that particular study in the UK (which seems to be the expository of bad gun laws)
You can yell at guns all you want, but the reality is that restricting them only keeps them out of the hands of those who would use them wisely 
-David the Clown
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

@some guy
You're absolutely right. Even if we don't look at guns and look at banning other stuff, people with bad intentions will still get what they want. Just because the Prohibition Act outlawed alcoholic drinks doesn't mean that lawbreakers obeyed that law. If the Prohibition Act couldn't stop outlaws from making hard drinks, why are we to think that regulating guns would be any different?

As they say, those who do not know history, are destined to repeat it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My comment got taken down.

:(

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

It wasn't that funny to be honest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lol. Yeah it really wasn't. Not complaining.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Lyn Chartowich More than 1 year ago
Kendall, there's no way to know a person's heart when they buy a gun. They could just as easily be buying it for hunting or self-defense as they are for killing those they hate. Every good thing* can be used in a bad way, but guns can be used in such a bad way (to murder) it's become a political topic.

*Now, I'm not necessarily saying guns are a good  thing, I haven't really done a whole lot of research about it and I'm not really on one side or the other, I kinda just leave it alone. Because, on one hand, like you're saying, it would save us a lot of pain. But on the other hand, people using it for harmless reasons will be cut off from their guns, and, as many are saying on this thread, the murderers/those who harm people with guns will get a hold of them anyway. So which is right and which is wrong? THAT is why it's a political topic. It's hard to tell.
charitysplace More than 1 year ago
The problem is mental illness, not guns. Americans have had guns for hundreds of years, yet this recent trend of mass-murders / mass-shootings is relatively recent (within the last three decades, mostly in the last decade). Instead of looking to put a band-aid on it, you need to look at what's causing it and what exacerbates it -- mental illness and a culture oriented around becoming "famous." News outlets who make these psychopaths "infamous" and known globally, by talking about them and their crime 24/7 -- that is highly appealing to a would-be mass murderer. Fame. Until you deal with the underlining issues of our society, confiscating or banning guns won't solve the problem.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love what Lauren Daigle had to say. That's something I needed to hear. Through it all God's love is there, a love bigger than anyone can even imagine. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though I don't like her music (more of an NF and Lecrae kind of guy). It is cool how she's standing up for her faith and willingly sharing it while she's in the spotlight.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't been a fan of Crae for awhile now. I find his SJW leanings of late to be fairly annoying. But yeah, NF is great (as well as MGK, who has a very similar sound) hoping for a new album to drop soon.
-David the Clown

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Same. Not liking new Lecrae stuff. NF is awesome. I agree. Hoping for a new album any day now.

Posted By the Non-Mouse
Lyn Chartowich More than 1 year ago
Besides the Lauren Diagle part (which made me cry)-
This world is so, so broken.