On Friday 15th of March 2019 a terrorist murdered 50 people in Christchurch, New Zealand. Many more were injured, some critically. They were at their mosques going about their worship.
But, horrible as it is, that’s not what I want to write about.
The terrorist live-cammed himself for 17 minutes.
The next day Facebook told us that there had been 1.5 Million attempts to share this video. They had managed to stop 1.2 Million. Twitter and YouTube reported much the same.
The video turned up in my Twitter feed.
A friend told me he saw it as well, and thought he was watching a new video game. He was horrified when he realised what it was.
On social media I saw many comments from people who had obviously watched it.
And I wondered…
What kind of people are we when we watch someone murdering men, women and children in cold blood? Mucad Ibrahim, the youngest victim, was 3 years old.
What kind of people are we when we want to share something like this?
Yes we know that as human beings we have a tendency to slow down when we pass by car accidents. We have a fascination for grisly deeds.
But we are better than this!
I saw many people reacting with sadness, reaching out to support each other.
I also saw many people reacting with anger or using this hideous act to support their own political agenda.
Again, I truly believe that we are better than this!
We, as human beings, may be capable of heinous deeds — our history as a species is full of them.
But we are capable of so much more.
We can create and appreciate beauty.
We are, at our very hearts, social animals. It is coded in our DNA.
We are capable of love, of empathy, of compassion.
A few years ago I saw an article about social media etiquette asking us to THINK before posting:
Is it True?
Is it Helpful?
Is it Inspiring?
Is it Necessary?
Is it Kind?
Today it seems somehow inadequate, but maybe it is a start.