Social Media Takes Us to Places Live We Might Not Want to Go

The nation is trying to come to grips with what has happened in the last few days. Many of us sat in shock and disbelief last night as we watched the Dallas sniper attack unfold live on social media. The gunmen were reportedly upset over recent shootings of two black men. 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot several times while being held down by two white police officers outside a convenient store in Louisiana. A very graphic video taken by a bystander hit the internet shortly after Sterling’s death causing uproar across the nation.

You can watch the video here. Warning! This video contains graphic images.

 

Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man, who was shot during a traffic stop in Minnesota. Castile was with his girlfriend and their two-year-old daughter at the time of his death. Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds started streaming a video of the aftermath of what happened after Castile was shot. This video has added to the uproar caused by Alton Sterling’s video. The video shows Castile’s body slouched to the side with a bloody shirt. Reynolds tells viewers that her boyfriend Philando was reaching for his license as per requested by the officer, she then tells viewers that Philando told the officer that he was licensed to carry, as Philando reached for his license he was shot in the arm by the police officer.

You can watch the video here. Warning! This video contains graphic images.

 

The deaths of these two men have led to many Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S.  The most recent protest took place in Dallas, Texas. It was intended to be a peaceful gathering. However, it became something much more. As the protest came to an end, shots began to ring out in the downtown area. The gunfire sent bystanders running for safety. It was clear that the elevated gunmen were after police officers, white police officers in particular. Several of those shots hit their target. 5 police officers were killed and 7 injured. This is being considered the deadliest single incident for U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001.  2 civilians were reportedly injured in this incident as well. The police identified one of the gunmen, Micah X. Johnson a 25 year-old former Army reservist.

Watch the video as the gunshots rang out.  Warning! These images may be disturbing to some.

 

We’ve become a nation of citizen reporters.  While it allows us to get important stories much faster, there are also many concerns.  The people posting are not seasoned journalists. In many cases there are extremely graphic videos posted with no warning that will immediately start playing as you scroll past them.  Too many times the videos are posted with opinions rather than facts. That can lead to more anger, sparking more fear and leading to more devastation. Social media is a great tool when used responsibly and wisely. It can also become a tool of destruction when used carelessly.

Author: Mike Mickle

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