On Tuesday, November 1, 2016 a young Abbotsford, BC school girl is stabbed in a random act of violence. She died. Another girl was injured and taken to hospital where her family and strangers continued to pull for her recovery. Authorities report that this was a random act of violence perpetrated by a young man who by all accounts is suffering from a severe mental breakdown.
While the attack took place another student grabbed their phone and captured the mayhem on video and what is likely to be the last moments of another human beings life . Within seconds a button was pushed and that horrific act of violence was uploaded to social media.
From behind a screen crimes are recorded without the viewer taking a second thought about their choice to stand idly by filming. These types of people are removed from the subject matter personally and engaged technically. The use of phones for this particular purpose has taken the device from being an instrument of distraction to a weapon of mass desensitization and destruction.
To film such events, no matter your age, and upload it to social media is despicable and an admission of ill-intent. The intention was not to document the act for purposes of sharing evidence with police but instead to be the first to upload the images to an awaiting curious and quite possibly perverted public. As the images circulate so to do the comments – stirring up a frenzy of negative energy. For the record I have not seen the video.
This is not a case of citizen journalism and in my opinion the news media that chose to air the video were wrong to do so. The community was not under threat, the suspect had been apprehended and the nature of the video doesn’t shed any more light on the issue of mental health than any other example of violence. How the video is obtained, by whom, and the impact it would have on family should have been given more consideration.
Yes, there are larger issues that must be considered but how to set the tone for discourse and successful interventions will not be made easier when we reward those who expose such material solely because they can.
I want to understand how the student who filmed the violence came to lack decency and compassion.
I want to know if the person who committed the crime had a documented illness that was untreated and why? and What are we going to do about it?
I want to know why we say our kids our mature enough to watch so much violence via media but then turn around and say they lack the maturity to make better choices when they participate directly in violence or indirectly as an active witness?
Most of all I want to extend my condolences to the families of everyone involved and the community of Abbotsford, which I know so well.