Holding Social Media Responsible For Mass Shootings?

Posts on Reddit that the Oregon Shooter posted before he killed 9 people in October 2015
In this era of social media, many people that have gone on to commit mass shootings have a presence on the Internet. In places like Reddit, where the most vile people write ignorant screeds under the guise of anonymity and behind the banner of free speech and the first amendment, they have the right to be assholes and be just as racist, homophobic, and sexist as they want to be.

Within seconds, you could become whomever you please and cultivate a persona on the internet that's hateful and there's nothing that can  be done about that. Of course, people are allowed to be who they want.

However, many of these would be shooters start off here. They make hateful posts that attack anyone with a differing viewpoint than theirs. They attack people with no compunction and continue to do so. IF they get banned from one site, they come up with a new username and go on doing what they are doing.

However, these shooters leave a "violent footprint" that those that so openly champion the First amendment ignore. Now don't get me wrong. This isn't some socialist communist post against our most protected freedom. However, when you protect all forms of speech, hate speech goes along right with it. However banning hate speech doesn't eliminate it. You just force it underground. So banning hate speech is not even close to a viable alternative. It's not even an alternative in a country where free speech is so loved and appreciated.

But private enterprises like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube can put limitations on their sites if they please. These  social media platforms are full of racists! Many people have complained until they were blue in the face about posters that constantly flaunt violations just to be told that there is nothing that they could do. There are active hate groups on Facebook that they choose to ignore.

I've seen screen names like "KIllallliberals" and "Liberalsmustdie" Nigg--mustdie" on various social media outlets and these are allowed! The people that post from these accounts are seriously deranged but they are allowed and thy continue to spout hatred all over the internet. It is only after they do something horrific do we pay attention. But it's too late then. Innocent lives have been lost because we turn a blind eye to these things. We remain quiet, especially those that may hold the same beliefs as these people. If you hate blacks, gays, women, and liberals and you see these accounts, you may think that this person may be acting extreme  but you may find yourself nodding your head with some of their beliefs. However, when these same people go out and commit crimes, you tend to shake your head, say that's horrible, and tune out. What could you have done before lives are lost? We tend to think that when someone makes a threat on the internet, they don't mean it. They are just playing. It was just a joke. I've seen that statement made to excuse racist behavior all the time. The person that is complaining is "too sensitive". Until they go out and shoot up a church with all black people that is. That's when it becomes real.

Stephen Jones before he shot three people in October 2015

WE all need to take a look at ourselves and ask why do we excuse this behavior? We even accept racist, misogynist behavior from presidential candidates. (Donald Trump) People have even gone out and beaten immigrants based on this rhetoric. It's wrong and we all need to take a closer look at ourselves and our friends. We should never condone this behavior and when we see something alarming, we should speak up and say something. Alert the authorities.

These shooters are often on their social media accounts, posting their cries for help and warnings to the rest of us. But they are ignored and dismissed. There are countless hateful videos and posts and I understand that these companies would have to hire hundreds of teams to keep track of them all, but they could do a better job about things.

When someone makes an actual threat against another person, they could take action to ban these people and delete the posts. I've seen some flagrant violations on Facebook and Youtube just to be told that they didn't violate any standards. Twitter is better at banning accounts but it still happens to an alarming degree.

This post is not against free speech. It's about reporting alarming statements and accounts by people who may be on the edge. They are distinct cries for help that go ignored until the next breaking news banner rolls across the screen...


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