It’s like something out of a movie. A real-life version of Law and Order. It’s horrifying, but you don’t stop watching. You don’t want to look away. Were we born like this? Or are we learning this behavior?

Within the first 24 hours after the mosque shooting in New Zealand, Facebook reported that it removed 1.5 million videos around the world showing the attack.  The shooter used a live-streaming camera normally patronized by extreme sports enthusiasts to broadcast his terrifying assault. The video then spread like wildfire across the world.

“That [manifesto] spread far, and then the video spread far and wide, and may never be successfully taken down,” said Dr. Joshua Roose, a research fellow at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. “So social media companies – which have played a role in this, albeit not through their intent – have something to answer for and need to act further to prevent this.”

When did we become such a culture of violence? It’s no secret that Netflix has found a new niche with true crime documentaries featuring notorious killers like Ted Bundy and Marjorie Diehl Armstrong.

There’s a reason that shows like The First 48 perform so well. They’re incredibly graphic. Viewers get the real-life sensation of being right up in a homicide investigation.

Those who have to go to work and stare at this stuff every day hate to look, but must. And when they close their eyes at night, those images can come creeping back…

And yet those who are shielded from the blood and gore shed on the streets every day can’t look away when a violent video comes into their inbox or onto their social media feed.

‘But wait,’ you might be saying. ‘I don’t share this kind of stuff, let alone watch it!’ 

‘Faces of Death’ was a poorly rated but still successful movie that was released in 1978 and can still be viewed on YouTube. What is it? Exactly what it sounds like.

Videos of people dying. Car accidents. Fatal gun shot wounds. People attacked by machete-wielding maniacs. The list goes on.

And only 5 countries in the world have banned it.

So why are we so obsessed with such graphic material?

Is it because we’re so removed from it due to the television and movie content Hollywood has been producing for years?

Is it because the best-selling video games on the market are those in which the main character is encouraged to kill everyone around them? Haven’t played Grand Theft Auto before? I implore you to investigate. 

Is it because we glorify the evil people that shoot up schools and churches all throughout the news and online?

Is it because we want to know what was going on inside the mind of a killer?

How often do we see onlookers filming a fight or confrontation on their phone instead of intervening and helping?

Whatever the reason, it’s time we address the issue. Time to stop publicizing and idolizing the names of mass shooters. Time to make the public remember the victim’s names instead of the killer. It’s time to stop publishing videos and manifestos from perpetrators. Stop giving them the fame they so desperately wished for. And maybe, just maybe we can find a future with a little less violence.