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The Trap Called Social Media

Bob Rogers

Friday, June 29, 2018 – Society has become enslaved to the whims of thumbs and keyboards. There was a time when typewriters were both novel and iconic; novel because they replaced the ink pen, and iconic because they became the tool of the deadline author. Next will be called foolish by some, contemplative by others: Social media has become the new government. It is the miracle of communication without which some completely lose direction. Therefore, it is not just addictive but, like drugs or a boozer, forces us into dependence and helplessness.

Our two top stories today are not about guns. They’re about one individual who used Facebook and other social media means to vent his inability to rationalize. Eventually, he became rationally unhinged and chose his addiction as the vehicle to sooth his frustrations. Unfortunately for five newspaper employees, they became victims of his inability to medicinalize his mental health.

The world has become numbed to mass murderers. They exist and are elevated as subjects who use guns, knives, bombs, and vehicles to relieve their political, religious, or social frustrations. As such, they become like artifacts to be studied and, via incessant questioning of authorities by reporters, explained as quirks of humanity that are at the heart of every attempt to exonerate their motives.

Initially, every reporter working a criminal shooting focuses on the tool used. Primarily, a gun. The gun gets the blame. Without it, assumedly, the crime might never have happened. What’s missing is the mindset of the shooter. Sometimes unexplainable, like Stephan Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, a motive is simply inexistent. Yet Jarrod Ramos let his anger with the world play out over social media and, to a misguided and troubled introvert with a dependence on laying out his anger for all to see on Facebook and Twitter, the evidence was there to, unfortunately, be ignored by similarly addicted marching throngs of misfits until the flood of rampage drowns out all reason.

Yes, Ramos used a shotgun (and not an AR-15 as is instantly assumed by established media) to murder his victims as did Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the 17 year old student who used a shotgun and a revolver to kill fellow students in Santa Fe, Texas. last month. Like their indelible predecessors, they are influenced by what they see on social media, the contemporary arbiter of human behavior in this day and age. Blame the gun? Sure, the gun comes first to mind because the act is “a shooting.” But the real tool may, instead, lay await as indelible as the palm of your hand.

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