Today, we mourn the tragic and senseless loss of TV journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward, an event so shocking that I think we are now through the looking glass when it comes to violence and technology in this country.
The Virginia shooting is heartbreaking for a whole host of reasons and it took our collective breath away even amid a seemingly weekly occurrence of national grieving over shooting deaths.
We are now in a different era in which that kind of violence is no longer hidden. It is visceral and immediate. There is now no distance between us and the events as they happen.
Our conflicted relationship with technology.
Most of us have a love-hate relationship with our technology. We love it for the access it brings us and I do believe it has transformed our lives for the better.
On the other hand, it has lifted the lid of privacy clean off, leaving some of us feeling exposed. Many of us believe we are being unwittingly tracked by governments and corporations, and that our most personal information is available for anyone to see. (Think Ashley Madison.)
As the comedian Louis CK has said a few years ago, everything is amazing but no one is happy.
Now we’ve entered a more terrifying realm. If we thought being able to see beheading videos from ISIS was horrifying, we now enter the possibility that horrible acts will be shared via social media in real time. As much as I loathe to say it, there will be an unfathomable act being broadcast live by the assailant because that assailant has unfettered access to us and the world at large.
I am a technology freak, but the Virginia shootings and the videos that arose from it have given me pause. There is a video out there that I have no interest in seeing but was made available to the public minutes after the murders themselves.
The looking glass now reveals all.