What Google can show us about our reaction to mass shootings

12-08-2015

Excerpt from this article:

You and millions of others turn to Google, where you type in the location of this shooting. You tweet or update Facebook about your rage, your frustration that this has happened again, your despair that politicians will still do nothing to protect you or anyone else from the next mass shooting. Because there will be more. The pattern will repeat itself. We know this. We’ve seen this.

Then you probably forget about it for a bit. Until news about the next mass shooting breaks.

According to Google Trends, interest in a mass shooting peaks on the day of or the day after, and then almost immediately drops off the day after that.

We care about these tragedies. We care about gun control. Why do we lose interest so fast?

The Age of the Tragic Selfie

Man takes a selfie at Erawan shrine

Excerpt from this article:

When daily life resumes at a scene of death and destruction it’s usually a hopeful sign. At the Erawan shrine in Bangkok, the site of Thailand’s most deadly bomb attack, it didn’t take long for Hindu worshippers to return – and with them came other people taking selfies. Is this now a natural response to tragedy?

It’s hard to know exactly what ritual is played out when we stand in front of a scene of tragedy and take a picture of ourselves. There is a debate among some Jewish groups, for example, about taking selfies at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, of all places – some say it’s an act of utter insensitivity and others that at least these selfie-takers have visited the place and may reflect on its horrors.

In Bangkok, I watched a few people at the shrine angling themselves so that the scene of mass-murder would appear in the shot behind them.

There is a global tourism industry and I suppose that participating in its rituals doesn’t mean that your brain or your heart has switched off. And who are we as journalists with our cameras to condemn citizens with their cameras?