Web Giants Driving Violence

Tragic incidents at K-12 schools are solidly in the crosshairs of law enforcement, politicians and to some extent, the NRA. It is on everyone’s mind and everyone has an opinion of what can be done, should be done and must be accomplished to protect students.

I stand firmly behind the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Those persons wanting to rewrite this document would first have to prove to me that they have more wisdom and knowledge than the Founding Fathers before this is repealed.

In agreement with the idea that “stupid” people shouldn’t have guns, a plan must be established whereby a weapon would not fall into the hands of a violent person.

Here’s another take on violence from the Metropolitan Police commissioner in London, Cressida Dick. She says that “social media sites are driving children to commit violence and murders.” She said often trivial disputes between young people were escalating into murder and stabbings at unprecedented rates in the London Metro area.

The commissioner, quoted in the March 31 issue of The Times in London said that children are committing instant crimes because of social media. She said that a febrile online atmosphere was among the factors responsible for rising knife crime; but she also blames drug dealing, broken families and socio-economics. The commissioner is talking about violence with a knife. How bad can that be? Violence is on the increase across the United Kingdom, the commissioner said. In fact, she reported on March 30 that a 36- year old woman became the tenth person to be stabbed to death in London in the previous 17 days. Fatal stabbings in England and Wales are at the highest levels since 2010. There have been 215 homicides involving a knife or other sharp instrument from January to March 2018.

Perhaps it is time to take a look at a possible root cause, social media, which Commissioner Dick said that companies have been criticized for their response to prolific terrorist propaganda and online pedophile material. The content needs to be taken down because, she says, it stokes violence.

Google, the owner of You-Tube, and Facebook have both been criticized for failure to take down extremist material. On the day of this writing, April 3, an active shooter situation is happening at YouTube headquarters in California. The truth is, that gangs posture on social media, including rap videos in which they goaded rival gangs and glamorized violence.

“It [social media] makes violence faster, it makes it harder for people to cool down,” the commissioner said. “I’m sure it does rev people up.”

I don’t own a gun, and don’t plan to buy one any time soon, but I share the commissioner’s opinion that most of today’s violence stems from a root cause that can be found at home, or I should say, the lack of a proper home life and learning environment. Just as social media has its place for good, there are many dark and down sides to getting revved up so quickly over an ignorant social post. I’m not against social media, but I implore the Web Giants to be more selective over what is available to the public.

This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Security Today.

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