Why terrified Florida students live-streamed the mass shooting at their high school

A shaky video uploaded from inside the shooting in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Thursday shows about a dozen students crouched on the floor of a classroom hiding from an active shooter who ultimately killed 17 people. In the video, at least four of the students have their phones up recording as a SWAT team bursts through the door.

“Put away your phones!” one member of the SWAT team yells as the teens put their arms in the air.

This close-up view from inside a mass shooting has become more common as the country’s seemingly regular incidents of gun violence takes hold of a generation known for being glued to its phones.

Mass shootings have become far more lethal in recent years, with 18 of the 30 deadliest shootings in the U.S. in more than 60 years having occurred in the past 10 years. Millennials, who have grown up watching this kind of gun violence on their on TV screens and smartphones, are more likely than other age groups to support gun control.

Some students are now recording during the emergency to get evidence of, or perhaps have an outlet for, their terror. “Once we were all in the room and started seeing the headlines we realized this was anything but a drill, this was life or death, that is when I started recording,” student David Hogg, who survived the shooting said afterwards in an interview with CNN. “I realized if I died and everyone around me died, I wanted our voices to be heard.”

Throughout the day, other, more graphic videos were released. In one, which a student captioned “our f***ing school is getting shot up,” gunshots from an automatic rifle rang out as students screamed and crouched under desks.

It may seem strange to instinctively reach for a cell phone when an armed invader is roaming the hallways and school grounds, but that’s exactly how young people process emotion today, said Tracy Packiam Alloway, associate professor at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. These high-school kids see smartphones as an extension of them, and a way to have a voice, she said. Young people have trouble processing emotion in a world saturated with social media, unless others can “like” it, retweet it, or comment on their human experiences.

“When we have an experience that is very traumatic, we put it out there so our response can be validated,” she said. “We are wired, in a sense, to connect and sharing on social media is part of that.”

Recording traumatic events like the one that happened on Wednesday in Florida could actually help young people involved in violent incidents cope psychologically and their smartphone might actually provide a layer of protection from the brutality of what they are witnessing, said Cole Rucker, a psychologist and the co-founder and chief executive of Paradigm Malibu, an adolescent mental health and drug abuse treatment center that is offering free counselor.

“It puts a barrier between them and the event, it makes it less real and diminishes the potential trauma,” he said. “It is important for them to have an opportunity to share things with others.”

Some onlookers expressed concern on social media that the students were putting themselves in danger by tweeting, but surviving students themselves responded on Twitter that they had already called 911 and wanted to share with others what was happening in the school. Since the shooting, many of the teens who survived have also taken to social media to demand that government officials to take action to stop mass shootings.

But what may be a coping mechanism for the teenagers at the school may not be appropriate for all ages of social media users, especially other students who were at school that day and may not want to relive those terrifying moments. Mental health professionals have warned the violent footage can be traumatizing to viewers.

According to David Kaplan, chief professional officer at the American Counseling Association, children under the age of 18 especially should avoid watching such videos on social media. He criticized broadcast news channels for playing violent clips on loop and said the victims of the shooting should refrain from speaking out on TV until they are able to process their experiences.

Still, Rucker said he thinks the footage is necessary to take into account as Americans look at the scope of mass shootings in the U.S.

“There is an argument to be made that we are looking away too much,” he said. “We are sanitizing things too much, because if we actually looked at the carnage we might be more inclined to find a solution to this very pervasive problem.”

Filed in: Top News Tags: 

You might like:

4/20 day is no celebration for these Americans — they’re most likely to get arrested 4/20 day is no celebration for these Americans — they’re most likely to get arrested
The Moneyist: I paid off my wife’s student loans — then she filed for divorce after two years of marriage The Moneyist: I paid off my wife’s student loans — then she filed for divorce after two years of marriage
Barron's: This tech play debuted with a healthy pop — here’s how to play the stock Barron's: This tech play debuted with a healthy pop — here’s how to play the stock
Bacardí aims to take rum to the next level with new premium brands Bacardí aims to take rum to the next level with new premium brands
This Cornell sociologist says he’s found the secret to a happy marriage This Cornell sociologist says he’s found the secret to a happy marriage
Workplaces are finally treating mental health days as sick days, even on Broadway Workplaces are finally treating mental health days as sick days, even on Broadway
MarketWatch First Take: Pivotal IPO falls short of recent cloud hysteria MarketWatch First Take: Pivotal IPO falls short of recent cloud hysteria
The Wall Street Journal: Justice Department investigating AT&T and Verizon over collusion claim The Wall Street Journal: Justice Department investigating AT&T and Verizon over collusion claim

Leave a Reply

Submit Comment
© 2018 Stock Investors News. All rights reserved. XHTML / CSS Valid.