Is the anonymity of our technologically enhanced lifestyles making it easier to kill? There’s got to be some reason why so many people have increasingly so little value for human life, especially kids. Because stories like this are becoming so sadly and disgustingly commonplace: According to police, last Saturday, Todavia Cleckley and Marcus Velasquez allegedly shot Kayla Peterson in the abdomen while she was standing outside of her Pittsburgh-area home—in broad daylight—over a pack of cigarettes. She died that evening. The victim was only 22, the accused assailants are just 14.
Less than 12 hours after taking that woman’s life, one of these little fools posted a picture of himself and the other boy flashing guns and pointing loaded pistols at the camera. Somebody should’ve given these kids a good shaking a long time ago but I also suspect they could only have been so bold and disrespectful because no one was regularly checking in on their Facebook pages.
You know, kids breed their alter egos on social media. I know I’ve had to check my daughter’s a couple of times for pictures that were too racy, poses that were too suggestive, and language that was unbecoming to the way I know I’m trying to raise her. They become Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr vigilantes, sex kittens, thugs, and gangsters. Usually fraudulent ones, except in this case.
Now Kayla’s family is left to mourn her death—and such a stupid, unnecessary death at that—and the parents and loved ones of these two boys have got to be wrestling with the loss of their lives, as well. They’re both charged with conspiracy to commit criminal homicide. Velasquez is also being pinned with two felony counts of aggravated assault and two misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment.
I’m not blaming social media outright. It’s just a sounding board for something that’s already going terribly wrong with our children. But it does breed bravado and a disconnection with reality that’s allowing kids to fuel fantasies about who they really are and live those play personas out. It's a truly terrifying new reality.
Do you think social media and techie communication breeds this kind of behavior?
Image via Shane Pope/Flickr