This past Friday, shocking video was released of 15-year-old Lesandro Guzman-Feliz forcefully dragged out of a Bronx convenience store, stabbed and murdered in a case of mistaken identity.
Social media fired back with anger, hurt and disbelief when hashtag #JusticeForJunior showed surveillance video of Cruz and Chiky grocery store owner and employees in the Bronx watching Guzman-Feliz stretched his hands out for help. The men stood by doing nothing to help the teen. Following the attack, the bloodied teen attempted to re-enter the store for help only to be kicked out by employees. He then staggered to St. Barnabas Hospital but collapsed and died on the street just one block away. Several pieces of cell phone video footage show a crowd gathered around Guzman-Feliz’ body filming his last moments. So many questions were asked by those who viewed the disturbing video but the most repeated topic was should people be charged with recording crimes and emergencies and not dialing 911?
I could barely sleep this weekend thinking about the lack of empathy camera phones and viral videos have brought to this past generation. It seems to be more important to record moments then to live within them. Rumors have been swirling around this story and the cause behind this brutal attack but this was someone’s child, have our hearts hardened so much that we wouldn’t reach out to a child in need bleeding to death?
In 1991, footage of Rodney King getting assaulted during an arrest by the Los Angeles Police Department appeared on every channel. The public was forced to face the dark side of police brutality again through the lens of George Holliday’s grainy VHS videotape.
Despite the evidence caught on camera, three of the officers were acquitted and the 1992 LA Riots began. African-Americans angry at the injustices over the years began their own war right on the streets of Los Angeles.
As technology advanced, every civilian who owned a cellphone learned the power of recording shocking moments for others to witness. While some moments captured gave insight to tragic events, other moments seemed to offer no solution but increased attention on social media.
Last week, rapper XXXtentacion was fatally shot in his BMW while visiting a Florida motorcycle shop. Onlookers watched and recorded the rappers lifeless body from several angles without assisting or aiding the rap star with help.
This year a slew of stories have gone viral due to footage catching people in heinous acts. From child abuse to police brutality to domestic abuse, some may argue surveillance and recording is necessary to protect victims unable to protect themselves. A Houston, Texas man was seen whipping his girlfriend’s 7-year-old son 62 times and putting him in a headlock because he stole a phone charger. Police were able to track him down three hours after using the registration plate captured in the video.
NBA Youngboy found himself in hot water with authorities when a video of him allegedly dragging and abusing his girlfriend was sent to TMZ. Following his arrest, she claimed they were just playing around.
What are your thoughts on the state of surveillance and recording emergencies to upload via social media? Will the influx and accessibility of the camera phone affect empathy in the new millennials?