Terrorist attacks have sadly become a weekly occurrence around the world. From Orlando, to Nice, to Munich, it seems those that want to cause fear are consistently able to on a large scale. While everyone reacts to these events differently, I think there is one common reaction that is not really beneficial to anyone.
The world has achieved a sense of unity it did not have a century ago as the internet allows anyone to share his or her experience with the world. Unfortunately, this means we all can witness videos of these attacks or videos of their aftermath simply by logging onto social media. Let's be clear:
Sharing videos of terrorist attacks is exactly what the terrorists want you to do.
By sharing videos of attacks that are meant to cause fear, we indirectly help terrorists by spreading that fear to our thousands of friends and those friends' friends and on and on. News channels seem to grasp at the chance to show us rolling videos of people running from terrorist attacks, shootings or other disasters-- but why? The videos don't add anything to the watchers' experience except fear-- the one reaction those committing the crimes want the world to have. They could report the same details and rid the viewers' eyes of carnage, which honestly could be a better experience.
I know no one shares videos to further a terrorist's agenda; we share the videos to send our condolences or to show how well-versed we are on the world's issues. I argue we could do both of those things without sharing the footage.
Although this problem may seem small, ceasing to share these kind of videos on social media could have major implications. First, the chain of terror stops with the attack. Though news outlets will still report on the issues and attacks, without the video, people can skip the terror and instead focus on helping the communities affected and developing ways to defeat those that perpetrate these very calculated crimes. By doing this we could stop making terrorists famous, which could prevent vulnerable viewers from self-radicalizing. Finally, without fear-mongering, we could stop politicizing every attack. By turning the aftermath of attacks into political debates, we shift the focus from the real issues and show just how desensitized to tragedy we are. Instead of sharing a video of the Nice attack with a snarky comment about gun legislation, we could actually show a little empathy for the families and community involved and have a healthy political dialogue about this huge problem.
Being fearful is understandable considering we live in a time where terrorist attacks are broadcasted from all over the world. While I wish for peace and unity domestically and abroad, I can guarantee there will be a "next time," another attack, but that does not mean our reaction has to be the same.