Most of the nation is in disbelief that a young man could commit such a crime for what seems like no reason at all, while another majority of Americans are shaking their heads with the belief that this tragedy was a cumulation of several aspects that should have been dealt with earlier, including our right to bear arms.
My question however, after realizing how young the culprit was, how is the Colorado shooting going to affect Milennials?
What I noticed first was how quickly the news spread right after the shooting. The role of social media in spreading the news about the shooting is undeniable, and almost immediately after the incident, videos were uploaded online and tweets spread virally across the Internet.
Born into “the Internet age” Milennials are better connected than before, and are always on top of current events because information has become dramatically easier to access. However, although social media empowers and connects Millenials around the world, the shooting has brought the troubling side of it to light. The availability of the news and the rate at which it is spreading not only informs the public on a tragedy, but also increases the probability of copy cat shooters and misinformation.A problem that is often brushed aside when it comes to Internet use is the fact that not everything available is entirely correct. Because many Millenials have grown up taking both the Internet and its contents for granted, it is easy for incorrect information to leak across web pages and forums, resulting in a misinformed public.
In the case of the Colorado shootings, some initial posts on tumblr and tweets on twitter spread an inaccurate, almost dramatized account of the incident and the amount of violence involved. Another factor that was key to the Colorado shootings was the fact that James Holmes deliberately used a scene from the movie to set the stage for the shooting and to create an atmosphere of confusion.
According to this Huffington Post Article , one of the immediate reactions to news of the shooting was a fear of copy cat shooters and the effect they might have on the cinema going audiences and the Dark Knight franchise. The fans, to their surprise, have not being tweeting in vain by having been partially correct in their fears; a man calling himself “joker” was arrested late July under the suspicion that he might have been staging a similar shooting in his work place in Maryland.
Despite the fear incurred by the shooting, though, many people are still going to the cinema as the initial shock begins to quell. With people returning to theaters, police are still on alert to look for any possible signs of an imitation shooting after having caught an almost copy cat in July. After all, the Internet and its contents are always open to any person who has the ability to access it.
What it comes down to, however, is what we learn from a tragedy we see on the front page and how we honor those affected by spreading an accurate report on what happened and doing our best to make sure it never happens again.
Susan Lin is a Featured Blogger for Mobilize.org’s The Millennial Report. Although she was born in Brooklyn, New York, she’s an all California girl. Currently on her journey through high school, Susan wants to become more involved with the world and community around her while pursuing her dreams of journalism and design.