Somber Social Reality – How Does Murder Look Different in 2012?

Things don’t change much. Social media would have you think otherwise. RSS feeds crowd your inbox with needy reminders for your attention.

An overabundance of news requires savvy time management skills. Selective curation of  what to read and what to delete feels like a skill in and of itself.

When bad news happens we know about it almost instantly. Twitter delivers news faster than NPR and the New York Times. It’s not about speed, certainly, although in the heyday of newspaper publishing the idea of scooping out the competition made for some entertaining movies about how the industry works. Today I saw a old news photo telling the story of the Lindbergh kidnapping and it got me thinking. Did horrific events seem more so years ago?

Attribution: Wikepedia

I frame the question that way partly because of a misconception I have – that life was better then. Why I even have that thought escapes me. In fact if you think much further back beyond the 1930′s to medieval times, life in fact was worse. There was more brutality in the world.

People were subjected to violence much more than today, (depending on where you live).

Certainly in 2012 you’d think society is more civil. While civility is how we like to think of ourselves, crime speaks otherwise.

Violence still exists – that much much we know. One book that made a lasting impression on me was Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’. Capote wrote a lengthy piece on the 1959 murders for The New Yorker Magazine and I suspect the telling of this story made fame for the writer.

True crime as a reading genre is a compelling subject matter. It seems surreal to imagine the minds of killers of any kind, much less those that live in the United States in suburban towns like Cheshire, CT.  The 2007 Petit family home invasion and murder reminded me of Capote’s telling of  the Clutter family killings.  Fast forward to July 2012 in Aurora, Colorado when an otherwise bright student, James Holmes, opens fire in a movie theater killing twelve people.

These stories and countless others over the last few years, not to mention September 11th, 2001 are somber reminders that we live in equally turbulent times. Social media transmits the information quicker but that doesn’t provide any solace knowing bad things sooner.

Violence can never be softened with technology. However when Twitter and mobile phone communications do their job of transmitting information that can prevent atrocities, then technology can be heralded as helper, not just the bearer of bad news.