How could you not be shocked by the live videotaped slaughter of two young television workers? Sure, we’ve seen so many mass killings, that they’ve almost become commonplace. Always the same script. Disgruntled or deranged killer. Access to guns. Politicians yammering about gun control or about gun rights. Then back to normal until the next shooting.
Vester Lee Flanagan (also known as Bryce Williams) took the next logical step. He carefully planned his murder, strapped on a GoPro, shot his victims, then posted the video clip on Facebook. In a way, Flanagan was not much different from Andreas Lubitz, the Lufthansa co-pilot who made a public spectacle of crashing his Airbus and killing 150 people.
It’s not enough to do the crime. Now it has to be done in public.
Edward Snowden let us know about the NSA destroying our privacy. But the bigger problem, it seems to me, is that we are giddily and rapidly destroying our own privacy, and we’re doing it all by ourselves, without any help from the government.
Everything is now on Facebook, or almost everything. Our kids. Our pets. Our likes. Our peeves. Has anyone yet posted a clip of going to the bathroom? Wiping? Urinating? Menstruating? Having sex? Everything is interesting. Everything is post-able.
Almost twenty years ago, Director Peter Weir gave us The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey. The story is about a young insurance salesman who discovers that his entire life is actually a T.V. show. In a classic case of life imitating art, all of our lives have become little reality T.V. shows.
Let’s have a vote for privacy, because I like privacy. Privacy calms me and lets me think. Privacy surrounds me with a blanket of quiet. Privacy lets me shut off the outside and relate to people who are important to me. If the world observes me having sex, it seems to me that it will diminish the pleasure, not enhance it. But maybe I am wrong, and I should try posting a live streaming shot from my bedroom.
The U.S. Constitution says nothing directly about privacy. Yet, the Constitution forms the basis for all the landmark decisions about privacy, whether Griswold vs. Connecticut (striking down restrictions on birth control, as invasions of privacy between two heterosexual people) or Lawrence v. Texas (striking down restrictions on sodomy, as invasions of privacy between two homosexual people). In each case, the U.S. Supreme Court talked about the “penumbras and emanations” of the Constitution that implied a right to privacy, even if the word is never mentioned.
Do we want privacy? Do we want to display all our acts in public? If we’re looking at each other all the time, what’s wrong with the government looking at us all the time? Are there any limits to what we want to show to others?
Mr. Flanagan, I’ll admit you shocked us. You’ve even outdone Andreas Lubitz. I am afraid, though, that you have just whetted our appetite for even more promiscuous sharing.