Bathroom assault leaves victim near death … cue the video!

I got that queasy feeling the other day when I read about two brothers who assaulted a man in a crowded restroom at a pro football game. Apparently the victim nudged one of the brothers to let him know of an open urinal, and it set him off.

Seconds later, the 32-year-old victim was knocked unconscious. He was taken to a hospital where he had part of his skull removed to relieve pressure on his brain. He is partially paralyzed and “near death,” according to one report.

That’s sick enough, but here’s what makes it worse.

Someone videotaped the assault and put it on YouTube. A sports website that I look at regularly had a link to the story — and to the video, all nice and underlined so you can’t miss it.

As a parent of three males in their 20s who attend professional sporting events, the thought of “What if that were one of my boys … ?” came to mind fairly quickly. (One of my sons was accosted by a drunk fan at a National Hockey League game, but the clown was so intoxicated his fine motor skills failed him and he was quickly subdued.)

I refuse to watch the football game assault video, but a lot of folks disagree. As of Saturday morning it had been viewed more than 112,000 times, although YouTube may have taken it down by now.

Forget for a moment the issue of whether there was time for someone to intervene instead of videotaping the attack. Maybe it all happened too fast.

What is especially troubling is the availability and popularity of this violent video, and so many others like it. Sure, sometimes a video can lead to an arrest or, conversely, prove excessive force by authorities.

But when hundreds of thousands of people choose to watch acts of violence — real violence, that is — it degrades our culture and chips away at our collective humanity. The concept of desensitization shouldn’t be a surprise at this point.

The absolute sickest examples, of course, are the recent ISIS beheading videos.

Yes, men have perpetrated shocking cruelty on one another for centuries. But now we have technology to ramp it up, and these videotaped executions apparently have been watched millions of times. (YouTube and Twitter removed them, but they are still able to be viewed elsewhere).

I cannot comprehend why any civilized person would want to watch these videos, even if there is any merit to reports of fakery, which I doubt. How can you see that happen to another human being and not be traumatized in some way?

I can’t even look at the still images taken from the videos. It makes me think about what it would be like to be on your knees, hands tied behind your back, knowing you’re about to die that way. And knowing that your death will be used as propaganda or entertainment.

For what it’s worth, I’d like to hear someone justify the personal value of watching these executions. What good can it possibly do for you as a human being? Or if you did watch one of them, and absolutely regret it, I’d like to hear about that as well.


About Jim McKeever

Writer, father, runner, advocate based in Central New York.
This entry was posted in crime, Irish Investigations, role models and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Bathroom assault leaves victim near death … cue the video!

  1. Debbie Tarbell says:

    You can’t watch those horrible videos because you know at some level to see something allows it to live in your brain,memory and soul and it would cause pain and damage. This causes insensitivity to others pain and anguish and a total loss of compassion and empathy, and I believe loss of our humanity


    • Jim McKeever says:

      I totally agree, Debbie. The cumulative effect of seeing such things over and over can’t be underestimated. Multiply it by tens of thousands, and it doesn’t bode well for our society.


  2. chmjr2 says:

    I have enough trouble reading the morning paper. I do not need to find videos to watch. I am 63 and have seen enough in my life of the bad and ugly. I try to find the beauty in life ( we have more than most people think) and feed on that source of nourishment. I worry that we cheapen other people’s lives and hold our own way too dear. If not, then why does someone video the assault instead of giving aid or getting help to the scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I could not watch those videos Jim. I can see how they might be useful in trials or making arrests though.

    I don’t know what runs through the minds of the people recording the videos. People have born witness to so many gruesome acts over the centuries and have told the stories for centuries. Maybe for some, this is what recording violence when it happens does; it tells the story.

    Diana x


  4. markbialczak says:

    There is no value to watching these videos, Jim. And the only reason to shoot the bathroom incident is the intent to turn it over to legal authorities. I can understand not physically intervening in fear of escalating the violence to shooting or other weaponry or even including more people, but in the spur of the moment, I think I’d try to stop it or at least yell or cause some sort of commotion in hopes of attracting attention and help and deraililing the assailant.


    • Jim McKeever says:

      Mark … Totally agree. Who knows how each of us would react in that split second when we finally realize what’s happening in front of us? In discussing this with MG after, she made two good points: 1, why not just take the video to the authorities instead of posting it on social media (the two attackers were caught as they fled the men’s room, so it’s not as if the video helped catch them) … And 2, re: the people who watch the ISIS video, it’s enough for her to know these things happened to understand the evil. She doesn’t need to see it played out on a screen. Jim


  5. You have very clearly stated here what I have always felt. I cannot and would not watch such things. I don’t see any value (aside from law enforcement) for such imagery to be produced for the masses to watch. Thank you for saying with such clarity and emphasis what I am sure many of us feel.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jim McKeever says:

    Thank you, Colleen … I hope common decency will eventually prevail amid all this technology, but I’m not exactly confident of that.


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