On Monday, Broward County native Jahseh Onfroy, better known by his rap moniker XXXTentacion, was murdered while exiting a motorcycle shop in Deerfield Beach. The 20-year-old rapper’s death shook the community to its core.
Within minutes of the shooting, videos and pictures of Onfroy’s seemingly lifeless body slumped over on his BMW i8 surfaced on Twitter. Of the videos, only one has surfaced that shows someone took the time to check his pulse. Broward Sheriff’s Office would later call the incident an attempted robbery resulting in his gunshot wounds and his death.
Social media’s role, in this case, is immensely terrifying and so surreal in the same token. A third of people on the various platforms believes he deserves eternal condemnation for his abusive and violent past, while another third believes that despite his past he deserves praises for the positive impact he had on the youth, specifically those suffering from depression and anxiety. The last third of the site believes that yes, he was indeed a terrible human but that we should value human life more than we do now. But all seem to believe their opinions equal facts. That is simply not the case.
The truth is social media has opened a gateway for people to be reckless with their words, which can truly affect people. The fact that site was flooded with tweets stating that XXX was an abuser and deserved his fate shows social media is truly a judgmental place full of ignorance and false beliefs.
It’s sad to see how desensitized we are. As the videos were retweeted and shared, I had to take a deep breath. There was a dead body on my timeline and on the timeline of millions of users, and very few people were outraged or disgusted. That is intimidatingly scary.
That is not a reality I thought we would ever get to, but I was mistaken. We live our lives through our cellular devices and miss out on the important moments in life. We seem to have forgotten what feeling emotions are like with the integration of technology and its accessibility at any moment in our lives.
Here are some facts: a young man was killed during one of the few times in the past months when he actually left his home. The truth is another brown body was taken from the world in a senseless act of violence. The truth is someone who was revered as a spokesman for depressed youth was taken away from his fans.
Unfortunately, we as a society do not know the real circumstances around his death, his life, or who he truly was as a person. The only references we have are his music, hearsay, old interviews, and the opinions of millions because he can no longer speak for himself.
The most painful part of this situation is that in a month it will only have been a moment on Twitter, and we will all go back to living our regularly programmed lives of sharing our opinions on situations that we have little to no facts to back our claims.
A human being decided he or she could determine the fate of a soul, and social media reacts as if that is okay. The interweb is truly a dangerous place to be, and everyone who participates in the multiple platforms must protect themselves, and the actual truth. Be impeccable with your words and always search for the truth behind what you’re given.
Jaylin Hawkins is a broadcast senior, who was a reporter for SFNS during the fall semester and is currently SFNS’ audio engineer. Hawkins is also a writer for Mieux Magazine and serves as the host for the podcast she created, The Annex. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.