The two-minute video is chilling. Not just because it features five teens standing along the banks of a pond in Cocoa, Florida, laughing as they watch a man drown. It is also chilling because it reveals something about our society.
In grainy cell phone footage, the teens’ video of 32-year-old Jamel Dunn’s June 9 drowning death proves something I’ve long suspected. Our society is suffering from a compassion deficit, and it’s reflected most poignantly online.
From presidential tweets that seek to belittle and embarrass, to Internet memes that reflect our worst instincts, we have sunk to a place where the humanity of others is far less valuable than a clickable post.
“Ain’t nobody fixing to help you, you dumb b—- you shoulda never got in there!” one of the boys says as Dunn’s panicked screams echo in the background.
The boys laugh and curse while Dunn’s head repeatedly disappears beneath the deep water. They narrate Dunn’s drowning as if it were a comedic skit.
Many online commenters expressed outrage when the video was posted. But as of this writing, the video had been repeatedly reposted, and viewed at least 1 million times on YouTube. So how outraged can we truly be?
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Photo: Drowning victim Jamel Dunn/ Facebook