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Viral video displays alarming trend of voyeurism

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 01:02


During a sunny August afternoon in an alleyway in Newark, in an act of brutal manipulative violence, three men stripped a teenager of his clothes, poured water over him and beat him multiple times with a belt as bystanders watched and walked by. The beating allegedly occurred because of a measly $20 debt the victim’s father owed the three men.  

The three men caught the violent act on video and posted it on a popular website called The video soon went viral on YouTube and it quickly received more than 40,000 views. All of this before any of the perpetrators faced any criminal charges.

Because of the popularity of the video and the overwhelming fear of retaliation, the reluctant victim never brought the incident up with police. It was not until Wednesday, seven months after the crime, that the three men were finally arrested.     

Episodes like this are the embodiment of what is quintessentially wrong with the world. The fact that this man was in broad daylight, people walking past him, as he stood naked, being beaten by a group of men — who showed little emotion besides sociopathic laughter — is simply disheartening.

But equally troubling is the sense of voyeuristic interest that attracts hits on the video and its rapid rate of viralness. Why is the same general public who is willing to watch the video, not willing to take action in similar situations? 

It speaks to the lack of compassion of everyone who walked past the alleyway who did nothing. It speaks to the lack of compassion of every one of the 40,000 people who watched the beating on YouTube while the three criminals witnessed the popularity of the video rise from their houses.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Newark Mayor Cory Booker said, “In the face of evil, those who remain quiet are participants in that evil.”

Booker rightfully condemned the video and deprecated all of those who witnessed the crime, either in person or online, and did nothing.

The crime that occurred that day was a malicious and heinous act, but the video’s viralness indicates that the general public is willing to live in a desensitized world that doesn’t allow them to notice when it’s time to stop being passive bystanders.

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