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ESSENCE POll: Are Videos of Conflicts and Crimes Helping or Hurting Us?

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New footage of a man being dragged to his death by South African police is gruesome and downright appalling. It's also very popular on the Internet right now. Nearby is a throng of bystanders snapping away on their cellphones, recording the incident, most likely to post on the Internet. This is hardly an unusual scene at a time when most people's instinct is to whip out a cellphone the moment they see conflict or a crime.

Videos of teenagers fighting in schoolyards are unbelievably popular. (Did you see the one of 7-year-old girls fighting and the adults encouraging it? It's awful), as are videos of supposed beatdowns and all manner of wrongdoing. How about the man who filmed another man being pushed to his death on the subway in New York City? Should he have helped instead of filming? The questions are endless — much like our appetite for these videos. Where do you stand? Are they helping or hurting us? Take our poll and share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

QUESTION:
Are citizen videos of conflicts and crimes helping or hurting us?
Yes, they're helping us expose crimes and identify the perpetrators.
13%
No, they're hurting because they're making us desensitized to violence.
87%
Total votes: 79