Proliferation of videos that show crimes in progress “can have a numbing effect”

Videos that do show crimes in progress may be helpful in identifying perpetrators or in drawing attention to an injustice that might have been neglected. But the proliferation of those videos can have a numbing effect. There they are on YouTube, or on Twitter, scrambled together with celebrity gossip and cat antics, administering brief shocks, then slipping from the grasp of our compassion. They seem at once urgent and very far away. So we watch, and maybe share the link, and hope that the consequences will fit the crime.

Margaret Talbot, “Instant Replay”, The New Yorker (11 & 18 August 2014), 30.