Some tragic events unfolded in Minnesota last week, and it’s pretty safe to say that they wouldn’t have unfolded in the absence of social media. I’ve been unable to verify the accuracy of this tale, but I picked it up in several of the more reliable British newspapers. And it’s all too believable.
Here’s what happened. Monalisa Perez is up on a manslaughter charge after she shot her boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz, to death. Since this happened in the US, there’s nothing too remarkable about it. Or there wouldn’t have been if the circumstances hadn’t had a surreal quality.
Here’s the text of a tweet Ms Perez sent just before the shooting.
‘Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot (sic) one of the most dangerous videos ever. HIS idea not MINE.’
Mr Ruiz then held a heavy book (actually an encyclopaedia) in front of his chest. A book, for goodness sake. Then Ms Perez fired a handgun at it. Not surprisingly, the book was shown to be not bulletproof, and Mr Ruiz lost his life at the tender age of 22.
There was a much more chilling tweet after the first one. ‘We want to get famous.’ Well, that worked, but not in the way they hoped. I say hoped, because I find it very hard (though not impossible) to believe that they thought the stunt would turn out well.
What we have here is a really extreme example of the current ‘Me! Me! Look at me!’ attitude that pervades social media. If you’re willing to be shot at just to get your YouTube figures up then you have a screw loose.
Here’s the really unfathomable bit. The couple already had a child, and Ms Perez is pregnant with a second one. Why she was firing a gun while pregnant (foetuses are notoriously sensitive to loud noises) is anybody’s guess. Did I mention their three year old child was also in the room? No? Well I have now.
Even more strange is the reaction from Mr Ruiz’s family. They’re on Ms Perez’s side. ‘She’s pregnant with their second kid. It’s heartbreaking.’ At least the baby will have somebody to look after it if she’s gets sent to the slammer.
The local Sherriff, Jeremy Thornton, summed it up for me. ‘I just don’t understand the younger generation on trying to get their fifteen minutes of fame.’