The latest internet tragedy is the “Facebook live” killing of innocent 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. at the hands of Steve Stephens. The senseless murder was the result of Stephens being dumped by his former girlfriend Joy Lane. For the record I have cried many of nights over women I was dealing with and was certainly rejected and dumped, but I never thought of killing myself, the woman, or complete strangers as some sort of makeshift revenge for my failed relationship! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG with this dude? How can you even begin to rationalize the disgusting nature of the crime to someone let alone convince yourself that this is a logical idea?
I read somewhere that Lane called it quits with Stephens over the discovery of a secret gay relationship he was having. I am not sure how true it is, but lets say it is true. Your girl dumps you because she found out you have a whole ‘nother relationship with a man. Just leave the woman alone and go off with your man because it is not like your left companionless. You don’t go around slaying folks and blaming your ex for your actions. This is pure cowardice at its most graphically vivid form! I blame the internet and its role in Stephens decisions to kill and simultaneously live steam it on Facebook. The culture of cowards that the internet breeds is evidenced by the countless lowlife’s, creeps, degenerates, trolls, and other scum that survey the internet looking for mischief, attention, and a place for their perverted psyches to call home.
The need to be seen and heard 24/7 has become a way of life that has been normalized. Tweeting, Facebooking, Pariscoping, Instagraming, and any other form of live streaming have caused us to live a two-fold life.We have reached a point where we are the most publicly private society, any oxymoron, where we have developed trust issues in our real lives and are completely candid in our virtual ones. The fact that Steve Stephens chose not be as vulnerable as he could be with folks in his private life does not shock me because we are conditioned through social media to exhibit a level of anonymity and cowardice we can’t achieve in our offline lives. We feel like we can say anything, be anyone (Catfish), and do anything online because we don’t see it as “real.”
And if we can say anything, become anyone, and do anything under the anonymity of the web and largely devoid of consequence why not kill someone? We should have saw this coming in this WorldStar and TMZ era where privacy is not afforded and fights and fornication are recorded! We have in affect desensitized ourselves through the indoctrination of record any and everything to the point where the grotesque and the immoral are not relegated to fantasy, but are enacted in real life! Welcome my friends to the cult of cowards where voyeurism and narcissism conflate to create a community of spineless assholes who have forgone analogue lives for digital ones!
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I think it is important we explore mental illness in the black community and how black masculinity factors into this atrocity. You ask, “what the fuck is wrong with this dude?” I would say society is one aspect to what was wrong with him. Living in a heteronormative patriarchal white supremacist society has a way of boxing Black men into a particular type of masculinity that does great violence to their emotional and psychological health. Black men are taught to repress feelings and perform masculinity in a way that cripples them; thus, we see actions such as these. When Black men attempt to expand notions of masculinity and tread into waters of self exploration and vulnerability, they at times receive push back from the Black community because of stigma and racialized gendered expectations rooted in patriarchy and white supremacy. These are not excuses for his murder; however, it is just a small piece to a multifaceted issue of “what the fuck is wrong with this dude.”
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I wholeheartedly concur with you!!! Repressed emotions in conjunction with not being taught acceptable ways of expressing their emotions is definitely a hinderance to Black men! I feel like Black men express themselves in ways that are not traditionally accepted such as through hip hop. Because this avant-garde method of expression isn’t readily accepted or identified, Black men’s emotions and intimate thoughts go unrecognized and is only given consideration of their mode of expression when the tropes of violence, sexism, and capitalism are in play.