04/18/2017

What Does Cleveland’s Facebook Live Murder Say About Social Media … And Us? [Watch]

Chris Pandolfo, Conservative Review

A manhunt is underway in Cleveland, Ohio for a man suspected of murdering an elderly citizen in cold blood and streaming his crime on Facebook Live, Sunday afternoon. The crime is barbaric. It is uniquely narcissistic. And, perhaps worse of all, the video has gone viral ... which means the video has an audience. 

This is the latest in a series of violent crimes streamed using Facebook’s Live video feature.

Police are searching for Steve Stephens, who goes by the name “Stevie Steve,” in connection with the murder of 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr., who was killed — apparently at random — as thousands watched his death live-streamed on social media.

Cleveland police confirmed that a FB Live video posted to Stephens’ account showing Godwin being shot is legitimate. The extremely graphic video depicts Stephens in his vehicle saying “[Found me] somebody I’m about to kill. Imma kill this guy right here.”

He then proceeds to exit his vehicle and walks up to Godwin, asking him how old he is before pulling out his weapon. Stephens asks Godwin to repeat the name of his ex-girlfriend and then proceeds to shoot the old man in the head explaining that “she’s the reason this is about to happen to you.” As if he can justify his heinous acts by blame casting.

Stephens has reportedly claimed online to have killed 15 people, according to The Sun. Police have confirmed only one victim.

“We need Steve to turn himself in,” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said at a press conference. “Right now there are two families out there hurting. Mr. Godwin’s family and of course there are people out there who care about Steve and want to see this not go any further.

“We’ve brought everything to bear on this, from our federal partners, our state and local partners. And everybody is out there looking for Steve. We want this to end with as much peace as we can bring to this right now,” Williams said.

“What happened today is senseless,” he added.

Family members of the victim, Robert Godwin Sr., spoke to local news outlets. “He’s a good guy,” one said. “He’d give you the shirt off his back.”

“This man right here was a good man. And I just hate, I hate he’s gone. It’s not real.”

Why did this happen? Why is a good man dead?

A manifesto of sorts for Stephens’ crimes comes from his Facebook page, in both posts and videos which have since been taken down. The alleged killer blames his ex-girlfriend of three years for driving him “crazy.” He claims to have ruined his life with gambling and bankruptcy. He rails against a job he hates. He demands that innocent people die because no one “cares” for his problems. “We are all human and we all have breaking points,” he says.

He has killed and used social media for attention and sympathy. He’s certainly obtained the former. God forbid he obtains the later. But he is not alone. Stephens’ crimes are the latest in a series of brutal crimes and acts of violence that have been posted to the internet using Facebook’s live video feature.

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