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  • Would you watch clips of genuine violence?
  • Premier Icon SaxonRider

    Someone just tweeted a request that people not watch the video(s) of the horror that has just unfolded in New Zealand, and I guess I remain eternally surprised that anyone would have to ask.

    There was a “death” video doing the rounds back when I was in high school (in the 1980s) that I simply refused to watch when someone put it on at a house party “for a laugh”.

    Then, of course, there were all the absolutely sickening videos that made their way onto social media when Daesh still held power in Syria and Iraq. One of these showed up on my facebook timeline that I saw only seconds of, and felt as if I suffered from PTSD afterward (seriously).

    So my question is: Would you watch? Have you watched? Do you have any thoughts or feelings over the ethics of watching?

    Premier Icon jam bo

    how abstracted does it have to be before its ok to watch though?

    I always found drone strike footage on the news fairly distasteful.

    I wouldnt watch such things. If you watch them for fun you have problems.

    Premier Icon bikebouy

    Would you watch clips of genuine violence?

    No, simple really.

    Premier Icon DezB

    I don’t mind fights n things on telly, but won’t go beyond that.
    I know people that would – like ex-military people who have seen stuff in real life.

    Premier Icon P-Jay

    No, not willingly, but sometimes when I’m really down I’ve found myself on Liveleak simultaneously looking for and trying not to watch some horrible stuff.

    It’s for me one of the few downsides the the Internet, like SaxonRider said, ‘snuff films’ were a thing in the 80s, a few really uptight Men (it was always men) sharing a grainy VHS of someone being killed, revolting stuff. Nowadays you can find dozens of videos of people being gunned down by Police in the US, others being killed by Helicopters in the Middle East or much much worse, a lot as sold as being “this is terrible, we should do something about it” but really if you watch a video of a women being beheaded on the street in Saudi for some trumped up crime, what are you really going to do about it? ‘Awareness’ is often the most useless tool to fix anything.

    I’m certain it wouldn’t take me long to find the live stream of the attacks in NZ, but I would disgust myself watching them.

    Premier Icon lunge

    I wouldn’t, but I sit in an office of 25 people and a good few of them already have watched the footage from New Zealand.

    Football fans, drunk, knocking 7 shades of shite out of each other, god aye!.

    Anything like that suggested above, premeditated, sick, cruel, definitely not.

    Premier Icon kilo

    No. Closest I’ve seen is I used to have to look at a lot of child / baby rape and abuse videos and images for work, I ended up having a breakdown. I can’t understand why people would want to watch real violence, some sort of inadequacy issues? Getting pleasure out of violence being inflicted on another human being is sick and sharing / distributing possibly an offence under the communications act (iirc). I’d have no problem with people who share and this perpetuate this sort of stuff being jobbed.


    I watched a compilation of nasties on a CD called Banned In America back in the 90s.
    It showed execution, suicide, suicide by cop and all sorts of horrors.
    I felt a general mental malaise for weeks.

    I don’t mind the odd A10 Warthog vs insurgents video though.



    even though I played a violent sport for a lot of years violence shocks me.
    the lads at work pass horrible videos of such stuff round.
    they know not to send any to my phone.

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    I sit in an office of 25 people and a good few of them already have watched the footage

    I hope the people I work with would choose not to. I f any of them, or anyone I knew, tried to share them with me they’d be told to **** off and I’d be making a lot of effort not to have anything more to do with them.

    Football fans, drunk, knocking 7 shades of shite out of each other, god aye!.

    Rees-Mogg being repeatedly slapped with a large fish – I’d pay to watch that

    That’s about it though


    No, I wouldn’t.

    However, once I was shown by a friend a very gruesome tribal warfare clip from the very tribal region in SE Asia (Papua region I think – remember they called people “long pig”). Initially, I did not know what I was looking at because the camera zoomed in too closely and when it zoomed out I realised what I was watching, I could not watch it for another second. I felt I was vomiting … gave my friend some bollockings for even watching them. To some of my native friends they seem immune to such violence.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Occasionally. Like, I’ve watched a couple of police misconduct things, it’s not nice but it’s good to know how other people get treated. Something like this? Hell no.

    Premier Icon lowey

    Absolutely not. As above, already been round the office and I refused point blank.

    It would haunt me.



    Thinking specifically about acts of terror, those who perpetrated them would definitely want you to watch, hoping it would make you think or feel a certain way. That alone is enough to prevent me from doing so. Why would I aid them in achieving their goals?

    Furthermore, there’s the dignity of the victims to think about. I couldn’t imagine wanting to see some blameless soul’s last terrfied moments.

    Quite apart from that, I’d be worried about the risk to my own mental health. I can’t imagine gaining anything desirable from watching a beheading video.

    However, as I’m writing this, I remember the worst thing I’ve ever seen on film which was a documentary on the Rwandan genocide. Although utterly horrific, the footage of the killings and their aftermath did leave me with something that, in retrospect, feels, for want of a better term, valuable. Just an understanding of what an event like that truly means, and a reinforced suspicion of the kind of in-group/out-group thinking/propaganda which led to it.

    So how does the above differ from terrorist-shot footage? Intent, I suppose. The Rwandan footage had the appearance of being largely shot surreptitiously by witnesses who just wanted a record of what was occurring. I understand that some of the films did ultimately lead to prosecutions.

    Maybe I’m over-rationalising.


    I’ve fell down the old Reddit black hole of shocking videos, and felt pretty bad about myself afterwards, like I need a hot shower and a rethink of my life. Some have been truly fascination, like the Bjork Stalker Ricardo Lopez, his videos were a true depiction of a mans descent into madness with a shocking conclusion.

    The really sad thing is that what was once shocking doesn’t seem as such anymore and people are more willing to partake when the videos start getting passed around. It certainly doesn’t make it right

    A guy at work today jammed his mobile in my face at work today to proudly show me the footage of that disgusting piece of nazi shit for reasons only known to himself, all he said was “my god, isn’t it shocking” – Watching peoples lives being snuffed out isn’t cool, it’s horrific and sad, but then there seems to be endless amounts of people, including news outlets, that just could not wait to get that out there and spread as far and wide as possible.

    But then it’s like everyone is looking to be the person who get’s the footage of the next 9-11. How many times do we see that plane hit the side of the building and explode. The plane has people on board and there are plenty of people in the building, but we don’t flinch, we just accept it as background footage now. Or when Challenger explodes in the numerous documentaries pointing out how alive the astronauts were when the capsule hit the water.

    I’m sure it’s just us hitting the peak of morbid curiosity, and as long as we have the flat screen between us then it’s still ok


    On the news in the last few years I’ve seen footage of the airshow crash cut mere seconds before impact and you see the cars that are about to be wiped out.
    During the Iraq was and others we got missile cam footage almost daily.

    We have a detachment from some scenes ans not others, some of this will be a filter we apply.

    One of the most iconic images of the Vietnam war is the girl fleeing the napalm attack in agaony.

    Kevin Carter’s photo from Sudan is another

    The list of time photos are probably going to be interesting in terms of what some of the images depict.


    I am also cold to images like that ^

    Premier Icon rone

    I can watch most violent things, but I hate it when animal cruelty pops up in Twitter feeds.

    The News/net has sort of desensitised me to most things, and i have seen my underserving fair share of cruel human stuff that I just can’t reconcile.

    It does do a good job of reminding you your human and you wish the world could be a better place.

    I remember back in the 90s when a film about capital punishment (featuring a real execution) was passed by the BBFC, for some reason my Dad confiscated it from me. I was more upset that he took it off me then the actual film.

    As a film maker you do have a relationship with understanding violence but it doesn’t really make the world a nicer place no matter how you square it.

    Premier Icon rone

    I think with the NZ murders we have moved into a different chapter where like child abuse pics – you are effectively distributing the hate and serving its purpose when you view it.

    Especially given it was live streamed, with that intent in mind.

    Definitely one not to seek out.

    Where do you draw the line?

    Photographs and videos of violence serve a good purpose believe it or not

    Militaries around the world would love it if you weren’t allowed or didn’t get to see what they do. I’ve just seen plenty of “death videos” on Netflix’s documentary on humour in dark places, people getting gunned down by General Butt Naked during the Liberian war etc. It didn’t make me happy or satisfy morbid curiosity, it made me remember how **** up war is and how we should never get into one with the idea that it is anything but a brutal and imprecise undertaking.

    I actually think that if a lot of racists saw a video of a white right wing terror attack, they might be shocked into changing their tune. Racists count for about 20 percent of the population, the people who are so sociopathic that they wouldn’t feel affected by such a video are what…1 percent?

    I don’t want to watch it, simply because I already know what to expect. However, people on the whole are “death averse” and don’t like to see or witness the deaths of others that they might be partially responsibility for – by fostering a culture of hate.

    Premier Icon pondo

    I have in the past – our family were into motor racing and I remember hiring a video from a local shop with a suitably generic motor racing documentry title, I don’t remember anything else other than some horrific fatal crashes. I was only about ten, my parents could never have known what it was showing otherwise I’d have got nowhere near it. I was quite traumatised for a long time.

    Someone mentioned above seeking darkness whilst in a dark mood, and I watched a couple of the Al Queda hostage beheadings whilst drifting through a rough patch in an alcoholic haze following the death of me mum and dad. I wouldn’t watch them now, and regret watching them then – I understand the morbid fascination but no good can come of it.

    Premier Icon rone

    I find the Cartel stuff intriguing (I have lots of books etc). I just can’t get my thoughts around how cruel they are.

    Completely inhuman, next level stuff.

    I don’t mind the odd A10 Warthog vs insurgents video though

    You see, I think that response is the actual problem here – and the one that is most indicative of cultural problems.

    We don’t mind violence, just keep it clean by using some JDAMs. But oh no, heaven forbid some squaddies beating kids up in Basra, sergeants crucifying live mice on pencils in firebase bunkers, ghurkas cutting people’s heads off for the bantz, close quarters combat footage or terror attacks. That’s like…to real bro…

    I watched the same Rwanda documentary as arrpee and to this day is probably the most harrowing thing I’ve seen. Once you’ve seen a helpless unarmed man be hacked to death with machetes there’s not much more you can stomach.

    Premier Icon DezB

    Thing is with the internet, there’s like a oneupmanship – ‘oh yeah I watched that ‘ ‘oh haven’t you seen it?’ Kind of thing.
    Facebook have to be taken to task for giving **** like this the ability to live stream though. It ain’t right.

    Is this really so different?

    Can’t help but wonder if stuff like this leads to the duality of views like this:

    I don’t mind the odd A10 Warthog vs insurgents video though

    Premier Icon DezB

    Is this really so different?

    In films, too… they like use real people.
    It really isn’t the same thing JHJ.



    Why would I?
    Saw enough violence of one sort or another during 16 years in the prison service, just no actual killing.

    Premier Icon TiRed

    No. Real violence is inglorious. I recall watching the video of shovelling dead bodies at the liberation of the concentration camps during a documentary. I was sick afterwards.

    Body counts on films are completely detached. I don’t care for them but can easily suspend belief. The more realistic, the harder to watch. I don’t play computer games but the same applies.


    I absolutely abhor human killing.
    But in answer to the Op. Yes. I’ve watched and would still watch plenty more.
    I don’t watch any news media though. and barely use social media so I’d have to go out of my way to search to find any footage of todays attrocity.
    I don’t feel bad for watching at all. I already feel bad about the waste of human life. Watching it doesn’t change that in the slightest.
    War. The military, Politicians, Religion etc. are the real problem with the world. Not computer games.

    What would happen if someone produced a mass market video game that simulated and normalized the (taxpayer funded) invasion and massacre of Christian (or Jewish) communities?


    Nothing worse than the British army recruitment propoganda adverts showing sodjurs doing fun stuff and building “carrers” that get aired on TV all the time.

    Plenty war games simulate invasion and normalise the already bizarre concept of “them” vs “us”.
    it doesn’t really matter who or what religion the “them” are
    Do keep up Mr Honeyjive

    Yes. I’ve watched and would still watch plenty more.

    Why would you, seeing as you find it abhorrent?
    Doesn’t make sense.


    I wouldn’t watch for entertainment but sometimes it is informative. It demonstrates the depths of moral deprivation and the extremes people will go to, yet it’s the smaller acts of physical and emotional violence that kill hundreds of thousands more people


    Premier Icon Caher

    Definitely not. I don’t even like Itchy & Scratchy.

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