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Teacher At Dobbs Ferry's Mercy College Reflects On Virginia Shootings

Mercy College professor Christopher Salute specializes in discussing social media on the Dobbs Ferry campus.
Mercy College professor Christopher Salute specializes in discussing social media on the Dobbs Ferry campus. Photo Credit: Mercy College

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – In the wake of the recent shootings in Virginia, where a TV reporter and her cameraman were gunned down on live television, Mercy College's Christopher Salute considered the role of social media in the shooting.

“I don’t know that the nature of these crimes truly change due to the media outlet. A violent crime is no less violent if we hear about it on the radio or read about it in a newspaper. But the outlet that criminals now have truly amplifies their ability to reach an audience.”

Salute teaches undergraduate social media courses at the Dobbs Ferry campus.

“This has been something we’ve debated in the social media world for a while now: Does the fact that we are able to connect more graphically make the crime worse or simply more palpable?

“But the sources of our information change, and that is why our perceptions are being adjusted. So, I don’t think that this crime was any more brutal than shootings we’ve seen in the past. We’ve read about serial killers and mass shootings in our history books and in newspapers.

“What changes now is the fact that we have the ability to live through these crimes and the subsequent arrests and court cases as they are happening, live. This is powerful.

“As an advocate for social media and someone who loves to connect, even I have to ask if this is right. ‘Is this too powerful? Are some things better left off of our smartphones?’”

Salute holds an MBA in management from Molloy College, and is a former account executive at Yahoo.

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