The New York Attorney General Wants to Make It Illegal to Give Out Violent Videos

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After a racist shooting in Buffalo, New York, on Tuesday, the government called for changes to federal and state laws.

The 49-page report was made public by the state’s attorney general, Letitia James. After the attack, Gov. Kathy Hochul asked for a report on how the suspect who is accused of killing 10 Black people in a Buffalo supermarket on May 14 used and was helped by the internet.

The suspect wanted to Livestream the killings so that white nationalist ideas would spread and more racist attacks would happen. On May 14, 28 people watched the attack live on Twitch.

The story says that Payton Gendron told the people watching his Livestream, “I just have to do it.” “Now I’m going in.” Twitch stopped the Livestream two minutes “after the first person was shot.” However, a single user in Washington state posted a version of the video on the night of the shooting that went viral.

Based on the study, the link had been shared hundreds of times in just a few days.

James, a Democrat, asked New York lawmakers to make it a crime to take photos or videos of a murder, which would be the first law of its kind in the US. He also asked that people who shared such videos online be held responsible for sending violent content.

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James said in a statement that online platforms that aren’t regulated well enough are “breeding grounds for white supremacists.”

In his report, the attorney general acknowledged that it is hard to hold platforms accountable. The First Amendment and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protect hosts of online content from being held responsible for content posted by users.

James said that Section 230 should be changed. This month, the Supreme Court will hear a case about the law, which may change how it is seen. Before the attack, Gendron, who is now 19 years old, had signs of mental instability.

State Police picked up Gendron, a senior after he told them he was thinking about killing himself and killing someone else after he graduated. He was put in a hospital for an evaluation of his mental health, but he was let out after he convinced the doctors that he was joking, which he later admitted in his writings.

“No joke,” he wrote. “I thought I would do it, so I wrote it down.”

Later that year, the suspect wrote in a Discord diary about racism and attack plans. Discord says it uses “sophisticated tooling” and “machine learning” to find violent content, but James’ office found that its systems “either didn’t scan his writing or weren’t calibrated to assess the abundance of racial memes, harsh language, and detailed information about a planned mass shooting.”

Gendron’s goals were not only missed by his platform. Before what happened, he streamed three times on Twitch, but it didn’t look like he broke any rules. The footage of the attack was 24 minutes long, which included two minutes after the first shot.

The New York Attorney General Wants to Make It Illegal to Give Out Violent Videos

There is no meaningful content control on 4chan. The suspect wrote that every time he had doubts about the attack, he would go to the site for five minutes to get himself back on track.

The suspect says he went to the East Side of Buffalo to “kill as many Black people as he could.” It was the most African American neighborhood near where he was born, 200 miles to the southeast in Conklin, New York.

Gendron is said to have shot 13 people while dressed in camouflage and wearing a ballistic helmet and body armor. Three people made it out alive.

The suspect was arrested at the scene after he pointed a gun at himself. He is being charged with murder, domestic terrorism, and more than two dozen federal gun and hate crime charges. Charges were dropped on everyone.

Even though there is a ban on federal executions, Merrick Garland has not ruled out the death penalty for the most serious federal crimes.

Hochul announced several changes to the state’s gun laws and ordered the creation of a new unit to keep an eye on online violent extremism. She also told the State Police to use New York’s “red flag” law, which takes weapons away from people who are a threat to themselves or others, more forcefully.

James said that, despite her legislative ideas, the state can’t do much to stop gun violence and mass shootings. She wrote that New York has been a leader in making gun laws. “But gun violence is a problem for the whole country.”

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