BEHEADING VIDEOS: To Watch or Not to Watch

Published on September 6, 2014

by Judy Rice
Clash Daily Guest Contributor

One of the top news stories of this week is the beheading of American journalist, Steven Sotloff in Syria. As we know, this is the second American journalist that recently died at the hands of these barbarians who belong to a frightening group of organized Islamic Militants called ISIS. About one month ago James Foley was killed in the exact same manner.

Since the killers are very open and proud to video-tape and then post the barbaric beheadings, we all have a choice to make, “Should we watch it?” I have not watched either killings for now and I may never do it. My husband watched the Daniel Pearl beheading a few years ago and strongly advised me not to watch. He told me that I will never sleep again and he can still vividly see that beheading in his mind today. You can’t erase those images once they are in your head. From my reactions to both beheadings without even looking at the videos, I decided to heed these warnings, but should everyone?

What was my reaction? When I heard what happened to these men, tears welled up in my eyes instantly and even as I write this. How does this happen to a human being? How do people become capable of such barbaric crimes? The executioner did wear a mask, but other than that, he proudly taped and posted his “achievements.”

This man was once a little boy obliviously running around, playing and learning from the adults around him. Now I haven’t a clue when or how this particular executioner joined ISIS, but we all know he did. Where and when did his extremely dysfunctional thinking begin? He was somehow convinced by somebody, or more than likely more than one person, that this sort of “lifestyle” is not only acceptable, but encouraged and celebrated!

We are told that investigators are suspicious, as of now, that the same man killed both journalists. We also know that at least one more person must have witnessed the crime when it was happening. Somebody held the video-taping device. I suspect more people stood by and watched, but we do have proof at least one did.

As I ponder the vicious crimes of the executioners, my thoughts shift to the mothers of these two victims. Shirley Sotloff and Diane Foley come to mind. I can’t even imagine the thoughts that go through your head as you watch your child die in such a barbaric manner! No mother wants to ever see her child be harmed no matter how old they are. The beheadings were not quick at all. From what I understand, it took a bit of time to complete the horrific crimes.

If this isn’t enough to put you into a pool of tears, then I say, “Yes! By all means watch the videos!” I wouldn’t advice it for your children, if you value your sleep. That would be completely unnecessary.

But if you are an adult that has a conscience that isn’t stirred by these terrifying acts, maybe it is time to wake yourself up. These two men were little boys at one time. Bouncing around and playing without a care in the world. I am sure both mother’s never suspected that their “bundles of joy” would ever die at the hands of Islamic militants. I think it is safe to say that in a mother’s mind, our kids are always our babies.

I suspect some of you are thinking, but these were journalists in Syria and Daniel Pearl was in Pakistan. Things like this can’t happen in America! These journalists shouldn’t have been there! Remember 9-11-2001? Remember how we saw those planes crash for a few days and then we didn’t? The people who are looking out for us thought it was best we stop seeing the footage of those planes crashing because it was so upsetting? In my opinion, “We the People of the United States” don’t get angry enough!

Now I am not saying that we should riot or anything, but how about start by just speaking up about the things that matter? Get to know people around us and start some meaningful conversations. As the anniversary of 9-11 approaches, I can’t help but think of all those victims and those victims’ families. How terrifying it must have been for all those who died that day. Thinking about those who didn’t die instantly is even more disturbing to me.

If you don’t feel really upset and angry by these beheadings, consider watching the crimes to jog your conscience. Then ask yourself some questions. In addition to some other questions I mentioned already, how about: “What is this “religion of peace called Islam?” Is it really peaceful? Why don’t the peaceful Muslims that wouldn’t kill an ant speak up against it? What do you know about all this? Learn something about it because it is here and here to stay if we don’t push back and put some pressure on those in charge of our country that truly have the power and authority to do something.

We have grown so incredibly complacent in a country that still has the power and resources to be the exceptional Nation that we still could be. “We the People of the Unites States” are dozing off and I am afraid many have already fallen into a deep sleep. It is time to pinch your neighbors! The conversation starter couldn’t be simpler. Everyone has heard about the beheadings by now and if they didn’t, might I suggest you enlighten them? Ask someone what they think and why? Get their opinion and express yours as gently, yet unapologetically, as possible. America has always been a leader because the citizens have had the freedom and courage to speak up and fight for what it right and good. Time is ticking away.

The first book I read about Islam was called Because They Hate by Brigette Gabriel, the Founder of Act for America. She is personal, honest, open, sincere and unapologetic when she writes. This is a great starting point. Just start somewhere.


Judy RiceJudy Rice is the proud mother of teenage triplets, Jillian, Spencer and Derek and wife to Gary, one of the most loving, hardworking, honorable men in the world. She is a Christian who is a huge fan of traditional marriage, freedom, and is pro- life to the core. She has a Masters in Counseling from DePaul University in Chicago and a Bachelors degree in Communications from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Before kids, she worked as a counselor, advisor and teacher at the university level. She clarified her world view in her thirties and believes her most valuable education continues to come from reading the Bible, reading in general, listening, paying attention and participating in meaningful communication wherever it occurs.