Pre-beheading photos are graphic because we know what happens next

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Two American journalists were beheaded by masked men in the Middle East in 2014. Photos of the scenes right before the beheadings were shown constantly on some TV channels and circulated on social media.

Some people mentioned seeing video posted of the actual beheadings. I didn’t watch those and also didn’t seek them out.

A journalism chat on Twitter on Sept. 3, 2014, discussed what should be published and what shouldn’t be. I’m not sure that this can be controlled anymore. I didn’t see the actual beheadings on TV, but people can mostly share whatever they want on social media – even if just in the short-term. It was reported that Twitter removed images eventually.

One major question remains in my mind:

How do we prevent our children from seeing images and videos like this? Is it possible? I hope so, but it’s probably not.

In addition, where do we draw the line on what’s shown on mainstream media? Many channels showed the image of the kneeling Americans, right before the beheadings.

Some might argue that those images aren’t that graphic. Personally, they sent chills down my spine every time I see them. I remember them vividly.0

I know what happens next. I can picture it – even without seeing it.

The photos, unfortunately, tell true stories that I wish wouldn’t have to be told.