The death of Ronnie McNutt is nothing if not tragic.
The Mississippi man, a combat veteran, died by suicide while on Facebook Live.
But the tragedy itself is compounded by the fact that social media made him a viral star without even thinking of the real-life consequences to his family.
On the evening of his death on August 31, 2020, Ronnie McNutt gave clues that he intended to end his life.
His last words were chilling in hindsight.
Sometimes life just takes turns that you don’t expect. But, at the end of the day you have to accept God’s sovereignty as what it is, and learn from the place that you are at. Someone in your life needs to hear that they matter. That they are loved. That they have a future. Be the one to tell them.
Shortly thereafter, McNutt — who served his country in the Iraq war — died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
TikTok users almost immediately made his death viral — to the point that not only were warnings about the video issued on other social media platforms like Twitter, but TikTok itself had to issue a statement saying that they would remove all re-uploads of his suicide video and ban any user that dares to re-upload the video.
But the question begs itself: is this really what Ronnie McNutt deserves? More to the point: how has social media reached the point that we’re making death videos go viral now?
Ronnie McNutt isn’t the first person to go viral off of morbid curiosity on social media, but he should be the last.
He should be remembered for how he lived his life — not how he died.
But most of all, his family should have the right to grieve, in private, without the need to see their son’s death revisited on social media platforms.