C is for Capital Punishment is a short film released as part of the anthology film ABCs of Death 2. In the short, we see a town that seems to take law and order into their own hands, as a man whom the townsfolk accuse of the murder of a girl who has gone missing is sentenced to death by the community and taken by a select few out into the woods to be executed. However, as they make their way into the woods, news hits on TV that the girl who the town presumed murdered has been found and that the man who is currently being taken to be executed is innocent. The tension builds as a couple men from town drive off to try and stop the execution before it happens.

The short is incredibly engaging, intense, and suspenseful, not only because a part of centers around a race against the clock, but the fact that it centers around an innocent person being condemned and punished for something he did not do. Sadly the feeling of my pulse starting to race due to a feeling of helplessness and anger due to seeing injustice taking place is more familiar to me than I would like it to be, and a large culprit, sadly, is social media. Now, social media is a wonderful and important thing, letting us communicate more freely than ever before with each other, and to connect with people different than us and far away from us in a way never before possible. Heck, I met my girlfriend online - I'm hardly the guy to preach about the Internet and social media being pure evil. I mean, not only is the amount of information and knowledge at our disposal greater than ever, but now everyone with an Internet connection can make their voices be heard, and all of this is changing the world in many ways for the better. But it's a reality that good things can also have a flipside, and that is true with social media as well.

With great power comes great responsibility, as Uncle Ben would say, and in C is for Capital Punishment a community with the power to condemn one of their own to death end up abusing said power by sentencing a man to death without evidence or fair due process. And although in a different context and to a different extent, I would be lying if I said I wasn't now seeing similar abuse of power taking place on social media. There is no doubt that giving people the ability to spread any message on the Internet is an insane amount of power to give to... well, anyone. And with a power like that comes a great deal of responsibility - to be mindful of what kind of message you put out there, to weigh the pros and cons of certain actions, and to always fact-check to make sure you don't end up spreading a falsehood that thousands, if not millions of people latch onto and will end up believing. Sadly, not enough people consider things like this while on the Internet.

It is becoming more and more frequent to see people spreading information damaging to someone's reputation, only to find out later that said information wasn't actually true. But often by the time the truth comes out it's already too late. People have lost jobs due to negative attention which spreads like wildfire online, their friends and loved ones often get harassed, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. And often when something is proved to be not true, the correction doesn't spread as far and wide as the initial false report. Many will go on believing falsehoods because the truth never reaches them. The prospect of being lynched for something you never said or did just because someone decided they wanted to ruin you is a terrifying prospect for anyone, and because of this we all should take great care in how we conduct ourselves online, and be mindful of how quickly we jump on a bandwagon and join a lynch mob.

Despite the Internet providing us with more information than ever before, it also makes being willfully ignorant all the more easy. With so much information to go through, no one has time to learn it all. So instead of reading up on things or doing research, people choose to believe in certain things, and then stick with it. Social media only amplifies this as most of us - myself included - follow people we agree with, and end up filtering out what we don't like. Our Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with information and viewpoints that align with ours and make us more confident in our own beliefs. We live in our own isolated bubbles, never having to question anything. We simply take what we see at face value, never having to question whether we might be wrong because it becomes so easy to avoid being challenged. Simply block someone and they go away.

Despite living in the real world, the community in C is for Capital Punishment has decided to practice their own laws because they feel they know better. Much in the same way many of us isolate ourselves into our own little communities where we feel we know better. So when our own trusted established community starts circulating something, surely it must be true, right? Few look to see where the information came from - they just accept it and roll with it. The potential aftermath can be dealt with later because it doesn't affect those judging - only the one being judged. But what if one day the one being judged is you?

We could all do with a reminder that we always need to be critical of what we see and hear, and to come to our own conclusions based on the information available to us. We shouldn't let anyone tell us how we should think or feel about something. I feel blessed to have had classes in school where we were taught to be critical of newspapers and media, and to this day, I try to remind myself every day of one simple fact that one of my biggest inspirations - Marilyn Manson - has spent an entire career preaching. And that is to always question everything and to take nothing for granted. We have all been handed an insane amount of power by having access to the Internet. Let's try and treat that power with the gravity that it should be treated with.