Nightmare soundtrack to this fucked up memory. This isn’t a particularly funny post.
Things are going pretty well in my life right now. I’m working a lot to save money to go to Europe in under 2 weeks. I’ve been talking to a beautiful girl frequently and can’t wait to see her again. I’ve got some music projects in the works and am slowly starting to get some seeds of an idea for a story to write.
So now is probably a good time to talk about some fucked up shit.
I think I discovered 4chan in 2003. But I didn’t actively use the site until about 10 years later. For me, when I first saw 4chan, it wasn’t hard core enough. I’d grown up from the ages of about 13 to 17 browsing shock sites. Everyone talked about rotten.com. I saw it, but it wasn’t enough. I found myself on sites like stileproject, bangedup and consumptionjunction, that were the next level of shock site. I was on the search for the most graphic thing I could find.
Funnily enough, the most graphic thing I could find wasn’t that graphic, compared to what I had seen in the past. I think I was about 19 or 20. By then I had discovered the joys of marijuana, but not the lows. I was on stile project watching videos stoned, must have been about 2005. I saw a few shocking ones of people falling off cliffs and just their bodies tearing apart, and that shook me up a bit. Then I watched this video of a guy in an airport. It was security footage. I can’t say I’ll never forget it, but it really imprinted onto my brain. I clicked the link and I had no idea what the video was about to show.
The video starts with a guy sitting in a chair, I think he has his left leg crossed over his right. You see security leave the room and he picks up a bottle of water on the table next to him, and takes a sip. He takes another sip and then puts the bottle down. It looks like he contemplates having another swig but instead he reaches into his jacket, pulls out a gun, and shoots himself in the temple. Blood splatters, he slumps, his arm just kind of hangs limp to his side.
It’s not too graphic really. I’m not saying that as 14 year old me would have said it, slightly shaken up but playing brave. I’m legitimate, it’s not that graphic. Since then, there has been an increase in graphic, HD quality videos, with shock tube sites like heavy-r and live leak constantly scouring for new fucked up gore videos. The quality of cameras has gone up. Smart phones are in nearly everyone’s pockets, allowing videos of horrific things to be captured and uploaded almost instantly. In short, the quantity and quality of this kind of thing has increased.
But this video, this one had a date in the corner.
19th of December, 2003.
That’s my birthday.
It wasn’t just the date of my birthday, I actually remembered that day. It was my 18th birthday. I got my nipple pierced. I got dreadlocks put into my hair, as it was something I had always wanted to do but mum would never let me get them until I was 18. I had a party and drank the night away with my friends, finally old enough to go out to the nightclubs with everyone else.
Meanwhile a guy shot himself in the head. He even appeared to do the shooting without thinking about it too much.
Naturally, I just searched this today on google. This video is on youtube. This fucking video, something that back when it came out was on the darker side of the internet, is now on youtube. I’m not saying that’s bad and want to bring censorship to the internet; I grew up with a somewhat unhealthy curiosity of dead bodies and gore and spent many hours searching the internet for things to freak me out, desensitising myself in the process.
It pretty much stopped when I saw this video though.
Now, in 2016, all I’d need to do to watch this and other similar movies, is set up a fake email address, “prove” I’m 18, and I can scroll to my hearts desire.
To be honest, it’s ruined what was fun about the search. I almost feel sorry for the next generation of depraved teenagers.
Here’s some non graphic screenshots.
This is what I saw when I clicked on the link. I’d already had to log in and agree that I was 18 to access this.
Like what the fuck? Yes, I know it’s extremely graphic. I have already signed in and seen the first warning. You’ve now wasted 19 seconds of my fucking life with fucking warnings. Quit dramatising something that has been on the internet and readily available for over 10 years. The whole concept is bullshit, and pisses me off. You have a channel on youtube full of this shit. There’s a banner on your poorly formatted video saying “subscribe below for more videos!!!”. That’s right, three fucking exclamation marks. This youtuber has uploaded a video and then sensationalised the shit out of it to try and get more views. If you look on the right hand column, you can see that they aren’t the only person doing this either.
When I first saw this video, it was linked in one of Stiles’ rants. For those of you who never went to stileproject (don’t bother going there now, it got sold to a porn site. I’ve searched but haven’t managed to find a screen shot) Jay Stile would post a rant about something, and then certain words would be links to images or movies. Think Wikipedia, but instead of hyperlinks to more information, it was a link to all kinds of fucked up shit. You wouldn’t know if you were about to see a photo of porn, a gore video or something completely random. Possibly funny but probably fucked up. It kept you on your toes, and is probably why when I’m on reddit I almost always click every link. I’m not saying I seek out these kind of images anymore, I’m saying that if a link is posted and says something like “relevant”, I’ll click it due to it’s context, not because of it’s shock value. There very rarely is any shock.
The great thing about stileproject was there was no warning that a particular image was graphic, you were already on stilproject and knew it would be fucked up. It makes me sad to see videos that are graphic and shocking lose their impact because someone is whoring for youtube views.
Life is shocking. If you see a car crash, you don’t get a warning pop up before it happens.
This image is what I was greeted with once. There was no youtube banner down the bottom, the video wasn’t as compressed and there was no Aimersoft logo in the middle. I had no reference point at all as to what had led up to this moment, and knew no details about what happened after. I remember looking at it and thinking “wow, that’s my birthday”. I then watched in fascination, wondering what was going to happen.
I have watched this video multiple times since then, and it still has some impact. It’s not nearly as shocking as that initial time (I think the weed enhanced that experience for the worse) but I still stop and think back to my 18th birthday. While I was having a great day and night, this man shot and killed himself. When 1,000 people get killed, it becomes a statistic. If you can humanise a moment, it becomes far more real.
One good thing about having these videos on youtube though is that it has more information. In this case, there was a link to Wikipedia.
It turns out that the man who shot himself was Ricardo Alfonso Cerna. He was 47 years old, the same age as my mother at that point in time. I had thought he was at an airport and must have been caught trafficking drugs or something but it turns out he was actually brought into custody over a traffic violation, and had not been searched properly.
There’s some speculation that Ricardo shot himself to either avoid living in prison for the rest of his life (it was his third serious offence) or to prevent having his family murdered by drug cartels from possibly Guatemala, his place of birth. But speculation is exactly that, and the only person who truly knows why he did it is now dead and buried. Or maybe burnt and his ashes are now in an urn. I shouldn’t speculate either.
Interestingly, wikipedia states that to avoid sensationalising, the police showed a select number of media outlets the footage, which is how it got leaked. Here we are, 13 years later, with the video on youtube followed by 20 seconds of sensationalist warnings about the video before you watch it.
I guess that’s the world we live in now, flashing lights and colours, 15 minutes of fame reduced to 5; when tweets count as credible sources and the news stations report what they have been paid to say. Or maybe it was always like that but I’m just starting to see it more clearly.
While researching this essay/post (yes, I actually research this shit) I came across an AMA with Jay Stiles from 2012. To give you a bit of an insight into the site, (all text, nothing graphic) here’s a link to the questions and a link to the answers because his account got deleted.
I had a point to all of this, but it’s forgotten now.