She pulled the trigger while their three-year-old daughter watched. The bullet passed through the book, entered Pedro Ruiz’s chest and he died a short time later.
The pair hoped the video would be shared and shown around the world, garnering them approval from the masses, and possibly a significant amount of cash.
Instead, the story serves as perhaps the best example of how corrosive the thirst for popularity has become in the modern world, where technology has placed an audience of millions tantalisingly close.
Andy Warhol came close to the mark in 1968 when a catalogue accompanying an exhibition of his work carried the words: ‘In the future everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes.’ His prediction was just a little off. It’s more a case of everybody wanting to be famous for 15 minutes – with some going to great lengths to reach their goal.
The ability to broadcast to a potentially huge audience (using YouTube, Facebook etc) seems to have triggered a race to the bottom, where a lust for ‘likes’ can be satisfied in just a few clicks. Before the internet, people had to make names for themselves on merit, didn’t they? Fame followed talent (unless Max Clifford was involved…). A person was really good at something and people noticed. Now fame is wanted first – preferably accessed via the shortest possible route.
The desire for internet stardom also seems to be hard-wired in children. A friend recently told me that at a primary school leavers’ assembly, around three-quarters of the cohort announced confidently that they ‘wanted to be YouTubers…’
I suppose that an equivalent reaction when I was young was for the boys in the class to say they hoped to grow up to be footballers. The difference was that they didn’t film themselves being shot in their quest to become strikers for Manchester United.
The tragic/needless/stupid Ruiz case shows a failing and a weakness that is probably present to some degree in everyone.
Monalisa Perez, who was confident enough in her boyfriend’s assurances that a 1.5-inch-thick book would stop a bullet, was recently sentenced to six months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter.
She was seven months pregnant when she fired the shot that killed her partner.