WELLNESS
09/05/2014 10:07 am ET Updated Sep 05, 2014

Why You Shouldn't Watch The ISIS Beheadings

Two American journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley, have been beheaded at the hands of the ISIS. While the deaths can be viewed online, should we choose to abstain from watching them?

Rev. Paul Raushenbush, HuffPost Executive Religion Editor, joined HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani to discuss why he refuses to watch the videos.

“I have chosen not to give the perpetrators that pleasure because I think that’s part of it; they want this shock value, they want to affect me, they want to get to me and they want to make me fearful,” Raushenbush said. “So I’ve decided, for me, the best approach is actually not to think about the people who did this, particularly, at all.”

Instead, Raushenbush chooses to focus on the bravery of the journalists and learn about their lives.

“I want to know about the life of the person who died, the life of the person who was taken from us, who actually was so brave and went over there often motivated by deep humanitarian care, and I learn about them,” he said. “I don’t need to see it to know it’s brutal, but I do feel like my duty, my emotional allegiance, is actually to the people who have just died.”

Clinical psychiatrist Dr. Dale Archer joined the conversation to discuss what can happen to our brains when we watch the video rather than just read about it.

“We don’t have any studies which look at this specifically … but we can extrapolate from studies that have looked at violent video games and violent movies, and we know that there are brain changes that take place when that occurs," Archer said. "[It] desensitizes the brain to impulsive behavior and violent behavior.”

To hear more of the conversation, watch the full HuffPost Live segment here.

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