Psychologist: People post violent videos to go viral, many desensitized to violence

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THORNTON, Colo. -- A growing number of people are clicking on a video that shows a huge crowd attack two young men in Thornton.

And while the Thornton Police Department continues to investigate, a Denver psychologist says the video's popularity is a sad consequence of our connected society.

“I thought I was going to die for sure,” assault victim Timmy said.

He and his friend Joshua said the fight was the scariest moment of their lives.

“Before I know it, the door opens. People are throwing punches at me. I tried to cover up. They're landing multiple punches, in my face, chest, and ribs,” he said.

Little did they know their pain would become someone else’s entertainment.

“It’s not, ‘Wow. This is a dangerous situation. I should do something,’” child psychologist Sheryl Ziegler said.

Instead, she said people record, then post violent videos for a chance it’ll go viral.

“There’s a sense fame is just a click away,” Ziegler said.

Ziegler said she’s noticed it with her younger patients who live to get more likes and followers.

“One thing I’ve noticed as a psychologist is empathy is trending down. The more exposure to violence, the more you see, the more you get desensitized,” Ziegler said.

And Ziegler said that’s bad for all of us.

“I am absolutely against it. You are part of the problem when you do something like that,” she said.

But there is one positive from posting videos like this. It provides clear evidence to police and potential justice for victims.

“I did not think they would post it because they can get in trouble for posting it. I’m glad they did,” assault victim Joshua said.

The victims said the men beating them kept saying either, "You messed with the squad" or the vape squad.

Police said this is not an identifiable gang, just a group of friends who face legal trouble if they can be identified.