I watched “Don’t F**k With Cats” last night – a true-crime mini-series documenting the hunt for a killer who sought attention on the internet. After seeing a shocking video post that showed the death of two kittens, an online group came together to identify the killer and alert the police.
At the end of the series we’re left with a few questions, and the main one that vexes the online group is why the police didn’t listen sooner. They suppose the killer would’ve been caught sooner, if so. Perhaps that’s true, perhaps an opportunity was missed.
What happens if the police do respond to all alarming reports of online activity when digital manipulation is increasingly easy? If ten reports from an online group are ignored and result in one death that could’ve been averted, we could conclude that each report should get attention. If the available resources has instead being chasing nine wild geese and weren’t able to catch another murderer they might have otherwise, clearly it’s not a net benefit.
Everyone everywhere would like more resources, so prioritisation has to occur.
We can’t know how what else was achieved while this opportunity was (perhaps) missed, and what we make salient informs our view on the prioritisation decisions.