The violence in Chicago, Illinois is getting out of hand, but not because of a fake news story that created a viral media panic when it alleged that teens had reenacted events from the new film, The Purge: Anarchy, resulting in 112 deaths. The article was a farcical creation of spoof news site, Cream Bmp Daily.

What’s upsetting is that one of my friends professed this falsity to me as reality, not even knowing that the story derived from a spoof-news website. Living in an increasingly violent world led me to fearfully believe her, until I got home and did some fact checking.

America would be in an uproar if an actual event mocking The Purge franchise took place. It would not only be devastating, but would garner worldwide media attention. This occurrence made me realize excessive public displays of violence have desensitized our culture to the point a hoax of this magnitude can be reduced to casual water-cooler storytelling that’s presumable. It was a depressing realization.

Are we really living in a world so brutal we’ll believe every impetuous story we hear without actual proof being provided?

Before provoking dismay in people around you by sharing public predicaments that have caught a public buzz, make sure your facts are accurate and palpable. Some bad news isn’t actual news at all and it’s rational to know that before you start sharing it.