The shots that abruptly rang out on a live news broadcast on the August 26th shocked the American nation. The horrific murders in Virginia of the WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker and her colleague Adam Ward, sounded the latest chapter in America's endless turmoil over race.
Immediately, outraged people took to Twitter to share their feelings about the on-air murders; amid the 140 characters the sympathy and disbelief, there were some who insinuated, and others who outright stated, that the ideas of #BlackLivesMatter - - the social justice movement of the moment - was an instigator in a racially motivated act of violence, somehow pulling the Bryce Williams' strings - the tortured soul who had exploded with pitiless rage, after a chaotic lifetime spent wrestling with his sexuality and his racial identity.
This included the controversial American TV radio host, Glenn Beck who wrote on his Facebook page, "A small American town unfortunately knows that ALL LIVES MATTER. Who will be the first politician not to tweet about guns, but instead talk about the black on black violence and the violence that has come through racist movements like "black lives matter".
This was supported by many tweets which questioned the aims of the Black Lives Matter movement. A popular view accused it of double standards; alleging that the murder of a black person resulted in an uproar denouncing the social and racial injustice experienced by African-Americans, but when the tables were turned and it was a black-on-white killing, the excuse was to ban of gun ownership, so cherished by huge swathes of America's citizenry.
Conservative news network Breitbart published an article on the Virginia murders entitled: Black, Gay Reporter Murders Straight, White Journalists – Media Blame the Gun. It stated: "Had a white straight man killed a black gay man, released first-person tape of the shooting, and then unleashed a manifesto about being victimized by affirmative action and anti-religious bigotry from homosexuals, the media would never stop covering the story."
Point-scorers on social media demanded a #WhiteLivesMatter movement - asking should white people not publicly seek justice as a race? Whether this was genuine or merely a spiteful, 'angry white man' retaliation it appears that the #BlackLivesMatter movement's purpose seems to have been misunderstood.
With the black America under attack many people sought to respond; Charles Blow a journalist for the New York Times, tweeted in response "If the idea of #BlackLivesMatter bothers u, ask yourself: Why?! The irritation over elevating blackness to equal status reveals something..."
Black or white, gay or straight?
The activist movement was formed in 2012 after the murder of unarmed African-American teen Trayvon Martin, gunned down by George Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watch volunteer, on his way back from the convenience store. Zimmerman was not charged at the time due to lack of evidence, although he was later brought to trial in July 2013 but was acquitted by an all-white jury.
After the police killings of two unarmed black men Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, in New York City in 2014, Black Lives Matter gained further momentum in the campaign. On the official Twitter page #BlackLivesMatter is described as "an affirmation and embrace of the resistance and resilience of black people".
Arguments about race and racial equality have caused controversy, violence and death throughout history and it continues into the 21st century - distilled on Twitter and in chat-rooms. This was certainly the case after the Virginia shootings, and although some may disagree, Black Lives Matter aims to affirm black people's contribution to society as a race, project and utilise black people's rights and improve equality in America through battling racial injustice.
The "ideological and political intervention" that is Black Lives Matter seems to have been incorrectly identified if it is assumed to be one dimensional. It is "a movement, but it is also a mantra," according to Jonathan Newton, the founder and president of the National Association Against Police Brutality.
Of course, there is no debate when it comes to the fact that the on-screen slaying of Parker and Ward was an appallingly crime - committed by a man or woman, black or white, gay or straight, two innocent lives have been lost.