When Ronnie's friends clicked to watch his live video on Facebook, they were not prepared for what was about to happen. It was not unusual for Ronnie McNutt to start a live stream and talk about everything from theology to pop culture. However, on August 31st, about 40 minutes into his livestream, the army veteran picked up a rifle and shot himself.
If you are an active social media user, you have probably heard about the TikTok suicide video. After the Iraq War veteran live-streamed his death, the distressing video went viral on Facebook and Tiktok. Due to his shocking actions, this tragic story evokes a desire to know more about the man and what happened to make him take such drastic measures.
Coping with the loss of a loved one is difficult under normal circumstances. However, when you see it happen live and are unable to do anything to stop it, the situation gets infinitely worse. It was therefore sad for Ronnie's family and friend to see the video spread on social media with no censors.
Who is Ronnie Mcnutt?
Ronald "Ronnie" McNutt was born on May 23rd 1987. He was an Army Reserve veteran who lived in New Albany, Mississippi, US. Ronnie was a worker at a Toyota plant and was involved in the local theatre scene. He even co-hosted a podcast called JustUs Geeks with his good friend Joshua Steen, one of the viewers who saw his death in real-time.
The bearded and bespectacled autoworker was a frequent churchgoer who regularly attended Celebration Church in Tupelo. He was a member of a Comicons club and wrote comic book reviews for a website. According to an obituary, McNutt is survived by his mother Elaine, brother Joey, sister Mindy, three nieces, and two nephews. He was predeceased by his father, Cecil Ronald McNutt.
According to Joshua Steen, Ronnie struggled with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving in the war in Iraq. He is quoted saying: "He didn't seem to be the same guy that left for Iraq once he exited the service."
What exactly happened on that fateful night?
Right before he went live at 7.32 pm, McNutt shared a heartbreaking final Facebook post. The picture was a message in text with a grey background with a man's silhouette walking away from the camera. The message read:
Someone in your life needs to hear that they matter. That they are loved. That they have a future. Be the one to tell them.
Mr McNutt sat on a chair behind his desk wearing a black shirt and shot himself in his live stream. Ronnie Mcnutt video started at around 9 pm local time. As soon as the live stream started, viewers noticed that he appeared sad and drunk and made worrying comments about taking his own life. This prompted them to try to reach out to him and his family.
About 40 minutes into the broadcast, Ronnie picked up a rifle which misfired. Mr Steen, Ronnie's friend and co-host, describes the rifle as a cheap, run-of-the-mill, single-shot rifle and not a shotgun, as some sources claimed. At this point, a podcast listener reached out to Steen and told him about the Livestream.
Naturally, Steen immediately joined the Ronnie Mcnutt full stream and tried to reach his friend desperately. However, he watched in real-time as Ronnie declined all of his phone calls. McNutt kept arguing with the viewers who were trying to intervene and continued making worrying comments about suicide prevention.
By this time, the police had already been alerted and were outside his door. The New Albany Police Department was alerted that a man with a gun threatened to take his own life on Facebook. Officers were sent to the scene, where they evacuated neighbouring homes and set up a cordon. They then used speakers to try and make contact with him which was unsuccessful.
The force has been accused of not doing enough to save the veteran's life. However, they maintain that they could only try to negotiate as storming the flat may have resulted in a shootout which would have been a worse outcome. So instead, after McNutt fired the fatal shot, the officers stormed the building.
Why did the video spread so fast?
Given the shocking contents of this video, one would assume that the platform where it was posted would take it down immediately. However, this was not the case. Instead, the Ronnie Mcnutt clip made rounds on social media, and by the time Facebook took down the original clip, it had already made its way all over social media.
The video has been posted on platforms like TikTok with no disclaimer whatsoever, which has led to many traumatized viewers. Additionally, the clip where Ronnie takes his life is hidden in cute cat videos, which has led to many children seeing this disturbing video. Many users came forward and pleaded with those responsible for stopping the sharing of the videos to do so.
Others, however, have taken a different approach and decided to troll other users. Fake accounts claiming to be the deceased have cropped up, with one claiming that the live stream was a hoax.
Calls for social media reforms
After the video made its rounds on social media, there was an outpouring of Rest in Peace quotes from well-wishers worldwide.
Facebook faced backlash from numerous users, who blamed the firm for taking over two hours to take the Facebook live suicide video down. At the helm of this movement is Mr Steen, who has been vocal about the injustice done to his friend.
He has started a campaign called #ReformForRonnie, which calls on social media companies to respond swiftly and halt the spread of horrific videos, threats, hate, and disinformation.
Ronnie McNutt is an Iraq War veteran who took his own life on a live stream video, which shocked his friends and family. Unfortunately, the clip has made its rounds all over social media, leaving viewers shocked and perturbed. His story is a tragic tale of loss and depression.
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