And are there consequences? 

As emails on your phone, as news alerts on your smartwatch, murder footage was, this week, as unavoidable as air.

WTF? How did death get my phone number? Not just live-streamed cop killers / cop killings. All kinds of intestine-twisting, throat-closing death floods your screens without you asking for it. This winter, Facebookers watched a live-streamed rape, and “liked” it. A woman Periscoped her own suicide. And the consequences of violence-phone saturation are totally unknown.

It wasn’t always like this. Before about 1930, unless you were a soldier, you had to make an effort to see sick death. You had to leave home, find out where the hanging or the lynching was, and jostle to the front of the mob.

Even after TV, death footage almost never hit your retinas, unless you happened to be watching that Saturday morning when Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald — and that was just shown once.

Even in the 1980s and 90s, with VHS, you had to try really hard to watch dude get done.

Here’s how hard it was. In middle school, my boy Alan Symansky heard from his older brother Steve about this movie “Faces of Death.” It’s semi-famous now. Anyway, Steven had shown us porn and gunpowder, so we knew we had to see this tape. But getting the tape required committing a crime. Alan walked a mile to the video store, snuck into the adult section, shoved “Face of Death” down his pants and booked it. We watched it, once, at 1 a.m. in his basement, sound barely on.

And what did we see? Some scary, nasty stuff, especially for some 11-year-olds, like a cyclist flattened by a truck, but half of it was obviously fake — the suicidal jumper was obviously a dummy — and what was any of that compared to now? Have you seen the snuff films ISIS makes? And, instead of 11-year-olds having to steal it from the adult section, ISIS snuff films practically break into your phone.

It’s is a shockingly casual way to encounter violent death. And it’s worth asking, what’s this gonna do to us? To, like, our societies? To, like, our souls?

Does an endless flow of violent footage desensitize us to violence? Seems to. Columbine was in the national conversation for years, but we seem to shrug off mass killings pretty quickly now.

Does violent footage perpetuate violence? Seems to. Clearly, footage of killings in Louisiana and Minnesota brought about the insane retaliation in Dallas.

But there’s one possible positive outcome, though anything positive seems unlikely today, as the country wallows in a pool of blood. At least this makes us face it. Before cameras, war was glorified by trumpets, and only poets like Wilfred Owen could quietly write how “blood comes gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs.” Then, footage of Vietnam shocked us and spurred protests and slowed that war. Movies did what words could not.

Maybe all these death films could do the same for casual street violence. Footage of jungle firefights is one thing, but to breathe Philando’s last breaths with him, on loop on the Nexus that’s always on me, I feel face-to-face with death like I never quite have, and that seems like it should change me in some way “Face of Death” never quite did. We can’t turn away.