27 people have been killed in a church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas on November 5, 2017. The identity of the shooter and the motive behind the attack has not yet been released to the general public, and speculations are next to useless without the statements of any eyewitnesses. 

An odd characteristic of this shooting, however, is a hiccup that seems to be occurring with Google Maps. The direction-giving application usually has the option to enter into “Street View” to see a first-person view of whatever road they are investigating. However, in the face of this shooting, the area surrounding Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church is unavailable for Street View. 

The blue lines seen on the depicted roads show where street view is enabled. This is one of the few areas in the United States that Google Maps does not offer “Street View” for. This is particularly notable because the function is enabled for the surrounding area (see for yourself).

It is unlikely that this is due to the advent of a national tragedy, as Google Maps does not run its “Street View” as a live feed; rather, the view provided to the user is an old (often several years) depiction off the road. Is Google Maps hiding something? Or is this simply a convenient glitch? To my knowledge, this sort of censorship has not been evident in any other shooting-related tragedy. So why now? 

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