Normally it’s stories of animal abuse that disturb me to the point of actually being distracted during my daily routine, but every once in a while a news report of human tragedy like the one in Sandy Hook comes along and reminds me that I’m not incapable of sympathy.
For me, it was Amanda Todd, the Canadian teen who was blackmailed and bullied so harshly over a topless screen capture that she took her own life. (The post-mortem online bashing pushed me over the what-is-happening-to-the-world edge.)
For others, it’s the Steubenville case in which two “promising” (as CNN reminded us) high school football players were found guilty of rape and sentenced to one and two years in a detention center.
The boys, wide receiver Ma’lik Richmond and quarterback Trent Mays, bragged about their exploits using a trifecta of social media that included Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, posting photos and videos of (and relating to) the unconscious victim.
They called themselves “The Rape Crew” and her a “dead girl” for her lack of movement, showing nothing close to remorse after she realized what had happened. Instead, they wondered if they’d still have a spot on the team.
What I read in the comments sections about Amanda Todd seems to have prepared me for what’s happening now in Ohio. Except this time, instead of the idea that “being slutty makes you famous,” we get “being slutty ruins lives” and the familiar “she asked for it.”
A suspected relative of one of the defendants was arrested yesterday for posting Meek Mill lyrics on Twitter that were aimed at the victim, including one particularly concerning line about homicide. And that’s not even close to the worst Steubenville-related thing you’ll see on the internet…
I never thought I’d miss the days when you had to knock on someone’s door, toilet paper a tree, pick up the telephone, or write a note in class to chip away at a young person’s already waning self-esteem.
What’s happening with social media and bullying today is especially frightening because it’s impossible to patrol and stop without completely shutting down the corresponding platforms. And even if you did shut down a thing like Facebook, something new would pop up in its place.
The only real answer, as Henry Rollins pointed out, is respect and education. I would hope a person who was raised with good parenting, good teachers and generally decent role models would not only grow up to think twice about fingering a girl who is intoxicated to the point of barely drawing a breath, but would attempt to intervene and stop such a thing if they witnessed it happening at a party
I have no problem directing those of you who are beyond help to the nearest walk-in meat grinder. Soylent Green is stupid people.