Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Sad Sad Tale of Boldness in Anonymity...

You guys, sometimes the internet breaks my heart.

It's true that the World Wide Web has enabled me to do many amazing things. I can shop a wider variety of products from all over the world and can have them sent to my doorstep. I can put myself on Facebook and reconnect with dozens of long lost friends. I can see my friends' beautiful baby, only a day old, all the way in Colorado. And I can share my thoughts and feelings through this blog with you, any time I'd like, and read stories of encouragement, of hope, and of daily life from others scattered across the globe--people I don't know but who can impact my days a few sentences at a time. In many ways the internet is an amazing source of joy in my life.

But, more often than I'd like, I'm reminded of the sad and hateful place the internet can be.

We had a shooting here in Knoxville today. I should say, we had *another* shooting, but those are semantics for another time. We had a shooting at the mall just down the street from my old house, the house my brother lives in now. I've been to that mall dozens of times, and today someone shot two people there, and because of the internet I was able to know about it minutes after it happened. And, minutes after that, the comments on the local news website began to pour in. And I don't know WHY I do this, but damn if I didn't read them. And that's when the internet broke my heart.

There is something so sinister about the way people behave when accountability is removed. Just because you can hide behind the anonymity of a screen name, does that absolve you of basic human decency? My jaw dropped when I read things like "Woops, looks like Obama just lost another two voters". Hateful, horrible, ignorant things. And they just kept coming, one after another. The comments section turned into political grandstanding and the website staff can't even keep up with deleting the racist, bigoted, and inflamatory posts, there are so many pouring in. You see, this mall, this is the "other" mall. The "poor" mall. So the assumptions simply make themselves and the blame flies, before the facts can even be reported. And my faith in humanity withers a bit with every post.

You have made me sad today, Internet. A man is dead, and a small child has lost a father. I hope your cold, cruel, and cowardly anonymous comments comfort you tonight. They're doing nothing for the rest of us.


Becky Swann said...

Wow, very well put, it is sad how people have lost their accountabilty, it does creat cowards, that is very sad abou tthe shooting...this world of sin we live in, of course we need Jesus!!

sunday said...

goodness Cortney! Very well put.

sunday said...

goodness Cortney! Very well put.

KatieKate said...

Yes. Oh, woman. I hear ya.

We just went through a similar thing... with a friend quitting his job and an article in the paper and online... and the comments afterward. THE COMMENTS. The lack of accountability. Are these people I pass while I'm shopping? Are these people who are teaching my child? Who are voting?

It gets me so riled up.
But you said it very well.
I hope they feel better, because they do nothing fo rthe rest of us.

CortneyTree said...

Thanks, guys. Just *had* to vent about that somewhere.

After all the accusations in comments about "thugs" , "gangs", "youths" and "mexicans", it was a 42 year old man who did the shooting of a 29 year old Egyptian immigrant with a baby girl. The victim worked in the store, and the shooter was a customer who had some sort of disagreement with him. His solution was to shoot him, then turn and shoot at the police responding. Not surprisingly, there have been no "apologies" from any of the commenters who got it wrong. *sigh*