I think I’d like to make a confession. I have a serious, almost inescapable compulsion that may very well destroy me as a human being. No, I’m not talking about my obvious and inescapable need to devour tiny birds that have been deliciously breaded and then fried. This one is much more metaphorical and almost as deadly that I just can’t seem to escape.
Somehow, somewhere, I’ve developed a need to defend stupid people.
I know, it’s probably the worst thing I can do for all of humanity, but it just feels wrong to let someone go out into the internet, completely unaware that they are diving naked into pre-chummed water full of millions of angry, blood frenzied sharks just below the surface.
That is, of course, the truth about the internet. It turns all of humanity simultaneously into minor celebrities and desperate paparazzi. We circle each other constantly, hoping that one of us will slip and then, then the feeding frenzy can begin. Collectively, we will rip a person apart and devour them whole. Sometimes, this is the worst thing that can happen to a person… sometimes it’s the best.
Still at some point, I developed some sort of need to defend a person being bullied, and let’s all face the facts: "Internet Vigilantism” is bullying, and it’s wrong. I’m not sure why it is that so many people think it’s okay to bully someone if they deserve it. The problem is, no one really deserves it.
I am harsh, possibly even cruel, in my judgments of crimes. I don’t have a lot of gray area in my view of the world.
That isn’t the same as executing someone in the court of public opinion.
More often than not, the people I know that are in an uproar over how unjust our court system is are the same people that full on frenzy with social media, never stopping to realize what it is they’re doing.
When someone gets a trial, they have a chance to defend themselves. Sometimes, too often, the system fails. This usually means that the guilty go free, but sometimes it means that the innocent get punished. This is rare though.
One thing that is guaranteed is that the accused will be able to face their accusers in a court as fair as human nature can allow.
When someone is flayed alive in the media, or in a more modern context, social media, there is no justice. There is no facing your accusers, no appeals. You are executed, tortured and destroyed without remorse. Often, even if you are proven innocent down the road, there is no letting up for you. The internet never forgets, never forgives, and never, never admits that it’s wrong.
That’s why I need to learn to pick my battles a little more carefully.
I get just as frenzied as everyone else, but I have the misfortune of being antisocial. When everyone else get’s all frenzied, I forget who is a shark and who is a minnow and I just start biting everyone around me. Friend, foe, innocent by-stander, large rocks, it doesn’t really matter once I get going. I just loose track of common sense and anger over comes me.
That’s my burden, and so far, I’ve been lucky enough to not get ripped apart by the angry mobs of man.
It might happen someday, if I don’t learn to control myself a bit better.