It seems like every day we find out about someone else who says something incredibly stupid in the digital world and then seems surprised when the real world finds out about it. The latest example was the person who threatened to burn down a high school in Louisville, KY because of the favorite son not returning to take the job as head football coach at the University of Louisville.
The person who made the threat claims that it was simply a bad joke. This is the same defense that another person used in reference to their online post that depicted the head football coach at Florida State University being lynched.
People will always say stupid things when talking among friends and family, but putting those thoughts out for the digital world to see is something entirely different.
The person in Louisville has been arrested and charged with making a terrorist threat. The fact that he named a target for his action makes this a clear case. If he had just said something derogatory about the coach who spurned his beloved school, nothing else would have been said. Instead, this person had to get so intricately involved in his statements that the high school in question actually canceled classes out of an abundance of caution.
The Florida State situation was even worse. The idea of posting a doctored photo of a lynching and putting the face of the African-American coach on the victim shows the true extent of how disturbed that person really is. He has been fired from his job because of the outrage over his post online. No amount of apologies can take back what he did.
The whole issue of online posting and repercussions seems to repeat itself over and over. One would think that people would learn that words have consequences, and yet these things continue to happen. In both cases, I cannot understand how these people can take the time to create these elaborate statements and images without the possible consequences at least entering their minds before they actually post them.
There is a lot to be said about the old adage “Think Before You Speak.” Today, it should read “Think Before You Hit Enter.” If there is even the slightest doubt about posting whatever you are working on, common sense would seem to indicate that you shouldn’t post it in the first place.
I gave up on Twitter and Facebook because of many things, one of those was the incessant hate that gets spewed on there every single day. I tried my best to never threaten anyone, even if they threatened me because I know that it is all pointless and will only lead to trouble. As I now focus on this blog, I still refuse to get into online arguments with anonymous people because of the temptation to say something that I would regret is always there. I am not unique, we all have our limits and we have to learn to moderate ourselves before we say something incredibly stupid or insensitive since the world at large will certainly do that for us after we make a mistake or say something incredibly stupid or insensitive.