The Mean Spiritedness of the Internet

Think about the worst thing you’ve ever done.  Not even the worst thing.  Think about a time you had an error in judgment and how you would feel if everyone knew about it and made you out to be a horrible person when they weren’t there and they don’t know you at all.  It used to be you could make a mistake and maybe it was big enough to hit the news, but it would be short lived and the news stations would move onto bigger stories.  Thanks to the nature of the Internet, people can condemn this woman indefinitely.

Everyone makes a major mistake at some point.

The Internet is great for many things, but the ugliest part is some people’s eagerness to judge complete strangers, lacking any compassion whatsoever.

The tragic story about the gorilla who had to be shot because the boy fell into its habitat is just one example.  I read about it more this morning and witnessed the following kinds of comments, and not just towards the mom, but the boy too!  I can’t even imagine what this child will go through in life due to this one experience.

“The gorilla died because of that little brat and his (fill in profane insult) mother!  They should have let the boy die!” A 3-year-old boy lacks judgment and he should die because of that?  3-year-olds want candy for breakfast.  They don’t want to wear pants.  They want the opposite of what you want.  They won’t eat a broken cracker.  They won’t drink milk if it’s in a green cup vs. a blue cup.  They think Caillou is a good show. At one point when my oldest was 3, I truly wondered if he might end up in a mental hospital.  Or one of us anyway.  We were all insane 3-year-olds once.  Did we all deserve to die?  It’s bizarre how many people have no tolerance for what they themselves used to be or what they will be someday.

“My child would have been in a stroller the whole time!”  Really?  You take your kid to the zoo and they don’t actually get to see the animals because they’re sitting in a stroller?  Talk about helicopter parenting.  Actually, you just glued the child to the landing pad.  No hovering necessary.

“That mom was too busy taking pictures to pay attention to her kid!”  Maybe she was taking pictures of her other children because they were at the zoo?  I’ve taken pictures of my children at the zoo.  Shocking, I know.  According to what I read, the dad was there too, so I’m not sure why the mom is getting all the insults hurled in her direction.

“That mom should have CPS called on her!”  Clearly she isn’t being punished enough already.  She just experienced the most terrifying moment of her life and feels responsible for one of God’s most amazing creatures having been euthanized, but CPS should be called because of what it took her son seconds to do?  Years ago my son broke the childproof cover off of our doorknob, opened the door, and I thought he let his brother out.  I was doing the dishes at the time and didn’t know until I felt a draft.  I thought he was just playing in his room.  According to the wisdom of certain people, I should stare at my toddler the entire day rather than creating a reasonably safe environment so I can cook meals or do laundry.  Maybe I should put my daughter in a stroller while I cook rather than allowing her to gain any sort of independence?

The shooting of the gorilla was tragic for sure, but what I find even more upsetting is how strangers are treating human beings. Today I saw a picture circulating claiming to be a picture of Betty White in her 20’s and people were even nasty about that.  “Why was her rear end so weird shaped?” they wondered.  It actually wasn’t Betty White, but a different Betty who was a pin-up girl.

It used to be people posted opinions using anonymous names, so I thought that gave some assurance that they could be as nasty as they want with no consequences to themselves, but I’m continually disgusted by what people post under their real names on Facebook.  Maybe they don’t know that what they comment on public posts can be seen by their friends?

People who post stuff like the above, what do you get out of it?  Why is it worth hurting a real human being?  Haven’t you ever replayed a moment in your mind that you wish you could do differently?  What I’m hearing is that bullying doesn’t matter when you think that person is “a waste of a life”.  I feel for this woman and the zoo keepers who obviously thought the habitat was less accessible than it was.


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