Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My "Outburst" or Why I Hate Lynch Mobs

I hate lynch mobs, online or in real life.

Unfortunately I have had enough real life experiences with people determined to prove something that happened had conspiracy overtones when in reality it was nothing at all like what happened. What happened actually being a simpler explanation.

Back when I first moved to this rural backwater in the shadow of Washington DC my teenaged daughter met a young man, a goofy young man, a young man who had pissed off the local cop shop a number of times but was an essentially harmless young man. I had him in my home many times. I knew the kids well.

Towards the beginning of his and my daughter's senior year of high school he was arrested on the charges of statutory rape of the fourteen year old girl down the street from us. The town was abuzz with all sorts of gossip about him being a serial rapist, corrupter of youth, bad boy.

The story went that the victim's parents had come home at midnight and caught a rapist sneaking out of the house. They were unable to identify him, only seeing a slim youth fleeing out of the garage door. The girl fingered my daughter's friend and he was summarily arrested, without asking any of us if we'd seen anything or having anything more than the girl's word.

But I knew him, I knew the girl and knew that our other neighbor's son had been seen sneaking in and out of the victim's house late at night. The true culprit had laughed and carried on at school about someone else getting pinched for what he'd done and that the sex was consensual.

Did law enforcement investigate? Nope. Chris, my daughter's friend, could not account for where he was during the canoodling so to the slammer he went. Eighteen months later the girl recanted but refused to tell anyone it was the neighbor's son, Rocco, that had been in her bed.

Yeah, so the lynch mob in this town saw that an innocent kid served nearly two years for a crime he wasn't at all involved in.

Back in February 2012 one of my fellow worship team members was gunned down by a cop known for his over zealousness and excessive use for force in our tiny town. During the lengthy investigation time the town was buzzing with rumors,  many of them that reached me because I knew her all too well. People said Pat and the officer had been having an affair, that Pat was on drugs, that the cop was on drugs, one crazy theory after another. It was hateful, it was insane.

Once the officer was indicted for murder and this thing went to court it got worse. I was called for jury duty and it took an all day wait and some verbal sparring with the defense attorney to finally, mercifully be dismissed from the jury. One of the worse days of my life truly.

The NRA supporters showed up in town and tried a defense of Stand Your Ground, said that the officer was frightened for his life, frightened of this teeny tiny 54 year old woman? In the end the cop got 36 months for murder by the ignorant gossip-listening-to jury of his peers.

I've seen some online lynch mobs and even participated in a few, feeling after what a unfair nasty thing it was indeed. Tons of people piling up on someone clearly mentally shy a few sandwiches in their picnic basket.

But it's plain old vanilla wrong. I swore I'd never involve myself in anything like that again. 

So now I kind of hate myself,  I've been sucked into reading the Truth About Ruth blog and can see both sides of this thing. Someone or someones have put in enormous amounts of time and energy into this thing and the blog is well written.

If someone has been welfare blogging by lying they need to knock it off immediately.

Just not sure how helpful for anyones well being that this group behavior is.

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