Quick update on this post: I've deleted a few hateful comments already. I'm not so much concerned about what you say about me, but I won't tolerate anyone who says anything about this girl or her family. If you're one of those who would like to leave a hateful comment, feel free. Just know that it will be deleted within seconds.
I'm really disturbed. Yesterday a fifteen year old girl was hit by a train near my house. Her name was Shariah Casper and she was the cousin of a friend of mine. This morning I spent an hour or so reading articles about the accident, which I won't recap here. There are plenty of recaps elsewhere. I found out that there was a facebook page dedicated to this girl and I "liked" it.
I can't remember the last time I've felt this revolted by human beings.
There are people on this page posting horrible, cruel, heartless things. Someone has made a fake facebook account of Shariah and keeps posting on the page. How disgusting. How sickening. I feel for this poor family who would undoubtedly do anything to have their little girl back.
"Your friends saw it? Lucky them. I always wondered what would happen, does the body like, explode? Or does it rip into two pieces?"
"The dumb b*tch was dumb enough to cross a train track. Thank god she died."
"I don't have a problem, it's funny to rip on a dumb dead girl."
"rest in piss"
"That "poor" slut "
"Miss Casper, you and your tits will be missed."
That's really just the beginning of the pile of garbage overflowing out of that page. That alone makes me angry and sickened, but these trolls (and I know they are trolls) have the standard defenses in place. They cite "The Rules" and specifically Rule #20. In case you aren't familiar, Rule #20 of the internet is that "nothing is to be taken seriously."
As one commenter so aptly and simply put it, there is no rule #20. It only exists because people like this exist.
They say "don't feed the trolls." They say "if you stop commenting on my post, I'll stop." They say "this is the internet, get over it."
I love the internet, really I do. Most of the time I find awesome things and awesome people here. But this is what I really hate. This idea that anonymity and a computer screen make it okay to say whatever you want to whoever you want. It is so false. These "Rules" and internet memes and phrases that get used to harass this girl's family are nothing more than a flimsy pretense that allows cruelty to go unchecked in this situation. You can cite the rules all you want, but anyone who tries to use them as a free pass openly displays that they don't have a shred of human decency. This isn't primarily about what is the norm on the internet. It's about a tragedy, a horrible accident, and the way some people react to it so...heartlessly. I don't understand. Just because the internet offers a sense of anonymity, does that really mean that we should all become monsters? How can you consider yourself a nice person or a good person or any kind of decent person, really, if this is your reaction to such a sad event?
I have always had a problem with using the internet as an excuse for spreading hatred and pain because I know that it can do SO MUCH BETTER.
Today I am disgusted, sickened, shocked. I find it difficult to "not feed the trolls." That phrase implies that the hurtful comments of a troll are not their fault. No. Not true. It's a TROLL'S fault if he or she posts cruel, heartless things. No one else bears the responsibility for it. Citing these internet excuses marks these people as cruel. Cruel, cruel, cruel. It's a lame defense and a callous defense.
I don't know what other word to use.
Words can't express the disgust I feel today. The sadness, the shock, the anger that instead of offering support and kindness, the internet community offers hate and cruelty.
It's days like these that I'm ashamed to be a part of it.