Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How to kill a neighbor

This tragic story is a nightmare of internet anonymity. It's not exactly about sexual predation, although that's a part of what happened; it's an example of what seemingly ordinary middle class people will do when they can mask themselves - literally the folks down the street - acting without ethics, without decency, without compassion, without remorse, & apparently within the law. (via Jill)

One of the first & most important decisions I made when I became active on the internet was that I would not use a cloak of anonymity. Even where I use screennames (Asbury Park, Wesley Lake, RixArcade), my profiles point to my actual identity. I did this not only to promote myself, but to remind myself (& others) that anonymity breeds cruelty. From many years on the radio, I knew what I was capable of saying from a bully pulpit when I was merely a disembodied voice. I also knew where I would stop, & where I would have to stop.

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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