Sunday, August 18, 2013

Once Posted, Always Available

The case of Cody Hill caught my eye today in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The 18-year-old Californian is facing murder charges after hitting a pair of cyclists, killing one. Obviously, my keen interest in riding is at cross roads with freedom of speech. Was I happy that yet another scofflaw driver who maimed (this time killed) a rider was facing ultimate justice? Was it fair to have a Twitter record used to upgrade charges?

On the same day, there is a lengthy feature that highlights the particularly twisted and sick practice of LOL RIP trolls.

I find myself upon the verge of a kids-these-days-get-off-my-lawn-pull-up-your-pants rant.

Deep cleansing breath. After all, it is Sunday.

This boils down less to a change in the coarseness of society or a lack of respect for life among youth into a really serious lesson in digital accountability.  My old "once posted, always available."

Cody joins Jacob Rees of Oregon, caught for his drunk driving hit and run by his own tweets. While Cody has the right to be young and stupid about his life, what he overlooks is that by leaving behind a trail of digital crumbs, he cast his own fate. He made his own reputation as a reckless youth permanent.

The details of the case are particularly gruesome on their own. A 57-year-old couple, riding in a bike lane, get plowed into by Cody doing 83 in a 40 zone.  The wife is dead; the husband's leg broken.  From the start, his braggadocio tweets about driving fast were noted by locals.

The police (not unlike Astoria, Ore.) used the digital record and his driving offenses to plead for an escalation of charges.

I can't quite decide if my pound of flesh for the injured and dead riders is what makes me feel this was necessary to show others that you really can't just do whatever they hell you want - both online and on the road.

Which leads to the other story.  Matthew Kocher's parents became the surf-by victims of trolls who think it is either funny or part of their mission to hijack Facebook and other memorial social pages. I do have some significant trouble thinking about people - likely not only kids - who get perverse pleasure in trolling around memorial websites.  It seems like Westboro Baptist for the online world.

One can only hope that eventually digital responsibility catches up with them.

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