In a group of people I’m sort of peripherally connected to, some very bad stuff just happened. One person was driving drunk and crashed, causing one other person to die and a third person to be seriously injured. From the reports I’ve seen it appears that the driver may have also fled the scene perhaps because of a suspended license. It’s a bad business in a lot of ways. Because these people were connected to LJ and other message boards, there’s been a tremendous amount of traffic of people talking about the incident, and mainly about what attitude to take to the driver.
The messages have the tone of finely tuned outrage that one only sees on network bulletin boards. Loads of “I have no sympathy for anyone who would” and “Bitch deserves ____” and “mend my bleeding heart for a convicted felon” and lots of other Two Minutes Hate.
A lot of this is understandable, because a drunk person who kills and injures and flees isn’t admirable. This is why this person is now facing criminal prosecution, financial ruin, social isolation, and a mark of shame on her record for life.
Oddly it appears necessary for everyone in livejournal land to get their hate on also and call for her to rot in hell, be raped in prison, etc. Even more oddly, at least one thread I read degenerated into an argument over whether one of the victims was an “LJ Superstar” or not.
To judge by the people calling loudest for her crucifixion, every dissipated hipster in Northern California has suddenly acquired John Ashcroft’s moral vision. Someone who has committed a serious crime is a nonhuman who is to be consigned to Hell, via an endless prison term, which they hope will include cruel and unusual punishments. There’s no harsher judge, it seems, than a libertine who finds that rare excuse to moralize. There goes the idea of prison as rehabilitation. Bring on the guillotine!
I’ve known drunks and drug addicts, and some of them have done terrible things, worse than manslaughter DUI. Remarkably, they’re still human, and some are good friends. I’d rather have them than the Livejournal Pillory Team around if I do something that stupid and awful some day.