Sunday, April 06, 2008

Alligator mouth and hummingbird butt.

Pretty much every hobby has them. Every hobby that involves flashy gizmos, that is. Kids with plenty of money and underdeveloped social skills who show up and want to belong. They buy all the flashiest toys; try and jump into every discussion; want to be respected.

The internet has potentiated this phenomenon by offering the online forum or bulletin board. With the societal rituals of meeting people face-to-face stripped away, even the most awkward can try and jump right into things. Unfortunately, interactions with other group members that bleed into what is sometimes termed "meatspace" (as opposed to "cyberspace") quickly expose deficiencies in the kid's socialization, responsibility, or ethics, and he receives negative public feedback. He reacts in a way that seems appropriate to his adolescent mind: by hurling insults, and sometimes threats.

If the group he wants to belong to involves collecting comic books or radio-controlled cars, this behaviour will probably just result in ostracism. His failure to follow through with payment on a purchase of Amazing Spiderman #21 might even land him in small claims court. On the other hand, if the group in question collects firearms, well... let's just say that his juvenile histrionics may get taken a bit more seriously.

The computer makes it easy to not realize that somewhere, down the line, there are real people on the other side of that monitor and that, however indirectly, the keyboard is connected to the real world. And as emails and posts scattered across various inboxes and web fora are proving in Mr. Wong's case, the internet never forgets.

8 comments:

Breda said...

I like how the reporter worked AK-47 hysteria into his article. Most people probably don't even know what one looks like but, boy!, it sure sounds scary!

John Peddie said...

Nailed perfectly, like a wolf's skin to the door.

But, do you suppose that if they were renamed AK 46 it might confuse the SOB's?

Breda said...

John, I think we should rename them AK-10,000. Imagine the pants-wetting!

Burnt Toast said...

I love histrionics, it just sounds so hysterical.

Oh ok, I get it.

Dave said...

Did anybody else catch the media quietly playing into the hands of these clowns who want "respect?"

Cho was referred to as a "mentally-disturbed student," which sounds almost sympathetic, instead of a "deranged shitbag," which he was, or even allowing for the more temperate language of journalism, an "psychopathic murderer."

Damnit, reporters, stop giving them what they want!

Tam said...

burnt toast,

I don't get it.

"(hstr-nks)
n.
2. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Exaggerated emotional behavior calculated for effect.
"

I'm pretty sure it was the word I was looking for...

TBeck said...

I clicked on the article a couple days ago but my attention wandered when the author began babbling about devices used to shoot down aircraft or some silly thing.

The media doubke standard is puzzling. Mosques that preach the destruction of the United States are given a wink and a nod.

But when some kid threatens somebody on a faceless, practically anonymous medium it becomes a matter of urgent federal attention.

So, apparently threatening murder on the wholesale level is more acceptable than doing so on the retail level?

Charles Pergiel said...

There was an article in the local paper about this guy, he went to high school here. They quoted one "threat" in the paper:

(http://www.oregonlive.com/news/
oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/
1207364134172870.xml&coll=7
&thispage=2)

"I feel there is no choice out of this other than what Cho did," said a message Wong wrote under the name "thehumanabc," according to police. "This may not seem like a threat to you, but I'm sure others don't want to see it occur again. It should be a wake up call for All haters out there."

Out of context it's a little hard for me to read it as an out-and-out threat.

This guy has an FFL. I doubt whether he had any actual AK-47's. Semi-auto MAK-90's maybe. And only 5000 rounds of ammo? That won't even get me through a big weekend.