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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:11 PM
Original message
The dark side of the web: anonymous acts of cruelty
By Barb Shelly

Days after his 18-year-old daughter died in a car wreck, a California real estate agent opened an e-mail that he thought was a property listing and was confronted by a photo of his daughter's bloodied face, accompanied by the words, "Woohoo Daddy! Hey daddy, I'm still alive."

According to Newsweek, which has the story, Nikki Catsouras' family is suing the California Highway Patrol, whose troopers released digital images of the wreck, and waging a battle to stop strangers from sharing the photos on the Web. It's an uphill fight.

Well, you can't blame them for trying. This is another example of how standards of decency are tossed aside in the anonymity of the Internet. Newspapers rarely print gruesome photos that identify victims of crimes and accidents, out of respect for families. But cyberspace has no standards, no discussions of right and wrong.

Newsweek puts it this way:

The Catsourases are by no means the first to suffer at the hands of cyber-aggressors. But their story is unique in that it touches on so many of the ways the Web has become perverted: as an outlet for morbid curiosities, a space where cruel behavior suffers little consequence and an uncontrollable forum in which things that were once privatelike photos of the deadcan go public in an instant. The case also illustrates how the law has struggled to define how legal concepts like privacy and defamation are translated into an online world.

I will only say to the person who sent the e-mail to the girl's father: There is something wrong with you. Heal yourself. Get away from your computer, go into your community and get to know real people. You'll find it harder to commit anonymous acts of cruelty.

http://voices.kansascity.com/node/4459#comment-23156
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MilesColtrane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
1. A special place in hell has been reserved for somebody.
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surrealAmerican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:53 PM
Response to Original message
2. What a sick, vicious thing to do.
I also can't understand why the highway patrol feels the need to make these images public.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Are they really made public or does someone in LE just post them ?
I don't want to think this kind of 'evidence' might be considered official public information.
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 07:46 AM
Response to Reply #2
31. as a deterrent
to young drivers.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:57 PM
Response to Original message
3. standards of decency are tossed aside in the anonymity of the Internet
we defend it in so many ways here on du. with so many different forms. and it really is bottom line, standards of decency tossed aside
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. It can get bad here, but not as bad as what happened in the OP
That is some sick twisted viciousness.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:05 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. yes. yes it is. absolutely no reason for it. but then i feel that way, always have,
about any cruelty
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I know you do
:hug:

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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. What happened to Andy and those that tried to help him is a prime
example of the "anonymous acts of cruelty" that take place under the cloak of the internet. For all of the good that was done or that was tried, there were those anonymous fucks that made his last days on earth hell. Then they blamed him and those that tried to help him for his death (or his puppy Ballot).

There are plenty of sick people that post on the internet and many post here for sport.

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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:21 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. anything i say on a post, i am sure to say face to face. a barometer for me
on the acceptable. i can be harsh, tough, or straight talkin, but i dont play games. it is a coward that plays games like that. they think they are so cute and clever and giggle.... but they arent much of people. they lack so.

but andi was a good example.

we see it in so many ways

decency.

i think internet is also empowering people to bring this attitude to the real life. not way sure on it. but feeling it of late.
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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I've been trying to do the same thing
if I wouldn't say it in person, then I shouldn't say it here.

It doesn't always work but I try to follow my parents advice "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say nothing at all."

I've deleted more posts than I have posted in the last 6 months. :rofl:
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:15 AM
Response to Reply #10
21. thinking about it, in real life i simply am not around people like this.
i dont hang with people who are scum. so i dont see them.

i come up to so many on the net because we dont have the same ability to filter like we do in real life.
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 07:50 AM
Response to Reply #10
32. lol
i've had many a second thought myself and just decided the discussion could go on without me.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Andy was my first thought too
Edited on Sat May-02-09 09:59 PM by proud2BlibKansan
That was the worst cruelty I have ever seen on the internet.
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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. the sending of the photo of the young women in the article
to her father is awful. I'll admit, I looked at the image (yes, it is still on line) - it is horrific and I would surmise that it has caused the father great pain. Describing some folks as sick is a definite understatement.



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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #3
39. No they're not! Shut up, you fucking nazi kitten-choker!
Heh. I was being mean.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. gigglin.... ya
that.

lol
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Dark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:10 PM
Response to Original message
13. As horrible as this is, such things lead to calls for censorship, which is almost never a good thing
I feel terrible for what happened, but at the same time police should be encouraged to release as much information about their work as they can without compromising an investigation.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:37 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. What purpose does it serve to release these photos?
I can go along with keeping them on file but putting them out to the public is just too callous and insensitive.
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Dark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:58 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. What purpose does it serve to show photos of coffins returning from Iraq?
What purpose does it serve to show people being blown apart in warzones, minefields, etc.?

I never said the first amendment is pretty. It has to protect some truly grisly, obscene, disturbing things. But starting censorship is so much easier than stopping it.

As for the actual image, how many have had drivers ed where they show stuff like that? Those were people too.

I like that officers have to, at least, publish info about cases they investigate when they're closed.

I feel for the dad, and hope the sender burns in hell. But calls for censorship don't end well.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:20 AM
Response to Reply #19
22. Showing coffins from a war zone or the casualties of war illustrate why
war-an act people CHOOSE to engage in or are victims of- is horrible and wrong. A car crash is often a complete accident. Showing the casualties of war is often needed to stop warfare. Showing the dead from an accident scene won't do much to stop accidents. Drivers rarely get in a car and think to themselves "I think I'll go out and commit vehicular homicide tonight...wait, that gruesome photo from the internet has me thinking twice about that..."
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Dark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 04:24 AM
Response to Reply #22
27. Car crashes are seldom "accidents."
I can't remember where I heard it, but only 10 perent of accidents are caused by the vehicle. 90 percent of accidents are not. While I'm sure some are honest accidents, most of them involve operator error.

Why shouldn't such pictures serve as an encouragement to paying attention while driving?
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 04:58 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. by the vehicle? But what about the icy road? Or the deer?
Or the downpour and steam coming off the road and eliminating visibility?

I hit a guardrail because of ice. There was no way for me to slow down either, because I was going down a hill.

I think investigators find fault without looking at the big picture. The accident happened because
"the driver was going too fast" or
"the driver was on a cell phone" or etc.

As if there is ONE cause and not a combination of factors. For example, the same driver has probably driven too fast on many occasions or talked on their cell phone many times (or steered with their knees, etc.) Straying across the center line is harmless if the timing is right (no other vehicles coming) and deadly if the timing is wrong. The accident requires a combination like a) going too fast, and b) hitting a patch of loose gravel or slick highway and c) veering into oncoming traffic which came along at just the wrong time. Take away any one of the three and there's no accident.

Speed may be the variable that the driver can control, but it's not a sole cause.

But your argument has a theoretical end (saving lives in theory) to justify a means (publishing pictures that should be kept private).
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #19
33. I am not calling for censorship
There is a difference between making photos available and emailing them to the parents of the deceased. A huge difference.

I also don't think it is fair to compare this to the pictures from Iraq. That carnage was funded by our tax dollars. And before those pictures of coffins are shared with the public, the family of the deceased gives permission.
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Danger Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:13 PM
Response to Original message
14. Censorship is uncalled for. But for what it's worth...
the person who did that is a twisted, pathetic, worthless excuse for humanity.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #14
37. I see this as a matter of privacy
not censorship.
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-..__... Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
15. Sounds like someting /b/ would do.
Why?... For the lulz.
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:40 AM
Response to Reply #15
25. Or ED or similar sites, yeah
Fuckers spent a few months going after my sister recently; I was displeased, but she knew how not to egg them on at least.
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TheMightyFavog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #15
35. I was thinking the same thing.
/b/ is truly the asshole of the Internet.
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Ignis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #35
44. Does that make 4chan the taint? (nt)
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TheMightyFavog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #44
49. I can't argue with that.
:)
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dustbunnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:29 PM
Response to Original message
16. I remember those pictures made the rounds at some message boards. She was called "Porsche Girl."

And I'm pretty sure the case got dismissed.
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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. the dismissal is on appeal
The Catsouras family and their attorneys, Keith Bremer and Tyler Offenhauser, are awaiting an appellate court ruling that might keep the lawsuit alive in civil court.

An Orange County Superior Court judge previously dismissed the lawsuit for negligence, privacy invasion and infliction of emotional harm, among other charges saying Nikki's rights to privacy did not extend to her grieving family.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana has until June 1 to decide whether to send the case back to be heard for trial or keep it dismissed. Bremer said he is hopeful the Catsouras family will prevail.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/nikki-catsouras-cras...

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dustbunnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. Ah there you go!

Not sure how I feel about it though. Censorship is never a good thing, but then again, decency counts for something.

The original article talks about how newspapers don't publish the really gruesome photos like in this case. I do remember running across those really trashy tabloid crime rags that would actually show mangled accident victims and grizzly murder scenes. But somehow, even though it's voyeuristic, at least newspapers just report. On the internet thousands of people can post horrible, hurtful and sometimes just very sick comments... repeat the photos endlessly, photoshop them for twisted humorous effects...etc. The anonymity of it seems to bring out the dark, dank basement psychopaths so that they can actually touch your life. On another messageboard I used to visit there was a GD/lounge type of forum where anything went, and it was amazing how some people wrote post after post just laughing at this girl, egging each other on.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:25 AM
Response to Reply #20
23. Is censorship a good thing where child porn is concerned?
parading around the death of someone's child for entertainment seems nearly as depraved imho. Both leave horrific emotional scars. A line must be drawn somewhere in a civilized society. But maybe that's the point; there isn't much that's civilized about us.
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dustbunnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:44 AM
Response to Reply #23
26. No of course child porn is unacceptable.

But child porn is the documentation of rape, and rape seems to be the one crime that seems to be unacceptable on the internet. This girl wasn't a young child though, she was eighteen. And I guess there's always a fine line between what info people should have access to, as opposed to censoring for decency.

Like the assassination of JFK for instance. Everyone saw it, the murder, Jackie's terror, etc on their teevees. That footage has been aired probably thousands of times in all these years, and one can only imaging how terrible it's been for Caroline, John Jr and the rest of the family to have that horrible, intimate memory out there to be consumed by the public. But should that have been censored? Never to be seen or discussed?

And as someone else said, what about war atrocities? People need to be shocked, to see these things in order to be outraged. There are pics and vids of people being blown apart in Iraq, dead children and their grieving parents...etc. It's not inconceivable that some of those Iraqi parents have seen the pics of their dead children on the net, and all the comments people make about them. Even though most people find these depictions terrible, there are still people who laugh and jeer over at rethug sites. And then there's the boundary between art and obscenity, how many artworks would be banned under some decency law?
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:36 AM
Response to Original message
24. and then there's Lori Drew, who basically drove a kid to suicide.
She might as well have put a gun to her head. Yet she gets off because there is no law on the books against what she did. That fucking bitch deserves some kind of punishment, though. Maybe she'll be sued and lose everything. Maybe someone will drive her to suicide. Now THAT would be poetic justice.
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 07:40 AM
Response to Original message
29. my daughter was run over.
Edited on Sun May-03-09 07:41 AM by barbtries
massive trauma to the head. we were persuaded not to view her dead body. we chose to remember her alive and vital. the casket was closed. i never looked at the pictures the police took, though i read the reports cover to cover. i had to know everything that happened to her but i did not need to see it. i can't imagine what kind of twisted person could be this cruel.

eta: the perpetrator can be caught, no? and should be, and prosecuted. there should be a law.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 08:59 AM
Response to Reply #29
34. I am so sorry
:hug:

It is a tough call. My bro in law dropped dead of a massive heart attack when he was 44. His youngest son was 10 and said the images of his dad laying on the table in the ER haunted him for years. I was at the hospital and the nurse insisted he come in and say goodbye to his dad. I was holding him and he clutched my waist very tightly when the nurse said that. I told her I didn't think it was a good idea. He asked me if he had to and I said no but the nurse insisted and talked him into going in to see his dad's body. Huge mistake. I wish so much that I had insisted he not go in there.

Not quite the same but it taught me that not everyone is comfortable with death of a loved one and seeing the body, regardless of the condition.
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #34
36. poor little guy.
i was 13 when my father dropped dead of a massive heart attack at 49. we all viewed him in his casket (he died out of state). that's probably the reason i am not so keen on looking at dead people. with my daughter, i struggled. i didn't believe she was dead, for one thing, and also i didn't know if i could bury her without hugging her one last time. but the people at the hospital convinced me that it would be a bad idea. her best friend, however, was devastated when she learned that she would not be able to "say good-bye."

on the other hand, my friend's husband also dropped dead of a massive heart attack. he looked like he was sleeping. i am certain that his loved ones are all thankful for their last moments with him.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #29
42. so sorry, barbtries
:cry:
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 05:39 AM
Response to Reply #42
43. thank you skittles
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Political Heretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 07:46 AM
Response to Original message
30. I'm sorry (really), but its a small price to place for the last place of true information freedom.
We don't want to go down the path of having big institutions under corporate influence start regulating the net.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
38. How have they figured that the CHP released these pictures?
If they were in an electronic database, it could easily have been hacked into. Or these could be pictures taken by some sick somebody on the ambulance or at the hospital. Or it could be somebody entirely different. I used to work at Kinko's (back when there was a Kinko's) and the state AG would bring in all these gruesome 8.5X11 glossies to get copied for an upcoming court case. I could have had a whole stack of bloody pics if I wanted them, and it wouldn't surprise me if this practice isn't still going on. Pinning this on the CHP is wrong unless they've got some sort of ironclad proof that that's where the pics came from.
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dustbunnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #38
41. I think they basically ended up admitting it. They were both let go.
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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #41
47. Good
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tabbycat31 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
45. I can tell you another dark side of the internet
but I think Dateline's done a better job than I have at it. I'm currently writing a paper on internet predators, and some of the cases are just scary.
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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
46. Any info on how/why the Highway Patrol troopers released her pics?...and to whom?
Especially since they're the target of the lawsuit
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 12:59 PM
Response to Original message
48. An example of why I am much more...
Edited on Mon May-04-09 01:00 PM by LanternWaste
An example of why I am much more concerned with the public's intrusions into our private lives than I am with a mere red-light camera, or a bit of facial recognition at an airport.

Seems to me that more and more, it's our own intrusions into the lives of others that affect us much more greatly than CCTV cam at the ATM machine.

ed: clarity
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zalinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 01:23 PM
Response to Original message
50. My question..........
How did they get the family's email address?

zalinda
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #50
51. not that hard to find for amateur web sleuths...
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DireStrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 01:47 PM
Response to Original message
52. This is because people are nasty beings
Most of us are angry, hurt, or otherwise filled with negative emotions. And it's not going to change any time soon. Some of us aren't even meeting the bottom rung of Maslow's hierarchy.

When you have no rules, people will take advantage, and do mean and nasty things, sometimes for what seems like no reason.
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Rebubula Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
53. This is nothing new...
...The US Postal service was used in the same way back in the days before the Innerwebs. My aunt Margie (died long before I was born) was killed by a car when she was 10. Starting 3 years after her death, someone began sending my grandparents letters (on her birthday) as if Margie was writing them. The family never found out who did the writing, but it was obviously someone that knew them and, possibly, knew Margie. The letters were not vile or disgusting in the manner above, but they were written to hurt and depress my grandparents.

The difference (in my personal opinion) is that you have a much wider audience now. Anyone can see what is posted.

In general, many humans suck. If there were a god, I suspect that it would be rather disappointed with the lot of us.
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