With Everybody Protecting The Kids, Who Protects The Adults?

from the real-danger dept

There are a lot of fingers being pointed at the likes of MySpace as politicians look to score points by "protecting the children" from their evils. But who's protecting the adults? A story out of Buffalo, New York, paints a rather bizarre tale of an online love triangle gone bad. Apparently a 47-year-old man in the area was posing online as an 18-year-old Marine, and had some sort of relationship stretching over a year or two with what he thought was an 18-year-old woman. She turned out to be a 40-something lady from West Virginia. She'd send packages to the guy's house, and his wife eventually intercepted one and wrote the woman back, explaining he was, in reality, a married middle-aged guy with two teenagers. The woman then contacted one of the guy's coworkers, and struck up a relationship with him. This man, who portrayed himself honestly online, talked about the relationship at work, allegedly inciting jealousy in the first guy, who authorities now allege shot and killed him outside the factory where they worked. The only real surprise here is that nobody's really blaming whatever online site or service these people used to meet, which is starkly different than when something like MySpace or YouTube gets blamed for a crime. Sure, some of the problem in this bizarre triangle was rooted in the dishonesty that the online setting allowed, but honestly certainly isn't assured when it comes to offline relationships, either. In any case, somebody's got to have some real problems to let jealousy lead them to the extreme step of committing murder, regardless of the communications media used in the relationship. But it bears asking: if politicians are so concerned about protecting children from all the supposed threats they face online, who's looking out for the adults, like this murder victim?


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  1.  
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    Bumbling old fool, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 1:54pm

    Darwin

    Hard at work, its the theory of evolution!

    Too bad its a day late and a dollar short. Oh yeah, and the wrong guy got killed.

    But other than those minor technicalities, its a GREAT example of why its ok for some people to off themselves.

     

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    Anon, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 2:05pm

    Good Question.

    Lawyers are actively Protecting Corporate America and Government.

    Protecting the little guy doesn't make sense anymore

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 2:43pm

    We should ban life so that people dont find each other in it and hurt each other!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 3:05pm

    Re:

    Wow - yep...that is why this country is so downtrodden with wasteful litigation. I am surprised that MySpace isn't being sued in this situation but with your attitude Anon, I am pretty sure you could find some lawyer who would represent a self developed 'problem' who has dollar signs in their eyes to take on MySpace for not nannying the hell out of you. It's not about protecting corporate America or the little guy. It is about following the cash and using twists to remove reason.

     

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    Buzz, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 3:27pm

    LOL

    I knew this would happen eventually. There are too many liars in this world. It just seems odd that at an early age, all instances of lying seem horrible, but as one reaches adulthood, lying becomes more a form of business than a naughty practice.

    Anyway, that was just a random rant. MySpace seems like a breeding ground for stupid people. I am a faithful user of Facebook; they seem to have things much more under control.

     

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    weebit, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 3:31pm

    security?

    If you type away your personal information, without any regards to not knowing whom you are having a conversation with, then it's your fault. Everyone I talk too online all know that people online are some of the worst bull chiters, and lairs there is.

     

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    misanthropic humanist, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 4:52pm

    whodunnit?

    It's better than fiction. This story is fascinating to anyone with an interest in psychology. Two fantasists meet online. Both are "mature" consenting adults in an exchange that is clearly understood by both to be unverifiable and anonymous. So, given both are lying, neither of them seriously intends to realise a full sexual relationship (think about it). Left to its own devices the fantasy relationship could never have progressed beyond the virtuality of the chat room/emails.

    I expect very few people will understand me when I say that only a French court of law could hope to hear this case and see justice done. It's my belief that the two guilty parties, one in particular, are the women. The two victims, one dead and one facing a life sentence are the men. Notwithstanding the tragedy that the murderer and his wife could not discuss the failure of their marriage in an adult way, both provocateurs (accesories to, and ultimately, collectively, perpetrators of the murder) are in *reality* those who took the fantasy into real life. The first by maliciously exposing her husband, the second by delberately instigating a relationship with a specific stranger as an act of revenge.

    Ironically, I guess most people will assume the murderer takes the charge of "jealousy". But the subtle distinction of motive will possibly escape an American judge it is not "la jelousie" rather "le crime passionnel", in our words *rage* that probably drove the man to kill. The jealous party was the murders wife. I think if the authorities were to sieze and analyse the electronic exchanges between the parties they would see how cunningly the second (embittered, disappointed) woman played off the two men against each other to maximise antagonism. I would deem her the prime instigator...but wow, what a mess. And what kind of tragedy is it for the unwitting stooge who got shot. It beats American Beauty hands down.

    Those who do not know the line between fantasy and reality, like the Asian hate mobs Dorpus keeps bringing up, are guilty of the gravest offences. Myself, I regularly enjoy a few rounds of a game where we fantasise about blowing each other to pieces with automatic weapons. I seriously doubt any of the players are fit enough to run two blocks with a fully loaded assult rifle, let alone have the guts to bring themselves to fire a lethal weapon at another human being.

    People can shout insults and fire virtual bullets at each other and play at sexual fantasises until the cows come home, nobody is harmed. It takes a certain, probably dysfunctional mentality to take the *huge* step of translating this into real life (for example by sending a personal email to a specific person divulging real names and addresses). In any case where this happens the finger should point firmly at the person who makes that first cruicial step, even where it is by proxy of a lawyers letters.

    On that note I was pleased to see a judge in the USA refuse to identify an anonymous defendent. This sets a very good precedent, because it was clearly the aim of the prosecution to intimidate the person on a personal level rather than challenge their remarks in the original context (of a blog). This escalation always demonstrates mal-intent in my opinion, it exposes a weakness in one party who cannot defend their position in words on the original playing field (blog/website/chatroom etc).

    And here's the punchline...to avoid tackling the immensely rich complexities of this case some would blame the website operator!!

     

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    QueenOfThe Nile, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 6:56pm

    Well, those are 2 consenting adults. Unlike children who can't defend themselves. If you play-up like organized morons on the net - salivating at your own lies, then that's your fault. No one else's. It's your time, money, etc. They both lied and who to blame? themselves. Gosh, finding electonic love is damning. You've got to be very cautious in people you deal with.

    Go, switch off that computer of yours and smell the roses! :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 11:16pm

    fair points but i'm sorry it doesn't hold with me. Adults should be able to make logical and rational decisions, understanding the conscequences of their actions. Unlike children.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2007 @ 4:42am

    My wife used to like to go into chat rooms and pretend she was a 14 year or girl and such until one day the phone rang and a guy asked to speak to my "daughter," pretending to be a school teacher or something like that. He got extremely agitated when I told him we had no children and the only female in the household was my 35 year old wife. It worried me enough to give the information I had (phone number, probable screen name) to a relative in law enforcement and it scared my wife enough to stop.

    Then a few months ago my law enforcement relative told me that the person who had called had been arrested in a sting operation for soliciting sex with a minor, and had been carrying handcuffs, duct tape, sex toys, and a hunting knife when he was arrested. I really shudder to think what could have happened had he shown up at our house expecting to find a fourteen year old girl and instead found a middle-aged housewife.

     

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