Kids Involved In Murder Plot? Blame The Internet And Mobile Phones!

from the say-what-now? dept

What is it with curmudgeonly journalists who jump at any opportunity to blame the internet? JJ sends in a link to a bizarre column by Christie Blatchford in Toronto's Globe and Mail where she appears to simply go off on all of "cyberspace" due to something having to do with a murder... though, the connection isn't clear at all. Perhaps this is par for the course for Blatchford, who we also mentioned last year when she wrote a nasty column slamming blogging and the idea that readers might want to comment on news stories. To her, "journalism is a monologue." Yet, this latest column seems somewhat disconnected from reality. It pieces together a few separate and somewhat unrelated things to effectively try to indict the entire internet and internet culture for the death of a teen.

To be honest, Blatchford (the professional) does a pretty poor job even explaining what she's so upset about -- but she seems pretty sure that it's the internet to blame. From what I can gather, a woman (or maybe a teen? it's not clear) was killed by a teen, and another teen was convicted of first degree murder for being the "mastermind." Fair enough.

So why is the internet evil?

From what I can parse out, there are four main complaints:
  1. Friends of the convicted girl have set up a Facebook group supporting her, despite her conviction.
  2. They dared to use her real name as you would expect friends to do -- rather than obeying the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which forbids naming such juvenile offenders.
  3. The messages in support from her friends have terrible spelling and grammar.
  4. The two teens involved in the murder text messaged each other a lot -- including at least two conversations where they discuss going to the bathroom, and a few conversations where they discuss sexual acts.
And, that's about it. But, you see, all this points out how the internet is such an evil influence. In fact, Blatchford seems quite upset that in the trial convicting the girl, no one has focused on "the role that was played by the web - enabling and empowering at the least" the murder itself. First, it's unclear what the first three awful points raised above had to do with the internet's influence on the murder itself. As for the final point -- it's about SMS text messaging rather than "the web" (but I guess we shouldn't expect a luddite to distinguish), and it's still not clear what role it actually had (if anything). The same conversations could have (and perhaps would have) taken place via voice over the phone as well if SMS wasn't around. These kids were obviously troubled, but there doesn't seem to be any indication (at least from what's presented) that technology (let alone the web) had anything to do with it, whatsoever. But why should that stop an angry columnist from blaming it?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Jezsik, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    Comments and voting: you're doing it wrong.

    I noticed two things at the bottom of the article. One is a button labeled "Recommend this article?" where the only option you have is "Yes." How about "No" just to keep things fair, eh? The other item is a "Comments" link. This should be interesting. Clicking on it, I thought I might see a discussion. Comments are closed only? It was published the day before yesterday, fer Pete's sake! "Thanks for your interest in commenting on this article, however we are no longer accepting submissions." So, not only can I not comment, but I can see nobody else's comments either. Journalism looks like a one-way street at the Globe and Mail.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:20am

    guns don't kill people...

    ...so the internet must be to blame :)

     

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  3.  
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    lulz, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:21am

    You mean four points, not three?

     

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  4.  
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    monkee, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    credentials schmredentials

    Clicking the "Read Bio" link for Ms. Blatchford: There is no biography available for this columnist.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:24am

    Re:

    First, it's unclear what the first three awful points raised above had to do with the internet's influence on the murder itself. As for the final point -- it's about SMS text messaging rather than "the web" (but I guess we shouldn't expect a luddite to distinguish), and it's still not clear what role it actually had (if anything).

    Is this what you're referring to? 'Cause I count four.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    Re: guns don't kill people...

    I blame Mike Masnick. He's a shady looking character and always involved somehow...

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:30am

    This Ding Dong's article is on the 'net. In her twisted way of thinking, doesn't that also make her at least somewhat responsible?

    I propose a one letter change to her last name. Biatchford

     

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  8.  
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    lulz, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re:

    He says three first.
    Then goes on about a list of four.
    I merely pointed out the fact that he at first claimed three, then immediately following was a list of four.

    Not that a small discrepancy is worth arguing about, so you're right, I'm wrong, how's that?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:33am

    Re: credentials schmredentials

    So, therefore, I conclude she does not exist and is not a threat to us hue-mans

     

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  10.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:34am

    Re:

    You mean four points, not three?

    Heh. It started out as three... but became four on rereading. Fixed now.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:36am

    Re: credentials schmredentials

    Hmm. Christie Blatchford, a Commentary Columnist must be the name for a ghost writer. You'd think Canada's respectable "Globe and Mail" wouldn't cut corners like that. But considering the quality of the copy, let's just sweep this story under the rug as merely an idealistic diatribe from a fat feminist.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    This is why newspapers are failing

    Reporters and commentators from newspapers that are having and had problems staying afloat often claim that one of terrible consequences of the death of papers will be the loss of good investigative reporting. This article is clearly a counter example. I am continually amazed by the lack of knowledge that reporters have about the topics that they write about; not only technical and scientific issues, but social and political ones, as well. Maybe they should follow Obama's example: they should know something about the topic before speaking (writing) about it.

     

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  13.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:50am

    School is evil

    The kids were at school while they texted their murder plot. If there wasn't school, maybe they would have never met. I blame schooling, too.

     

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  14.  
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    Its Pat, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 10:57am

    Where's Christine Blachford?

    Favorite quote from the article mentioned something about "grunting pig English of the web" and "They already knew who did what in the toilet and when".

    I enjoyed her prose. And thought the article was quite informative. I went to read other stories, possibly post a positive comment on her tasteful usage of the words "intercourse orgasm". But alas, she had no additional articles and comments were disabled.

    I hope she gets this. Christine, your words are like sweet nectar to my lips. Your style and prose make my heart flutter, and angels sing. I think we could make a great team. Let me be the Man or a Woman with broad shoulders in your life. Please email me!

    its.pat@gmail.com

     

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  15.  
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    R. Miles, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 11:08am

    And this industry wants us to pay for this crap?

    Okay, that was worth a chuckle.

     

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  16.  
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    LostSailor, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 11:10am

    The Dangers of Paper

    From Blatchford's article:

    Yet if the plan was hatched in the head of one teenager and allegedly carried out at the hands of another, it certainly appears to have been fuelled by, and to have gathered momentum and heft to the participants, through the omnivorous chats they had on the Web.

    So, if they had only talked on the phone it would have been alright or is Mr. Graham-Bell's infernal devise yet another tool in the downfall of civilization?

    And there's none of that nonsense about respecting statutory publication bans in cyberspace, either....There, the girl's name so scrupulously guarded by the members of the dreaded mainstream press, because her identity is protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is spelled out loud and proud and there's an accompanying full-face photograph, with our heroine showing a fair bit of skin in a low-cut top.

    And if this girl's friends had posted fliers in the neighborhood, Blatchford would likely be ranting on the danger's posed by paper.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 11:25am

    She should be more focused on why the parents didn't know anything about this plot. The cops had already been involved in 2 months before when the kid showed up to her house threatening to stab her. So we shouldn't blame to police or the parents, it's the internet's fault because that is the medium they used to communicate? Funny thing...the internet is also what provided the concrete evidence that got this little psycho girl convicted.

     

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  18.  
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    Tgeigs, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 11:26am

    Re: School is evil

    "The kids were at school while they texted their murder plot. If there wasn't school, maybe they would have never met. I blame schooling, too."

    So short sighted. If there were no KIDS then no kids would have discussed the murder or committed it. I propose an immediate initiative outlawing children. They're a drain on soceities resources anyway.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 11:28am

    BTW...she does allow comments on her articles. Each article has 1 comment by her which tells you to read the story. No one else is allowed to comment though.

    That is completely understandable. She wouldn't want someone to ruin her top notch objective reporting.

     

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  20.  
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    cleo, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 11:38am

    She also looks like a man.

     

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  21.  
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    Your Mother, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 11:52am

    Oh Canada!

    Someone send a letter to that lousy foreigner. She needs keep off America's internet and quit spreading her anti-techo psycho babble using it is horrible. I'm a-boot tired of it.

     

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  22.  
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    Dave, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: credentials schmredentials

    I've met her. She's real enough. Not terribly well informed but she's a columnist, not a reporter.

    And she's not fat.

     

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  23.  
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    Weird Harold's clone, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 12:24pm

    SCUMBAGS!!!

    I can blow the lid off this right now!: it was those SCUMBAG TEENAGERS and their MUSIC DOWNLOAD PIRATE CRIME SYNDICATE: they had a CONSPIRACY to DOWNLOAD MUSIC and THEN someone wanted to go LEGIT. Thats when STEALING became MURDER.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    CrimGal, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Oh Canada!

    Hey now, she wasn't condemning the kids because they were American. I could easily get ticked off about Fox "News" personality Greg Gutfeld slandering our Canadian military and making inane comments about their involvement in Afghanistan just prior to the bodies of four Canadian soldiers being sent home, but that would be due to his own idiocy, not because of his country of origin.

    Stupid doesn't discriminate, it's equal-opportunity.

     

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  25.  
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    kirillian (profile), Mar 25th, 2009 @ 2:14pm

    Re: SCUMBAGS!!!

    For all the crap you give Weird Harold, I must admit, I respect the guy because he has enough sense to ignore your petty comments and jabs.

    So, if you see this, Weird Harold (I'm guessing you probably read SOME of these comments), I just want to commend your character in the matter in at least appropriately addressing the topics discussed, even if I disagree with your opinions most extremely.

     

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  26.  
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    net625, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re: Oh Canada!

    Even us Americans hate fox news or at least I do. So I will apologize for that idiots actions. Oh and the internet is an enabler for all things bad and good so it kinda evens out.

     

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  27.  
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    Chris Charabaruk (profile), Mar 25th, 2009 @ 4:47pm

    Re: Oh Canada!

    As a Canadian, as a Torontonian (well, 905er, close enough), I can tell you that only the stupidest, most right-wing hicks in the country even bother to give Blatchford the time of day. Don't paint us all with the same brush.

    Don't bother sending her a letter, by the way. I don't think she's really literate; probably just grunts into a tape recorder and forces some staff peon to type it up for her.

     

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  28.  
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    Jesse, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 6:49pm

    This was a pretty horrid case, to anyone familiar with it. A girl convinces her boyfriend to kill some other young innocent girl (she convinced over months of nagging). She shows no remorses and thinks only of herself throughout the whole process.

    It is to be expected that many people are going to look for things and people to blame, whether it makes sense or not.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    RAD, Mar 25th, 2009 @ 7:41pm

    Misunderstimated

    Mike, I think Christie Blatchford's view is insightful and quite connected to reality. A little context about this tragedy is here:

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2009/03/04/rengel-trial.html

    A 15-year-old girl pressured her then 17-year-old boyfriend to murder a 14-year-old girl. If nothing else, the case is about two young people with a very skewed sense of reality. As you say, these kids were obviously troubled.

    But what of this "free M.T." group? Do we chalk their views up to being troubled as well? Do they have any empathy for the parents whose daughter died bleeding in the snow:

    http://register.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/604759

    I think the question Blatchford raises is whether the intensity of this couple's relationship was fueled by the over-the-top constant connectivity between the pair.

    Like it or not, it is a valid question.

     

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  30.  
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    Hugh Jass, Mar 26th, 2009 @ 1:30am

    Re: Comments and voting: you're doing it wrong.

    I agree - I noticed the same thing on this dumb broad's article. Comments are closed. Not very surprising since the article she wrote last year which the author of this article referred to, where she says no blogs should have comments.
    I checked out her bio and she looks like a typical dumb b**ch.
    You/we should all email her our comments at her email:
    cblatchford@globeandmail.com

     

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  31.  
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    lulz is stupid, Mar 26th, 2009 @ 1:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Umm idiot - he said FOUR. the first person who replied to your first comment explained it. If you couldnt see the guy was saying something about the first three, then the 4th after that, you are a moron. Learn how to read.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2009 @ 7:48am

    I disagree RAD and I've read the stories about this incident. The intensity of the couple's relationship was fueled by psychosis. She counts every text message of a conversation as a separate message in her tally when in fact, it's one whole conversation. Do you count every sentence you say when talking to your friend as a separate instance or a minor part of a larger whole? 15,000 messages, oh my god!! My "tally" could be in the hundreds just out of a 30 minute conversation. How is this bad?

    I've read most of her articles on this incident and her journalism skills seems fairly weak. She chooses to blame something she doesn't understand instead of placing it squarely where it belongs. The parents and the cops. Beyond the fact that the girl is a psychopath, her parents obviously have very little involvement in her life or at the very least they do not supervise her at all.

     

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  33.  
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    BTR1701, Mar 26th, 2009 @ 12:25pm

    Re: The Dangers of Paper

    > So, if they had only talked on the phone
    > it would have been alright or is Mr.
    > Graham-Bell's infernal devise yet another
    > tool in the downfall of civilization?

    The irony is this silly woman is complaining about how they used text messages to plan the murder when it was those very messages that provided the evidence that convicted them.

    If they'd used the phone or met in person, there would have been no record of their conversations and prosecution would have been significantly more difficult.

    So the very "web" that this columnist complains about is what resulted in an easy and speedy conviction for this little teenage sociopath.

     

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