Saturday, September 13, 2014

Using Your Power for Good

So Bayville, OH has become notorious for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that went horribly bad, with a 15 year old autistic boy who thought he was doing something to help others. Instead, bullies used this boy to pull an awful prank. I am sure if you have even caught a glimpse of the news in the last week or so, you know how this turned out. If is the story. It is ugly, sickening and the kids who did this have been caught. I have as yet to hear what their outcomes are, but I am hoping that the punishment fits the crime, or at the very least is something that will stick with them for a long time to come.

Today's blog though is about the aftermath of this story. Upon hearing about this horrible prank and at the time the culprits had not been found, Drew Carey and Jenny McCarthy, both actors with clout and money in Hollywood, offered to put up a reward in hopes that the offenders might be found. It is a common practice in cases where the police are at a stalemate as to who the guilty parties are. We live in a greedy society and the possibility of money for information can make mothers turn on their children and wives turn on their husbands. Sad but true. So both stars offered money for information on who was behind this "prank." Carey is from Ohio and I am sure ashamed that such a story would come from his home state. Perhaps his reasons for doing this were because he wanted to show the world that Ohio was much better than what these little punks had shown it to be. McCarthy's reasons for doing this were much more personal. She herself has an autistic son and I am sure it was not lost on her that there but for the grace of God.....that could have been her son. I totally get that.

Some say the reward for information worked. Others say that the police and the school knew all along who these kids were and that they simply had not made the information public. Whatever the case, they were found. Will they be brought to justice? In this crazy mixed up justice system....who knows? I hope so. So I guess this should be close to the end of the story. All that is left is for some sort of punishment, wrist slap or verbal reprimand to be given......and life goes on....right? 

Apparently not, So there is this online publication called Salon, and one of it's writers was not happy with the way the story was going or perhaps she like some of her fellow writers, needed to make waves in calm waters. Her attempt at making waves was a little piece called.....Vigilante justice on the Internet: Drew Carey and Jenny McCarthy's dumb stunt, by Mary Elizabeth Williams. When I saw the headline, I admit, I was sucked in. After all, we are used to Hollywood types not always using their brains and doing truly dumb things with their celebrity status. It went through my mind, what have they done to make this situation worse? The answer is....nothing. Williams in my opinion, went after them because at the time it was a high profile story and she needed her 5 seconds of fame and to cause a stink.

So on further inspection, Salon is a left leaning magazine, which is fine. I read left and I read right and then I come up with my own conclusions on the truth. It is called thinking for myself. However, after doing some reading in the publication, it appears that Salon and their readers are in my opinion, people who like to rebel rouse and cause discord without real purpose. That is what this piece definitely was. Williams was on a diatribe about the vigilante's of the internet (huh?) and the danger that could be brought about to "innocent" kids with this reward being offered by Carey and McCarthy, and how horrible their act of kindness was. WHAT??? Yes, I had to read it several times for it to truly sink in what Williams was saying. She had more concern and empathy for some imaginary kid (s) that might be mistakenly identified as the culprits of this prank, than she did for the real victim. In fact, she barely mentioned the victim. It was all about the "possible" victims. She spent an entire piece verbally backhanding Carey and McCarthy over contrived nonsense.

It was quite obvious that Williams was likely at a deadline and had no real story to write, so she pulled this one out of her as....errr, the sky. That deadline must have been very close too, because she obviously didn't really think it through or do much research on what was going on with the investigation. No....she just went after the star power involved, doing her best to insight her own vigilante unrest against the two all the while condemning them for their offer of "real" help.

First of all, Williams would not have looked nearly as much like a poop disturber had she mentioned the victim a bit more and shone light on the tragedy of what he went through, instead of how awful it "might" be for some alleged, imaginary, misidentified person. It made her look ridiculous. And do we really want to talk about vigilante justice? Okay, this is going to sound racist, but it is not meant that way. It is meant as an observation of what is currently going on in the world. IF this young autistic boy had been black and this had happened to him, then yes, I have no doubt Reverands Jackson and Sharpton would be perched in Bayville, with media from around the world and there is every possibility Bayville would be in shambles right now. HOWEVER, this is a white boy. No one is going to go vigilante over a white boy....even if a reward is offered for his bullies. That is just the way it is. Another fact is, no one died in this situation. It was a horrible thing that some stupid, callous, teenagers thought would be funny. It was awful, but it was hardly worthy of vigilante justice. It was worthy of the culprits being found and appropriately punished, but an offer of a reward hardly made people (other than maybe the victims family) want to go after these idiots and tar and feather them.  I mean....come on!

So here is my take on this whole thing. Carey and McCarthy both have God given acting talent and that talent has earned them the resources to be able to help in a situation like this. They did what they could to help bring justice.....fair justice to a young man who was not just humiliated and embarrassed thinking he was doing something good for a charity, but humiliated and embarrassed all across the internet. They are not the first to offer money as a reward for information and they certainly didn't try to insight people to go after vigilante justice on behalf of the victim. They tried to help. 

On the other hand, we have a writer, with a God given talent to write. Williams herself could have used her high profile status to help out and bring the culprits out of the woodwork. Sometimes knowing the world is talking about you and stories are being written about what you did, can smoke people out even better than a cash reward. Williams could have done that. She could have written a piece that might have caused these kids or some of their friends to turn them in. But no! Instead she chose to go after the two high profile people that were actually trying to help. That tells me that Williams was neither moved by the original story nor did she care about the victim. She was interested in headlines and trying to make a name for herself by in-sighting imaginary vigilante justice. She was trying to create a problem where none really existed. Unfortunately, by showing more concern for an imaginary individual than for the true victim, she showed her true colors and her transparent end game.

Williams used her First Amendment right to go after a headline and obviously to hopefully insight people for the possibility of a bigger story. I am using my First Amendment right to call BS on both Williams and a publication that is that desperate for a headline!

So today, I say kudos to Carey and McCarthy for reaching out and using their gifts to give back and help out. Yes, there is such a thing as using your power for good. To you though Ms. Williams, I say "Shame on you!" and I don't think that needs further explanation!

Happy Saturday everyone!

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