Trolls for Dzhokhar
That the Internet is disproportionately populated by weirdos, cranks, racists, and sickos comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever spent time in a chat room or the comments section of a news story. I’ve noticed that a lot of those folks are also paranoid about the government . Strangely, the same people who casually spout all manner of hateful bile in a public forum–the Internet–are often the people who think everything they say and do should remain anonymous. They worry that Big Brother is monitoring them and would like to see laws protecting their right to absolute privacy.
Okay, so we have a basic contradiction from the get-go: people who worry that the government is watching them want a law to prevent that. Civics 101 question: Who passes laws in the USA? We could add a socio-economic question: Do you really think you have privacy in the first place? If you’ve ever visited sites on the Internet or ordered online, you’ve left a cookie crumb trail for all manner of advertisers, marketers, retailers, and special interest groups—each of whom develop complex algorithms whose sole purpose it is to track you. Use your credit card or call in an order by telephone and the same thing happens. You have no privacy in the public realm. Get over it. But let me introduce another question: Is it in the nation’s best interest to monitor citizens here and abroad?
Before you cite the relentless pursuit of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, or the NSA’s extensive phone records to prove the government’s evil intentions, take a deep breath. Ask yourself who is more dangerous, the government or the online trolls you encounter on a daily basis. Then ask yourself whether it might be a good idea to keep a close watch on the trolls. Are there, in fact, people that deserve to be monitored? Consider, for example, the gathering movement of those that think Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsaraev is innocent.
Just about the time you think the human race can’t sink any lower, it manages to do so. I can’t decide what’s most appalling about the “Free Dzhokhar” crowd, the stupidity, the paranoia, or the insensitivity. For the sake of their health, I’d suggest these folks should steer clear of Copley Square. But for the sake of national security, I want their Facebook, Twitter, and Internet activity monitored. This is especially the case of the “Dzhokhar is Innocent” page that has 13,500 followers, many of them abroad. Ditto the followers of the “We are the Lion” Website, which also has lots of overseas subscribers. I want my government to know who these people are, keep a dossier on them, and watch their movements.
There are people here in America that worry me. Someone needs to watch Rebecca Lynn Crovello, 20, of Somerville, who told the Boston Globe “the pieces of the puzzle just don’t match up.” Rebecca’s a psych major at RCC and her keen instincts tell her that Dzhokhar is a “handsome kid” and, thus, Navy SEALs actually bombed the Marathon. Gee, Rebecca—I’ll bet you once took a course in criminal justice at Roxbury Community College that makes you a better investigator than the FBI and the Boston PD, who obviously misread evidence such as Dzhokhar’s shoot out with police (caught on video), his role in the murder of an MIT patrolman, the fact that he ran over his own brother, or the forensic evidence linking his backpack to the Marathon bomb. Sure, Rebecca—it happens every day that innocent people exchange gunfire with cops and then lick their wounds by writing anti-USA slogans in their own blood under a boat tarp in someone’s backyard. I want Rebecca watched. Ditto several others who had the courage/stupidity to give their names: Lindy Uros, 45, a Stamford, CT lawyer; and Neda Kidri, 31, of Detroit who calls herself a public relations worker. (I also want all of Kidri’s clients to be watched. A person who’d hire her for PR work can’t be up to any good.) At the very least, I want each of them to come face-to-face with Marathon bomb victims and tell them exactly why they think Tsarnaev is innocent. Maybe they could write a 10,000-word essay in which they carefully, dispassionately, and evidentially disprove the prevailing theory about Dzhok the Joke: that he’s waste of human genetic material.
Do I worry about the government monitoring my computer use? A little. But I worry a whole lot more about fools who can’t face reality and people who are so evil that they’d make a pact with the Devil to advance their own fanatical causes. So let me put it in the language of faux hipsters so they can understand: Dude, you deserve to be monitored.