For Your Consideration: An Inconsiderate Society


Laurenz Quinto

A girl is outcasted in a world that grows closer each day. She becomes isolated because of online gossip that ruined her reputation. Living in the cruel mobile age, this crusade on her can only end one way: her death.


Several cases of cyberbullying ended the same way in the victim’s suicide. all because of a comment, a photo, or a video on the internet. It is a minuscule thing in the world of the teen, but it amplifies in magnitude when it gains a body count.


Audrie Taylor Pott was subjected to both online and real-life harassment. Pott was raped by several boys who then posted her nude photographs online. What followed was a series of verbal attacks made by her own peers, which effectively cast her out of the school hierarchy. When news did come out of what had happened to Pott, it provided more justification to the rest of the school to describe her with adjectives, such as “slut,” or “whore.” The community did not see a crime; it saw an opportunity to bully a victim of sexual assault. Pott was only fifteen years old when she hanged herself.


She may have killed herself, but people fail to see the culpability of the perpetrators who forced her hand. An episode in Black Mirror, an anthology series that seeks to expose the destructive nature of the growing dependency on technology, called “Most Hated in the Nation” explores the idea of culpability through a screen. In the episode, a simple hashtag – #deathto followed by a person’s name – would bring upon the death of the person who was, simply put, the “most hated” as shown through a number of internet citizens, or netizens, who agreed. The public, who saw its appeal, mainly used it to target prominent figures in society they deemed horrible. But while they enjoyed their newfound method to remove an individual without having to actually do anything, the man behind all of the killings mobilized robot bees – in which he hacked into – to seek out those who used the hashtag. The reasoning for his actions was to show the people of the nation that their actions, no matter how they do it or to what degree they think it to be, have massive consequences. They fell prey to the mob mentality, and thus, paid in the end as victims of a massacre.


Mob mentality is prevalent now more than ever with the expansion of the internet. Social media networks are creating a more integrated and communicative world. Familial connections remain intact and new friendships are formed. But people need to be wary of this social development. People, especially teenagers, are pushed further into a popularity contest they unwittingly entered just by signing up for a social media account. The ratio of followers to following, the number of likes or views a post receives, and how many people comment on it are some of the criteria that come with this contest. Now while that is not necessarily the worst thing, it does become ammunition against others in the context of bullying. Members who have a high follower account can post an incriminating photo of an individual, and it will be used to vilify the figure in the photograph, whether on the internet or in real life.


What do you do when you stumble upon incriminating news? Who do you go after? The perpetrators? The distributors? The victims? The modern world has adopted a blame-the-victim culture, especially in many cases of sexual assault or harassment. Pott is just one of many individuals who were disparaged by the public because of the headline slapped onto them by the rest of the world. In 2007, in Italy, Amanda Knox was accused of murdering her roommate, Meredith Kercher. Though before she could state her case, the media, particularly the Italian media, had already labeled her as a cold-blooded killer. With blatant prejudice of her as a young and sexually-active woman, she was painted as a seductress or sex-addict. In every light, she was made to be someone capable of committing a murderous act. The police, as a result, were adamant in convicting her, even though there was not enough evidence to prosecute Knox. It would be years later before they would arrest the right killer after Knox served her time in prison. Knox is a victim of an unsympathetic society, stubborn in its nature to judge and slander.


There is an overarching theme throughout history where the public considers itself to be judge, jury, and executioner. That role is playing more prominently in this era because of how accessible information is these days. News should contribute to the awareness of society but there is an inherent danger in using these words to intentionally inflict harm.


People are losing their sense of compassion to immediate judgment. This inconsideration of other people’s consequences has led to a staggering number of suicides. Yet, people still do not recognize that they are to blame for this perpetual, unyielding cycle of persecuting before understanding. Though when it is innocent individuals who get the brunt of the torment almost frequently, then society must try to amend that before corrupting its moral core.


Compassion is rooted in our humanity. What happens if we lose it?