Social media: The slums of the Net

Welcome to your new reality America… Pennsylvania… Schuylkill County.

 Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot and killed 13 people and injured 20 at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999…

They were called the ‘trench coat mafia’ in the media. With this newfound glory of fame that the killers reached, copycat threats reigned across the country from sea to shining sea. I was a senior that year. Thankfully my stay in the school world was coming to an end. But from April through June of 1999, Cardinal Brennan and North Schuylkill faced almost daily bomb threats, shooting threats, and evacuations as a result. It became so commonplace that year, when the siren in the school went off, people treated it as a second recess in the school day.

  ….events since then have forced school shootings into the commonplace of American thought. We are at a point now where a body count ranging in more than a dozen makes new. Less? Maybe a byline in print. Maybe a snippet on the evening news. Media wants blood.. they want numbers. Their news vans will only travel when there is a massacre.. And the same old sort of events will happen, just about in this order.

  1. Shooting.
    1. Multiple gunmen reported.
    2. One gunmen killed/apprehended.
  2. Blame.
    1. Conspiracy theory!
      1. Paid actors!
      2. Crisis actors!
      3. Planned killing!
    2. Drugs
      1. Presciption
      2. Past counsleing
      3. Doctors who do not help or ignore problem
    3. Gun
      1. Taken from parents
      2. Purchased legally after background checks
  3. Aftermath
    1. Media
      1. Blame guns
      2. Blame medicine
      3. Blame video games
      4. Blame politicians
    2. Citizens
      1. Demand gun control
      2. Ask for teachers to  be armed
      3. Ask for a ban on certain medicines
  4. Social media

Bodies of the dead are being buried in Parkland Florida, but threats of horror are occurring all across the United States. In Pennsylvania, multiple districts have been closed multiple days. Close by, Berwick saw threats. York was closed for almost last week in its entirety.

 A student from Wormleysburg has been arrested and charged with making terroristic threats after saying he’d “shoot up” his school and kill anyone who told on him, Lower Allen Township police said.. Meanwhile in York, PA: Investigators are serving an unknown number of social media companies with warrants to gather information to whoever made threats of violence against students and staff.


 This week in my local district, there was a threat on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. This weekend, a post was made on social media and spread abundantly about a newfound threat on Monday February 26… It was spread so far and wide that the North Schuylkill School District issued a statement to parents late Saturday that it was aware of the threat and working with law enforcement to determine its validity…

 This is where my son goes. Where lots of kids go. And undoubtedly if you are reading this is Washington State, Iowa, Ohio, or Maine, you are potentially seeing similar issues. School districts suddenly under attack not by actual events, but by social media and the viral spread that messages have. So perhaps the aging me harkens back to the happier past of the Internet because I long for it..

Back when AOL Instant Messenger competed with ICQ for the attention of the youth. Social media–the way we know it today–was not even in the twinkle of the eye of a young high schooler named Mark Zuckerberg/ Fast forward to the events of our modern age? It would seem that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all the rest have become tools for the modern societal breakdown. The Internet is vast and amazing.

But the socials?

They seem like the plague of the net.. like the slums of a city. Like the eloquent example of the breakdown of the society at large…. These recent threats will come and go. And then there will be more. And then there will be another school shooting at some unknown location in the vast reaches of these 50 states, and we will do it all again.

 What caused all of this? I heard one theory that it is the long-term effect of NAFTA, lack of jobs, neighborhood breakdown, heroin epidemic, and then the eventual school shootings from an gun-enthused and unemployed by depressed populace. I don’t know. At all. Do you? I cannot comment, or opine, on matters of insanity.

 This situation is so insane that I cannot even conjure any rational thoughts despite my attempts. …I have said before and will say again, if nothing changed after 1st graders were gunned down in Sandy Hook, perhaps nothing even will.

 What in always conclude with is how horrid and sad that it must be for a parent to bury a child, for a child to attend the funeral  of a friend, and a teacher to lose a student in such depravity and violence. And even if someone wants to hear more, that’s just about all I can say. No sense, at all, can be made of it. We are a human species.

Intelligent enough to reach vast empty spaces of our universe, and yet backwards enough to hate and kill. Can I make sense of that?

No.. And neither can you.