Netizens Continue the Cycle of Bullying By Targeting Amanda Todd ‘Culprit’
Netizens have taken matters into their own hands and targeted Amanda Todd’s sexual predator. The 15-year-old girl committed suicide after a three-year-long struggle with bullies.
As we reported earlier, Amanda released a haunting YouTube clip that narrated her struggle with sexual exploitation, bullies, mental illness, and cutting. Amanda’s troubles began at the age of 12 when at the request of a webcam friend, she flashed her breasts. The man demanded that she “put on a show” for him or he would share the nude photo to her friends and family. She refused, and the man went ahead with his threat by disseminating the nude photo. Amanda devolved into depression and anxiety. She tried to take her life by drinking bleach.
Despite moving several times, she was continually bullied, culminating in a horrific beating that left her laying in a ditch. A boy she hooked up with came to her new school, along with his girlfriend and 15 others. Amanda was repeatedly punched by the girl while the crowd of people looked on. The ordeal was filmed. Amanda never pressed charges. She continued to deteriorate, engaging in drugs and cutting. People continued to post photos of bleach and ditches on her Facebook wall.
She tragically took her life. Her YouTube video is a sorrowful reminder of the horrific nature of bullying and the devastating results.
The ‘Culprit’ Has Been Outed
The response to Amanda’s tragic suicide has been deeply felt. A lot of people are outraged, saddened, and flabbergasted about the events that led to this young girl ending her life. People are deservedly angry. The first, visceral response from netizens has to been to avenge what was done to Amanda by outing the “culprit.”
On Monday, a group of hacktivists claim that they had identified the man who tried to blackmail Amanda. The male was publicly named. The group, which goes by the name of “Anonymous” also released the man’s telephone number, email address, and home address. This information spread like wild fire across the social networking sites of Facebook and Twitter. Death threats were attached to the links and posts.
The phone number was registered to an southern American citizen while the address is for New Westminister (near Vancouver, BC) resident. Police were dispatched, but no one was at the address. Neighbors were interviewed but no one could tell the authorities anything.
Hacktivists: Helping or hindering?
What have these anonymous hacktivists accomplished? Their actions have been reported to hinder rather than help the police investigation against the 32-year-old child predator who blackmailed a 12-year-old Amanda. Earlier this week, a man was in a New Westminister court, facing sexual assault charges related to a person under 16. Many speculated that this was the man they had been looking for and that justice was prevailing. Unfortunately, the alleged culprit is turning 20 years old, which is a far cry from the 32-year-old suspect.
Police have released a statement that these false allegations have negatively impacted their investigation, sending them to hunt down “unfounded” leads and false allegations. The mother of the alleged culprit is overcome with the “eye for an eye” mentality. “It’s really dangerous to throw out names when you don’t know,” she sobbed.
The Endless Cycle of Bullying
This brings us to the “lynch mob” mentality that has taken over. The same erratic and vengeful actions mirror what happened with the bullied bus monitor, Karen Klein. The children who were responsible for bullying Karen Klein were also outed. Their families were bombarded with death threats.
I understand that many people are extremely angry. Amanda Todd’s death stirs up many heated emotions. People want justice. People want the culprit(s) to answer for what has happened. An eye for an eye, right? Yet, these netizens have potentially released the name of an innocent man. He is now receiving death threats. His family is being harassed. Yet he may not be involved with the Amanda Todd case. Right now, nothing is known. The man has said that he was a “friend” of Amanda’s, and had warned police about a New York man who was harassing her.
Should netizens and hacktivists be able to indiscriminately release the names of potentially innocent people? Is this not continuing the cycle of bullying? Tell us your thoughts.