During Trump’s inauguration, there was footage of a woman setting a Trump supporter’s hair on fire. It really made me angry. I don’t like Trump, I don’t trust Trump, and I didn’t vote for Trump, but this is the United States and you should be able to support your elected leaders without being set on fire. So I posted the clip of the attack and asked if anybody recognized the culprit so the cops could do something. Then a bunch of Internet detectives started harassing a woman who only vaguely resembled the culprit, so I posted a follow-up noting that they had the wrong woman and begging them to stop harassing her. As far as I know, the psycho who hated Trump so much that she publicly set someone on fire is still at large. But I still feel bad that I inadvertently helped put someone else in danger, and I hope I helped put it right.
The same thing happened this weekend, when a lot of Internet detectives mistakenly thought they’d identified the driver who struck and killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville. It didn’t smell right to me, so I waited for the cops to release the name of the driver. I didn’t want to make the same mistake again, and I’m glad I didn’t.
I guess that’s a lesson we all need to learn for ourselves. Daniel Victor, NYT:
After a day of work at the Engineering Research Center at the University of Arkansas, Kyle Quinn had a pleasant Friday night in Bentonville with his wife and a colleague. They explored an art exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and dined at an upscale restaurant.
Then on Saturday, he discovered that social media sleuths had incorrectly identified him as a participant in a white nationalist rally some 1,100 miles away in Charlottesville, Va…
Mr. Quinn, who runs a laboratory dedicated to wound-healing research, was quickly flooded with vulgar messages on Twitter and Instagram, he said in an interview on Monday. Countless people he had never met demanded he lose his job, accused him of racism and posted his home address on social networks.
Back in the old days, the mob would gather in the town square to watch sinners being punished. Now we don’t even need to get off the couch. And if they didn’t do it, oh well.
One of the ringleaders of this Nazi-doxing effort is a kid named Logan Smith, who runs a Twitter account called @YesYoureRacist. Here he is talking to Brooke Baldwin about it yesterday:
Logan Smith @YesYoureRacist: "White people in particular have a responsibility to stand up against white supremacy" https://t.co/8O7r1MeGO6
— Brooke Baldwin (@BrookeBCNN) August 14, 2017
“I know I’m not the kind of person that you’d expect to be running an anti-racist Twitter account,” said exactly the kind of person that you’d expect to be running an anti-racist Twitter account.
What a wonderful worldview, huh? Anybody with white skin is responsible for the words and actions of some stupid white supremacists, but Logan Smith isn’t responsible for the mob that comes after you when he posts a picture that vaguely resembles you and says, “Sic ‘im!” The #PunchNazis mob is looking for targets, and you are guilty until proven innocent.
Too bad, Kyle Quinn. If you didn’t want this to happen, you shouldn’t have been born white.
Plus, in Charlottesville this weekend, a guy with the same skin color as Kyle Quinn murdered somebody else with the same skin color as Kyle Quinn. So I’m sure that justifies this somehow.
White supremacists are ignorant and disgusting. I don’t blame you for being angry at them. But how about trying to be better than them?
P.S. This young lady seems primed for a life lesson as well.
Jennifer Lawrence is asking her 16 million Facebook followers to help identify #Charlottesville white supremacists https://t.co/f3ab8qQDoC pic.twitter.com/edSEA8nXAx
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) August 15, 2017