The video was shocking, the pleading face of an innocent cat enough to break a heart of stone. Timmy, as he called himself on YouTube, filmed himself abusing both the family cats, but Dusty the Cat drew the most attention.
4Chan was on it like a rash, quickly squirreling out the perpetrator’s real name. Then-forteen-year-old Kenny Glenn was outed, his address, phone number, his dad’s work, their names, all of it splattered across the internet. The cats were removed, treated by a vet, saved, rescued, and because the courts wouldn’t impose a penalty the internet community deemed fair, they punished him. Just desserts.
It could also have been a teenager who roughed up his cats in a fantasy bravado, staging most of it, as the vets who inspected the cats after the fact believed. They found no damage, no bruising, no tenderness, and the cats’ skittishness was more likely caused by them being traumatised by being removed from their home. The courts didn’t impose a heavy penalty because they were being fair. The kid made a mistake, but even his mistake wasn’t as earth shattering as 4Chan made out.
It took me a while to dig this up [update 25/07/13: I just checked the site again, and it seems the extensive information provided, sketching an alternative version of events with clear, plausible explanations, has been repeatedly hacked and changed. Part of my point: there is no reasoned discourse here, there is no chance for any possible point of view but one to be aired. I have seen time and again that it is when people don’t have a valid point that they resort to silencing their opponents instead of debating the issue.], after I felt more and more uncomfortable with the hysteria I saw surrounding the whole issue. When you get to hateful actions and language like this, you have to ask yourself whether the truth has not been trampled in the mob’s thirst for sensation. Do you really think people who are calling his father a Jew, and in some places a Nazi Jew, are likely to have their facts straight? To consider all of them, and make a fair judgement?
Have you ever made a mistake? Have you ever made a mistake you’re just grateful nobody ever saw? How would you feel if you weren’t allowed to learn and move on, but instead had a screaming posse of people (who clearly must all be perfect, because they have never made mistakes, and therefore believe nobody should ever be forgiven for making one) ruining your life because of one wrong thing you did? And where is 4Chan when this happened? And this? And this? Why are they hounding this child so? Does anyone else see that there similarities between what’s been done to him and this? How are these 4Chan bullies any better than the bullies that hounded those kids to their deaths? The bullies in the suicide cases were also convinced the kids they targeted were evil and wrong. When you start acting like they did, what your victim did or didn’t do becomes immaterial. The despicable one becomes you.
Don’t be a mindless follower of mob mentality. Teach your self to think. Learn to step back, calm down, and find the facts.
Edit, April 2013: I still get responses to this blog entry, and find it highly frustrating that people seem to misunderstand its message. This article is not about animal abuse, it’s about people, about mass hysteria, hypocrisy, and demonising.
For the record, I have no opinion on what the facts of the case are, and if what I wrote above gives the impression that I am taking a side, I apologise. Most of those who’ve read it seem to get the point: true or not, nobody anywhere even mentions the alternative version, allowing people to make up their own minds about what’s true. Instead, any kind of defence is written off as lies glibly accepted by the court because the accused’s father is rich. Of course, no evidence is offered to back this claim up.
For those who feel my closing paragraphs are not clear enough, I’ll spell it out: even if all the redeeming arguments made for this child are false, he still made a mistake, the same way all human beings make mistakes. At what point do we say: “He’s paid enough”? And before you answer that he can never have paid enough, imagine that you’re putting down a standard that will be followed for you, for your loved ones, your brother, sister, mother, father, your son or daughter. This child is someone’s son. Even if you feel the official sanctions were not enough, you are out of your mind if you think the torment he and his family have been put through by the baying, self-righteous crowd since has not been punishment enough.
Ask yourself also why you feel such a burning need to mercilessly torture this family, like them or not. If this child was guilty as charged, he was wrong. Whatever the truth is, 4Chan and its hangers-on were worse.