It's so painful to watch, you might almost wish it wasn't caught on tape. In a video posted on YouTube, school kids from Greece, NY, can be seen calling bus monitor Karen Klein “fat” and hurling obscene insults over and over at her until she cried. And the students still didn't stop for a full 10 minutes.
"I'm gonna freakin’ egg your house. Your house is probably shit,” yelled a male student.
“What's your address so I can fuckin piss all over your door,” said a female student.
The video below is graphic. One Reddit user translated a sample of the clip to read.
Internet vigilantes on Reddit quickly began identifying (better known as “doxing”) the children in the video.
“Definitely identify those kids involved. Not identifying them and allowing them to remain anon is the exact reason that they've become the horrors that they are,” commented welwood. “They need to understand that society doesn't allow things like them to exist and prosper and that some people will call them out for their bullshit.”
But because they're minors, the information was removed by Reddit moderators. But that didn’t stop redditors from calling for the children to be exposed and punished.
“Yes. Identify them. Someone in NY needs to beat their faces in. If I would have done this, I would expect to be beaten to the point of scars and broken bones. I want someone to snap this kids arm and stab him in the throat with his own bone slowly,” commented fender2322.
These sorts of comments disturbed redditors like jb2326 who worried about the ramifications of releasing minors’ information.
“NO. What the FUCK? NO. Jesus Christ. They're shits, but they're KIDS FFS [for fuck’s sake],” jb2326 wrote. “They should be dealt with by the school and their parents, not the fucking internet (cause that ALWAYS goes down so well).”
“They deserve to get in trouble from the school and from their parents,” TheEllimist wrote. “Everyone who's reading this needs to realize that the appropriate response is not to post their names on the internet so that a thousand vigilante dumbasses can harass them and their families.”
Yet despite the controversy, Reddit has shifted its focus from punishing the kids to supporting Klein, of Rochester.
“[I]f you are so compelled, please feel free to reach out to offer support. She has been a widow for 17 years, has lived in the same town she grew up in and is about to have her 50th high school reunion in the same school district, and deserves so much better than the actions shown by those in this video,” wrote razorsheldon in a separate post in r/UpliftingNews. “Let's show her that there are still good people out there.”
From behind their computers, Internet vigilantes do have some ability to right wrongs, protect the weak, and oppose the strong. But the world isn’t as simple as a comic book. Especially when the "strong" is actually just a bunch of kids, is vigilantism really appropriate? And that's only the beginning of the confusion that Internet justice creates.
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