I'll probably get flamed for this, but there are some principles that are sacrosanct, and individual privacy is one of those to me. That's why I'm pro-choice, even while the fire-breathers want to insert themselves in people's lives. And how do they justify their meddling and invasions of privacy? By appeals to the safety and well-being of the fetus. Why did the wingers try to inject themselves into a private family matter dealing with Terri Schiavo? Because they thought they were fighting for the well-being and safety of Terri.
There are lines that can be crossed, and many of you simply obliterated some of those lines with this Buffy thing. As one concerned reader wrote me (and I agree), these things were not cool:
- Posting her personal description, and a description of her dogs
- Posting her last known locations (Boston Public Library, etc.)
- Sending her name and home address to any poster who identifies himself as a Boston resident
- Contacting her family
- Contacting former employers (this, for a woman who is already unemployed and needs references)
- Sending a stranger to visit her apartment
- Sending another stranger who will try to persuade her to get into a car with him and drive to Pennsylvania
The Boston police have her description already.
Now, some folks are debating the need to break into her apartment to see whether she's unconscious.
OK, the intentions are good, but isn't this turning into a mob?
Yes, it is. And it's creepy, disturbing, and violates her privacy without her consent or permission. All of this because she wrote a weird and depressed-sounding GBCW diary.
To be crystal clear -- the caring and compassion shown is really heart warming and I'm glad we are looking after each other. I saw that spirit in action when so many people helped get Jeremy (CT) off the ground after that car plowed through his house and destroyed almost everything he and his family owned.
But people create anonymous accounts on sites like Daily Kos because they don't want their offline activities intruding into the real world. And you guys have violated that implicit wish and done so in an extremely public matter.
Would you want this to happen to you? Imagine that you have a bad day, post a diary that some find odd. Then you go on vacation or merely turn off your computer to "get away". Next thing you know you've been outed -- your real identity is now known, your face is plastered in the news and on websites, your employers have been called, your family has been contacted, strangers are knocking on your door, staking out your place. Is this something you really want and feel comfortable with? I don't.
The authorities have been contacted. They're on the case. You guys will have to decide how to proceed, but I think it's time to back off.
And hopefully, after some time has passed and passions have cooled, we can have a productive discussion about where that privacy line exists, and how far we, as a community, can push before we cross it.