This weekend there was a crash involving a motorcycle that resulted in the death of a 17 year old. It turns out the 17 year old had stolen the motorcycle and was possibly speeding when he was killed. While looking at the article to see if they had identified the 17 year old, I did what I should really stop doing: I read the comments. I just saw another article on the incident and looked at the comments hoping I wouldn’t see the same thing. Unfortunately, I did. The comments are full of people rejoicing in his death, saying he deserved death because he was a criminal. According to the people of the Internet, stealing is bad enough that you deserve to die. Stealing is bad enough that this kid’s family should be ok with suffering this loss. He was just a criminal. Who cares that he’s your kid, your brother, your friend. Who cares that he was only 17 and had plenty of time to turn his life around. He broke the law. He should die.
I understand being anti-crime. If someone stole from me, I would be mad and I would want them to pay, but by pay, I mean jail time. Not death. I would also hope that at 17 a kid would be given a chance at reform. There are plenty of good people out here who did bad things when they were young. Would you prefer all of these people be dead? Should we look up criminal backgrounds and murder everyone who has ever broken the law? Will you feel the same if your kid gets mixed up with a bad crowd and makes some mistakes? I don’t think so. It’s safe to be an asshole in the internet about the death of a stranger. Try imagining this kid was someone you love and see if you still like being an asshole about it.