If there ever was a blog post that needed a sequel, it wasn’t this one. However, recent events have necessitated a new chapter of a book that started with a humble cat turd.
I should say that I’m still teetering on the edge of unplugging from the community email group. But let’s face it — if I haven’t removed myself from the listserve by now, I’m in it for the long haul. I saw the email group used for both good an evil in the past few weeks. Honestly, I’m not sure which of these things are the “good” and which are the “evil,” but you can decide for yourself.
After much squabbling and complaining (see Cat Turd, part 1), a few kind souls decided that a neighborhood block party was in order. These thoughtful neighbors ordered up a moonbounce, bought some hot dogs and beer, and invited the whole ‘hood down to their block for some old-fashioned, face-to-face mingling. It was a wonderful gesture, and the invitations were shared over the community email group. I’m thinking this is a “good” use of the email, especially because the party was at the bottom of our street. Any day is a good day when you can roll down your hill for free hot dogs and beer, no?
The same week, our neighborhood had an unexpected and unusual bit of crime. A neighbor was walking home from the monthly community meeting and was jumped by hooligans in a car. Nothing was stolen, and the poor neighbor had to spend a few days in the hospital. The benefits of community email use in the aftermath of the crime have been morally ambiguous. I needed to make a chart to sort this out.
The flow of concerned email started out warm, compassionate, and full of community spirit:
As the details of the attack leaked out, you could almost smell the torches and hear the pitchforks being sharpened…
I have yet to hear if the old man was, indeed, “saved.” I may offer to let him hide in my basement until the angry mob of good Samaritans has simmered down. So what’s worse, dear Reader?
Outing the address of a probably violent felon/car thief in the neighborhood — achieving the goals of shaming the perp AND warning the immediate area of his proclivity towards unprovoked beat-downs?
“Rescuing” a grown man from his own home by invoking the wrath of over-zealous neighbors who have social services on speed dial?
While you mull that over, I’ll offer up this recent tale about mob mentality gone awry on Twitter. It’s not quite the same dish, but the ingredients are all there. Until next time, I hope none of you have any dealings with cat turds, neighborhood hooligans, or unwanted visits from Social Services.