City Desk

Internet Commenters Continue to Suck

Jonathan Rees may or may not be dead, but the hate he spewed in the comment sections of various local sites is very much alive... and worse than ever. Most egregious case I've seen in awhile comes today on WTOP's item about the 2-year-old triplets in critical condition after a horrendous MoCo fire. The Post's coverage in this a.m.'s paper was pretty thorough. It's a real tragedy. But not to some:

The dad's DHS?!?!!!
and he has no smoke detectors?? what-da-ef? I feel so secure knowing a dad with no smoke detectors is watching my homeland. UnBelievAble.
by kckat @ 11:55am – Thu Dec 4th, 2008

Here's another good one:

This family needs to prioritize.
To be a fly on the wall and listen to the discussion this family had must of been interesting. I wonder if it went something like this:
"Let's not have smoke detectors, but let's get a hot tub, and we'll either wire it ourselves or bring in a guy standing on the corner to wire it. With the money that we save we can hire a nanny who will watch our triplets. Two working battery powered smoke detectors would probably cost us less than $30, but given the cost it will take to heat the hot tub, let's wait."
Must make some of us feel pretty safe that this Dad works for Homeland Security. Be afraid, be very afraid.
by John D. @ 7:56am – Thu Dec 4th, 2008

Or how about someone who derides a man who may lose three children because he has a nice house?

You forgot to mention
the house is probably worth a million. The man should be locked up for child negligence. Unforgivable.

by BAC @ 8:11am – Thu Dec 4th, 2008

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  • al gonzales

    Second-guessing is a human past time, as is Monday morning quarterbacking. As for this particular case, I see nothing wrong in these comments - the dad works for DHS yet didn't have smoke detectors, & the fact that the house was worth a million dollars but had no $30 smoke detectors. That's fair game; what were this guy's priorities & how does that affect our notions of "homeland" security? It's not unlike the criticism people get after their child is shot after midnight, e.g., "what was this ten-year-old kid doing on the streets at 2 a.m."
    It might not be nice, but it's fair comment. The real victims are the kids, not the parents, in all of these cases.

  • al gonzales

    oops I meant "pastime".

  • Dave

    I (sort of) agree with Al. Brining up these points while the lives of the triplets hang in the balance is pretty insensitive.

    But the questions he asks were good, tough, cynical questions that any journalist should be asking. I think the fact that this guy works for DHS is irrelevant. But whether or not he had smoke detectors is VERY relevant. Good on them for asking.

    I only wish they could have had the decency to wait, oh I don't know, a day or two to bring this stuff up. Maybe we can at least wait until we know whether the triplets will live or die? How does that sound?

  • Jule Banville

    First of all, this man could bury three children and live with the idea that he didn't save them. So he is a victim. Second of all, I understand he works in immigration within Homeland Security. His job is not keeping America safe from electrical fires. Third, I hardly think it takes a couple of unfeeling losers to point out he did not have smoke detectors for him to understand that is a mistake, a mistake that the educated and the uneducated make all the time without having to suffer this kind of tragedy.

  • Dave

    Clearly, this man has been through an unspeakably tragic situation. But I don't know if I'd go as far as to say that he is a victim. Let's keep in mind that there are three innocent children out there who are, if not dead, then are at the very least seriously wounded as a result of this tragedy. They are the victims.

    As stated above, I think it was classless to bring up this man's mistakes just hours after his children were (nearly?) burned to death. But that doesn't take away the fact that he did make those mistakes.

    This doesn't mean that he should be vilified by the press for those mistakes. If I were a journalist covering this story (for the record, I'm not), I might try to paint this guy in a sympathetic light by using his experience as a springboard to talk about why fire alarm are important or something like that. Not right now, of course, but maybe a month or two from now.

  • al gonzales

    I'm just saying it's understandable that people would bring up these questions. Yes, it would be better to wait a certain time before doing so, but that's not practical. It's a 24-hour news cycle, as we know, & so people want to comment instantaneously.
    & the more I think of it, the more it's like the situation where a young kid gets killed while being out past 10 p.m. or so. Of course those parents also realize that it was a mistake to let the kids be out that late, & 99% of the time nothing happens, but it's also human nature to point out that less than proper parental oversight was exercised.
    As for the DHS link, who knows. People also always point out that a lawyer should've known better, or that a professional athlete who was lectured every year on the dangers of packing a gun & who makes $10 million per year should've known better, etc. It's just human nature.

  • Rob

    You judgmental pricks make me sick.