Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Marine Story and Forwarding in General

Back when people used email, I never forwarded the latest junk mail. I nearly always used to delete the forwards that came across my desktop. In today’s Facebook world I have my system set up to avoid seeing such posts from everyone but my closest friends. Even the “interesting” news tidbit or video is something I post with caution. For one thing, most of those aren’t new at all, and I don’t want to appear to be out of touch or behind the times. (Someone actually posted a link to that “Evolution of Dance” video yesterday! Hello, 2006!)

The one that has been really getting my goat this year is the “Laptop Thief Meets Marines” story. I’m sure you have read it—it is actually from last year. That is the first reason it bugs me. People either forgot they already read this story and are posting it again, or else they are a year behind.

The second thing that bothers me about the story is the content. For those of you still stuck back in 2006, the thief runs into a group of marines as he is fleeing the store. He fights them but is subdued, and when the ambulance shows up he is terribly and thoroughly injured. The message: don’t mess with our American forces, Bub! Only problem? It is a fake, made up, a lie. In truth the guy did steal a laptop. He did run into a group of marines and stabbed one trying to escape, but they simply subdued him and did not beat him to a pulp.

That is the third thing that bothers me. The fact that people think that living in a place where the military would do that to a person would be a neat thing; that more and more people in my homeland think that such an occurrence would be something to laugh at and celebrate. That is (thankfully still) not the America I know. Hopefully it never will be.

This is not an appeal to cease and desist all information forwarding. It is simply a reminder to consider three things before you do share:

(1) Is the story new, or something everyone has already seen? You don’t want to be the friend that incessantly shares worn out stories.

(2) Is the story supposed to be true, and if so, is it? Snopes.com, people! Learn it. Use it. Love it.

(3) Why are you sharing the story? Why do you find it interesting or amusing. Is that really the person you want people to think of when they think of you?

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